Rich Eisen runs the 40-yard dash in a suit while raising money for St. Jude's Reseach Hospital
By John Pollard | May 23, 2021

These NFL Legends are Racing to Help Others Beat Cancer

Zebra has made a commitment to give back to those in need in our communities. Find out how we’re walking the walk with events such as Run Rich Run.

​As the Official On-Field Player-Tracking Provider for the National Football League (NFL), Zebra frequently has the opportunity to team up with coaches, players, executives and even broadcasters to give back to those in need in our communities. For example, we financially supported the Safe Zone Activity Day hosted by Vincent Country during Super Bowl LV week, and we gave each child in attendance a copy of our Zippy’s Special Gift book. (Vincent Country is the philanthropic organization led by the NFL’s Executive Vice President of Football Operations, Troy Vincent, and his family.)

We also contributed to the “December to Remember” campaign sponsored by NFL linebacker Brandon Copeland’s non-profit organization, Beyond the Basics, which we spoke about during this podcast.

Most recently, we met with NFL Network Commentator Rich Eisen and six NFL Legends to see who could reach the fastest speed – measured as miles per hour (MPH) running the 40-yard dash – while raising money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Walking the Walk with Run Rich Run

Every year for the last five years, Rich has run the 40-yard dash in a suit and tie to show off his speed during the NFL's Scouting Combine in what’s now known as the “Run Rich Run” event. Over those years, he has raised about $2.5 million to benefit the St. Jude mission – and Zebra was proud to contribute to this year’s event!

On May 1, team Zebra was able to run “with” Rich and NFL Legends Terrell Davis, Ray Lewis, Rod Woodson, Michael Vick, Cris Carter, and Jerry Rice as they sprinted across the field at SoFI Stadium in Los Angeles, the amazing new home for the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers. Two Zebra employees supported the event onsite and helped place Zebra’s RFID player tags on the participating legends and Rich himself. This is the same technology used by the NFL to track player speed, acceleration, proximity, and other data for every game as part of the NFL's Next Gen Stats service.

Though everyone’s times were impressive, Michael Vick hit the ground running at 21.07 mph!

"Run Rich Run" Event Speed Times

In case you missed it, Rich shared his enthusiasm about the experience during the NFL Network's coverage of the NFL Draft and later on Twitter. And on May 4, I was invited to call into the Rich Eisen Show to talk more about the Run Rich Run results, how our RFID technology captures speed insights, and how we support the NFL and other industries with our tracking data. Check it out:

We were honored to support this special initiative which benefits an organization that so generously gives its time and resources to help those in need.


Did You Know?

​As the Official On-Field Player-Tracking Provider for the NFL, Zebra attaches RFID tags to player equipment and footballs, transmitting real-time location data to receivers positioned around the stadium that gather metrics such as player speed, distance traveled, orientation and acceleration. During the 2020-21 NFL season, Zebra tagged 2,880 players plus all the officials, which you can learn more about here.

The Zebra RFID trackers used for the Run Rich Run event.
Corporate Social Responsibility, Hospitality,
John Pollard
John Pollard

John Pollard has held various product marketing/management and business development roles, and provided consulting services in the consumer goods, technology, and sports industries working with some of the most identifiable corporations and influential brands in the world including Ray-Ban, Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, Oracle Corporation, Microsoft, the NBA, and the NFL.

While at Microsoft, John identified an opportunity to combine his strengths as a marketing executive and interest in technology product innovation with his passion for sports, particularly the game of football. John invented the ICE Player and Team Evaluation platform that was first used by the 2010 Super Bowl Champions New Orleans Saints. Global sports information and technology leader STATS LLC. later acquired the ICE solution, along with the acquisition John was brought in to start and lead a new business unit within STATS called the Sports Solutions Group – a unit tasked with combining innovative technologies, unique information services, subject matter expertise, and new content sources to deliver enhanced value to team and media clients as well as fans and brand sponsors.

During this time, John has become recognized as a visionary and thought-leader in sports statistics, analysis and technology. He is a frequent guest commentator on sport radio shows including SiriusXM’s NFL Channel, and television broadcasts including Bloomberg television’s Fast Money. He is regularly sought for commentary and opinions regarding new sport content concepts, sports information and technology strategies in various industry publications from the New York Times, Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, and ESPN. Currently John’s work in sports analytics is being highlighted in an upcoming book about the evolution and use of analytics and technology in sports.

As an industry consultant, John continued to enjoy working closely with team and media clients, including NFL and NCAA coaching staffs and personnel departments, and on-air talent helping them derive insights and knowledge from their various information sources and analytical studies to aid in game planning and strategy, self-scouting, player evaluation, and roster valuation.

Most recently John joined Zebra Sports, a division of Zebra Technologies, the company that is the “Official On-Field Player-Tracking Provider for the NFL”. At Zebra, he serves as Vice President of Business Development for Zebra Sports, leading the company’s team engagement efforts with the NFL, NCAA, as well as other sports around the globe. In addition to his management responsibilities John continues to work directly with league and team personnel including coaching, personnel, and analytics staffs around the NFL and college football helping organizations use statistical, analytical, and player-tracking/performance data and technologies to work more efficiently and support informed decision-making.

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