Whether related to speed, distance, proximity to other players and the ball during any given play or other sport-specific metrics, stats help individuals gauge personal performance – and teams innately evaluate their collective performance every day of the season. Interestingly, as teams collect more and more data for each player and the team over the course of a season – as well as over numerous seasons – the statistics and analysis derived from the collected data become a benchmark resource to allow for refined measurement and development. They also become a uniquely-valuable prescriptive resource, helping athletes and coaches develop more effective player evaluations, development, and game planning strategies.
Within the game of football, it is now generally accepted by teams across the NFL and within major college football programs that traditional analysis methods may not be as efficient and that many performance measurement “technologies” are not sport specific. For example, the optical technologies used to track players and the ball in the games of baseball, soccer and basketball are not designed to track the unique activity and movement that we see in a sport such as American football where 22 players are moving in different directions and at different speeds all at once.
Additionally, speed is only one key performance indicator in a sport such as football, and it’s not always the most important depending on the player’s role. Many times, it’s just as critical to understand the movement patterns of an individual or team within a given game situation – something that is usually done via countless hours of video review, which requires a great deal of human resources. Plus, the human eye can only see so much, no matter how many times you watch a single play. The only way to really understand what’s happening from a player’s point of view is to capture a practice or competition from his or her own unique vantage point.
That is why professional leagues, teams and athletes in particular are turning to more advanced technologies such as RFID, Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) to help them analyze both their own and their opponents’ performances, with the National Football League (NFL) currently being the biggest adopter of these solutions.