Tonight’s Thursday night NFL matchup between the New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins, the NFL will use RFID chips embedded in each player’s shoulder pads to gather and provide information to a variety of people. These chips will track each player’s on-field movements during the primetime game. The article from CIO focuses on the implications that this tracking method could have on the NFL, and the focus of providing even more information to avid fans of the game.
With all the information available from the use of RFID chips the NFL seems to have a plethora of ideas for how it can be used. One idea I liked was the use of data and highlight reel clips. Now you will be able to know how fast a player was running or how high he jumped when making a spectacular play. The placing the chips in player’s shoulder pads is also going to be valuable to be for post-game evaluation purposes, providing accurate details on how far, how fast, a player ran, and tracking the routes ran by a player. A player’s livelihoods depending on their physical performance each game, they too want to get a hold of the data gathered in order to figure how they can be better hydrated, run faster, or speed their recovery.
The article covers so many possible uses of the data it is hard to think of things left untouched. Overlooked though is the implications this technology could have on practice. If a coach doesn’t want a star player to be tired for a game, he can just pull information on how far he has ran during the course of the practice and pull said player when deemed necessary. One thing that comes to question is the durability of these chips, due to the great forces created during hits, RFID chips could break for many number of players during a game, so how will information be gathered if these chips are no longer functioning? Would a player have to switch shoulder pads if the coaching staff wanted to continue to gather information?
I see the incorporation of tracking players in the league as being more beneficial to the athletes and coaching staff than to the fans. Fans will see the information as important in fantasy football or interesting factual additions to highlights, but the real use will be for the team itself for evaluations.