NFL Implements RFID Chips for Better Statistical Representation
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips have long been used in the commerce sector when companies want to track all kinds of different statistics that have to do with their products. Now the RFID chip is setting foot in the sports arena in a very big way thanks to a partnership between the NFL and Zebra Technologies (News - Alert). This partnership was first forged a couple of years ago but it has gone into full force this season with RFID chips embedded on the bodies of every player and referee.
The RFID chips work much the same way they do on retail products in that it’s easier to see the exact location of a player on the field. The chips will also send data such as how fast someone is moving and how hard they are getting hit. While the chips are usually leaned on in the retail sector to monitor a package or product when the owner doesn’t have their eyes on it, things have changed a bit in the NFL.
While we can all see where a player is on the field, the chips are able to tell coaches and fans whether or not a player ran the right route, or had enough distance between himself and the player he was defending. Next year, Zebra plans to offer an RFID chip that will actually go on the football and will likely basically eliminate the need to measure whether or not a team got a first down after the ball is spotted.
The move to the chips is the continued move by the NFL towards “next generation statistics.” These statistics show things like how fast someone was moving, right before they got the sack. It will show whether or not someone lined up on the line of scrimmage, or just behind it and how that affects whether or not they did their job. In short, RFID chips are going to be somewhat magical when it comes to offering up a huge new set of data that coaches and front office types can leaf through as they prepare for their next opponent.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi