The NFL is one of the most advanced field sports in the world when it comes to technology. So the biggest event of the year for the sport, the Super Bowl, is the pinnacle of field based gadgetry.

A lot of the technologies you've probably got on you right now, like a step tracking phone or wearable, were probably born from one of the NFL technologies developed years ago.

So kit that's being used on the field today may make it into your hands in the near future.

Here's some of the most advanced tech being used in the NFL, and the Super Bowl, right now.


Zebra Sports Technologies specialises in player tracking. Its technology is now used on over 2,500 NFL players. In fact over 7,500 of its tracking chips are in use by players, officials, yard markers and even pylons. That's a lot of data.

Each player wears a two-pound coin sized chip under each shoulder pad. This emits a radio signal every 15 seconds which is picked up by receivers in the upper and lower decks of the stadium. This means every player's location, speed, acceleration and distance travelled can be tracked.

All the data is run through advanced algorithms which feed into bespoke analytical software that creates graphics to be shared on stadium TVs, smartphones and tablets all in real-time. Even Wembley Stadium now has these scanners so UK games can benefit from all that data.

In the near future these chips will also transmit data like heart rate and hydration. For now the readout, that anyone can view from an Xbox One, is shown in the image above.


Wilson has made the NFL football since 1941. But after launching a smart basketball last September it's decided the football is due an upgrade too. So from autumn the new NFL ball will be released as a smart ball.

The new ball features accelerometers, a processor and Bluetooth connectivity. That makes it able to track things like speed but crucially also data on spirals. It will tell the user how optimal a spiral was in a percentage readout. The faster and more steady the spin, the further the ball can cut through the air. All this data can be viewed immediately on a connected smartphone.

The connected app also features games, like a 3-second timer that trains you how to throw quickly under pressure. It'll even let you share your stats on social media.

The Wilson X Connected Football is expected to cost around $200.

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A former Stanford kicker has developed a system that records video in a 360-degree view. This allows anyone to see what the player sees in a fully immersive way. The kit is already being used by six NFL and seven college teams.

These systems are being used by players to see the field from different perspectives. Coaches are able to put on a virtual reality headset and look around as if they were on the field in the position of the player. Perhaps in the not too distant future we'll all be able to watch games from the perspective of the players.


One clothing company called Alignmed makes specialised shirts for players. These are worn under the usual kit and offer posture alignment which holds the wearer's shoulders in a position that's supposed to reduce fatigue during play.

Alignmed has multiple players wearing its shirts and will be rolling the kit out to other sports also. Various shirts are available now for anybody to buy and use.


Teams are currently experimenting with drones. The Giants have been using a DJI Phantom 3 to find new angles in training. The coach has said that for certain plays an above view could be helpful to find new ways of carrying out a maneuver.

This is early days stuff but we could see drones employed in games in the future to offer even more angles of view, both to coaches and the fans.


CBS has begun using new pylon cameras that feature four cameras each. There are four of these across the two goal lines which are used to capture that vital scoring moment.

These custom moulded camera pylons are wired but have backup connections in case the pylons should be knocked over and disconnected. These aren't meant as live game cameras but as a way of getting a second look at goals.

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On field officials have already begun using Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 tablets to view replays. Previously they ducked under a cover to watch them on a screen. Now they can watch them wirelessly with touch controls. Coaches and players also use them to analyse plays and plan moves.

These infamously went down in one game during which time points were lost, so how well they'll be adopted in future remains to be seen.

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