Last season, the NFL implanted RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) chips in each player’s shoulder pads. Those RFID chips tracked how fast each player ran and where he ran — for instance, “Julio Jones ran 16 miles per hour until Matt Ryan released the pass, when he increased his speed to 17.5 mph.”
The data was state-of-the-art specific, the types of which was only a dream just a few short years ago.
The league then gave each week’s data to its 32 coaching staffs. And what did they do with it?
Dan Quinn: “Nothing.”
Dirk Koetter: “I didn’t look at that stuff during the season.”
As ESPN’s Kevin Seifert detailed, the data arrived after coaching staffs had generally wrapped the previous game up and moved on to the next one, it provided information only on each staff’s own players and not future opponents, and, most importantly, it didn’t provide information coaches couldn’t see with their own two eyes.
“If you’re watching tape,” Koetter said, “[you can see] he’s about 6 yards off, he’s about 5 yards off. He’s pressing. He’s in cloud corner. You can see it.”
Sean Payton testified that the RFID data is revolutionary in helping coaches prevent players from over-working themselves into injury during practice, the technology — or, at least, the NFL’s competition committee won’t let the technology — has paired itself with demand.