By John Pollard | February 05, 2021

Did Your Favorite NFL Player or Team Really Perform as Well as You Think in the 2020-2021 Season? These Stats Tell the Real Story!

In our Super Bowl press conference, we shared insightful data generated for the NFL’s Next Gen Stats. Watch the replay to get the scoop on some of your favorite players and team tendencies ahead of Sunday’s matchup.

One of the great things about serving as the NFL’s Official On-Field Player Tracking Technology Provider is that we’re able to identify unique insights about player and team performance – things that are easily missed, or just can’t be seen, by the naked eye. This is where Zebra’s tracking technology and information helps bring to life the story within the game.

For example, the 20,000 instrumented footballs used during the 2020-2021 season enabled us to collect real-time location, velocity, and rotation data (RPM) for all passes and kicks. And by putting nickel-sized RFID tags on more than 2,880 players (and all officials) throughout the regular season and playoffs, we’ve been able to calculate riveting figures for the NFL’s Next Gen Stats.

No question, tracking data provides a specialized “on field” perspective – even during practice – and has truly made an impact on the game of football for players, coaches, officials and fans alike while changing the sports technology and information landscape for the global sports industry.

Of course, our unique partnership with the NFL and its teams has also given us access to coaches, players and executives over the years, all of whom have shared fascinating stories about their on- and off-field experiences with the league. Just this week, we were joined by NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent and NFL Linebacker Brandon Copeland for a Super Bowl press conference.

During this event, we:

  • Revealed which of these two teams has the highest ranked players in terms of speed
  • Reviewed how the team’s quarterbacks and defenses match up based on key regular season and playoff metrics
  • Discussed Zebra’s six-plus-year partnership with the league
  • Showcased the philanthropic activities being led by Troy and Brandon’s nonprofit organizations in communities across the U.S.

You should definitely check it out when you have a few minutes:

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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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