In the past year, The National Football League (NFL) and its players have been hooked to the internet via 2 radio frequency identification (RFID) chips on their shoulder pads which communicate their location data. The RFID tag which also measures speed, is made and sold by US-based Zebra Technology.

NFL player motion analytics using RFID technology
NFL player motion analytics using RFID technology

This RFID technology allows for NFL fans to receive data like never possible before. The exact location and speed of each player is shared by broadcasters. Jill Stelfox, Vice President and General Manager of Location Services at Zebra stated that NFL statistics have not changed for the last 20-25 years. With the existence of such tags, speed and location of every player can be determined with extraordinary accuracy.

Football coaches are also commencing the use of such RFID technology to monitor heart rate and hydration levels only during practices because the NFL does not allow use of the collection of such biometric data during games. Zebra’s RFID tags are equipped with Bluetooth radio which allow for easy collection of biometric data in real time. A tablet or app relays alerts to coaches to notify them if a player has been running for too long, has an elevated heart rate or is dehydrated. Until NFL approves the collection of biometric data during games, coaches will have to rely on their instinct and experience to determine whether a player is fit to continue playing for given periods of time.

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