NFL to Use GPS Tracking During Practices and Games

20 Aug 2013

The NFL preseason is already underway, and this year, the coaches have a new trick up their sleeves.  NFL teams will utilize GPS tracking technology to improve their games.

The National Football League (NFL) is accustomed to changing its ways and evolving in order to have a more effective game strategy, including new techniques during practice and live games. The newest development is with the use of global positioning systems (GPS) technology.

GPS technology is also evolving in its own right. It has gone from simple tracking and navigational systems to tracking data for the use in the habits of wild animals, keeping seniors safe, tracking employees and monitoring fleet vehicles.  Now, the technology is being applied to sports.

All 32 teams in the NFL will soon wear GPS tracking devices.  The device is to be placed in the pads on the players’ backs, so they won’t even notice it is there, nor should it get in the way of their practice or games. The NFL published this notice on August 16th.

The purpose of these tracking devices is to monitor the performance and position of players. This includes their locations in the field, how far they have traveled and their speed.  In addition, the hope is that by incorporating this technology, the GPS tracking devices may be helpful in preventing player injuries.

The device itself is only the size of the palm, so it is small enough to be comfortable for the players.  Aside from monitoring player performance and speed, the GPS tracking devices will also look at the player’s body. This helps coaches determine if they are straining too much or putting too much stress on their body. It should help alleviate serious injuries by getting help earlier.  The NFL also makes it clear it is not a way to make sure players are on point at all times, but to track their performance to improve the team’s games overall.

The league isn’t the first to consider use of this form of technology in sports, or even in football. The Buffalo Bills, a member of the NFL, have been using GPS trackers for about a year now. They have seen great progress in the use of these devices. C.J. Spiller, a running back for the Bills, said “They talk about the distance you covered and the explosiveness and how fast you’re running. It’s a good device to have.”

Other teams using GPS as of now include the Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars, Philadelphia Eagles and St. Louis Rams.

As for the rest of the NFL, they will begin wearing these tracking devices within the next few seasons.

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