By the standards of other industries, the world of sports was pretty slow to pick up on the potential of technology. For years, leagues such as the NFL were sticking to their guns and doing things the way they were always done, which is to say, without technology. But at some point or another, that old-school thinking gave way to a more modern approach. Today, we’ll find technology integrated into all facets of the NFL, much in the same way that tech has found its way into the facets of more or less everything else.
In this blog, we’re going to run through just five of the ways in which technology is improving the NFL, for players, the fans, and the league as a whole.
The NFL isn’t as popular in the United States as it was in 2015, but that’ll be of little concern to the NFL commissioner. Why? Because the popularity of football is on the rise everywhere else in the world. And that, in large part, is down to technology. Today, viewers in Europe and Asia can tune in to watch games with a few simple taps on their smartphones. Of course, technology alone can’t boost viewership. There needs to be quality football on offer, and that’s just what we have right now. The continued excellence of Patrick Mahomes has made the Kansas City Chiefs favorites to win the Super Bowl, not just this year but for the next several years. The high-level performances of players such as Mahomes and advances made in technology mean the NFL will continue to grow in popularity in all four corners of the globe.
Most major sports around the world are helping officials do their job more accurately by giving them technology. The NFL was pretty quick to implement this change. There’s a lot riding on the outcome of games, both for the teams and the fans, and if a game is won or lost due to an incorrect decision, then it would be only natural if there were some angry voices. Today, officials can use instant video replays to review contentious and hard-to-call decisions. It doesn’t eliminate controversy entirely, but it does help keep it to a minimum.
Higher Quality Players
There have been some pretty terrific football players plying their trade down the years. But there has arguably never been a crop of players as talented as the ones who are playing in the NFL today. Technology doesn’t just make things faster and more accurate; it can also make things better. Technology allows the players of today to reach their full potential. It allows natural talent to meet the ideal training conditions, footwear, recovery approach, and more. The end result is a high-performing player who could probably not perform at a higher level — or not until better technology came along, at least.
Coaches have always sent in-game messages to their players. It’s part of what they get paid for. Thanks to iPad devices and custom software, coaches can communicate their thoughts to his or her players, even if they’re a hundred yards away from the player. The detail of the playbook instructions is easier to understand than verbal communications, and they’re also more subtle. An opposing player would need to stand over the players’ shoulder to see. These instructions lead to better quality games since everyone is playing in the way they’re supposed to play.
Faster Recoveries From Injury
NFL players are always getting injured. Indeed, the average career of an NFL player is only four years because of the prevalence of serious injuries. Tech is helping to reduce a players’ time on the sidelines. Optimized healthcare and high-grade compression suits — which were introduced at the beginning of last season — ensure that the body can get back to game-ready mode much faster than in times past. As a result, we’ll likely see the length of the average NFL career move upwards in the coming years.