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NFL: National Football Luddites?

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the let's-take-a-reading-from-the-concussiontron-2000 dept.

Entertainment 257

theodp writes "The National Football League has been brainstorming with tech and communications companies on how to bring the NFL into the 21st century. Major-league sports are famously technophobic — the NFL outlaws computers and PDAs on the sidelines, in the locker room and in press-box coaching booths within 90 minutes of kickoff. But that may be about to change, which the WSJ's Matthew Futterman speculates could mean: 'Coaches selecting plays from tablet computers. Quarterbacks and defensive captains wired to every player on the field and calling plays without a huddle. Digital video on the sidelines so coaches can review plays instantly. Officials carrying hand-held screens for replays. Computer chips embedded in the ball and in the shoulder pads (or mouth guards) that track every move players make and measure their speed, the impact of their hits, even their rate of fatigue.' Part of the impetus for the changes is the chance for a windfall — the NFL's sponsorship deals with Motorola and IBM will expire after this season, and the NFL will be seeking more technology (and presumably cash) from its next technology partner(s)."

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the pro in pro sports (5, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428228)

I don't watch pro sports because I can't relate to it. It's not interesting. Now college and lower are really interesting. There are huge differences in the athletes and you can see it. Mistakes happen so you can compare perfection to imperfection. Coaches matter too. And everyone is having fun. Pro just kills it. If they are going to go pro I'd like to see them go all the way and allow super modified cyborg humans compete.

They do allow non-humans to compete (4, Insightful)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428278)

substance abuse in professional sports is so high that it is not entirely accurate to consider the sports a display of human skill--although not super-modified-cyborg-humans, they're as close as they can be without being detected by drug screenings

Re:They do allow non-humans to compete (1, Insightful)

calibre-not-output (1736770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428430)

Substance "abuse"? It's just substance use - athletes using chemical aids, steroids and hormones to improve their physical performance. I can't imagine why you'd qualify it as abuse in any way, shape or form - it's not like the athletes are hooked on steroids. They use these substances as a means to an end, not as an end in themselves.

Re:They do allow non-humans to compete (1)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428638)

You're getting too hung up on the semantics of the word. You don't need to be addicted for it to be considered "abuse".

Re:They do allow non-humans to compete (1)

PRMan (959735) | more than 2 years ago | (#38429250)

Ask wrestler Superstar Billy Graham or Road Warrior Hawk how steroid "use" becomes abusive later in life.

Re:They do allow non-humans to compete (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38428564)

substance abuse in professional sports is so high that it is not entirely accurate to consider the sports a display of human skill--although not super-modified-cyborg-humans, they're as close as they can be without being detected by drug screenings

I'm not trolling here, but I honestly never understood this. Could someone explain to a non-sports person why steroids (which is what I assume you are talking about) is any different from taking vitamin supplements, diets planned by professional nutritionists, sports drink, specially designed running shoes, etc. Who cares? If it's not "fair" just allow everyone to take steroids.

Re:They do allow non-humans to compete (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38428744)

I think it is because vitamin supplements and diets are generally safe where as steroid use is not considered safe. So if some people are doing it, then in order to compete everyone needs to do it, so are forced to do something dangerous to their body.

Re:They do allow non-humans to compete (1)

hldn (1085833) | more than 2 years ago | (#38429056)

you realize how dangerous and punishing on the human body football itself is, right?

Re:They do allow non-humans to compete (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38428834)

Is it also "abuse" to have fridges full of food and antibiotics? None of this was available before... Is it abuse to not be hungry when playing sports? You have an entire technological and oil-powered infrastructure to allow people to have full belies ... unnaturally.

Re:the pro in pro sports (4, Insightful)

rotide (1015173) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428360)

I can't watch pro sport due to multiple reasons. First, it's basically nothing but a bunch of prima donnas complaining all the time. Everyone thinks they are gods gift. News flash, it's a game. Yes you get paid, but you're throwing a ball around a field, get over yourselves. Second, the fact that they are nothing but commodities in and of themselves now. Hell, the teams themselves are practically traded like baseball cards. Not to mention the non-stop and constant advertising. But what really gets me is the sheer fanaticism about it. People get so offended if you bash their quarterback, or root for the rival. There is nothing fun about it. Just a bunch of prima donnas on TV and people who idolize them for no reason. All the while you're being sold everything from beer, to deodorant, to cars. Hell, the Super Bowl is almost better known for it's advertisements!

Re:the pro in pro sports (4, Insightful)

cos(0) (455098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428418)

Yes you get paid, but you're throwing a ball around a field, get over yourselves

It's possible to trivialize any career if you try. I bet you get paid for simply pushing bits around, so get over yourself.

Re:the pro in pro sports (3, Interesting)

rotide (1015173) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428466)

I wasn't trying to trivialize it. People just take the art (yes art, I'll give you that) and skill of throwing a ball and turn it into a holier than thou profession. It's sickening. You're a professional ball thrower and personality on TV. The problem is, it seems as though most of them see themselves as the latter. Everyone just needs to realize they are nothing more than professional kids in the sense that they play the same game kids do, just with more rules and structure. Not to mention multimillion dollar contracts.

Re:the pro in pro sports (3)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428860)

Yes you get paid, but you're throwing a ball around a field, get over yourselves

It's possible to trivialize any career if you try. I bet you get paid for simply pushing bits around, so get over yourself.

Go ahead and try to trivialize a surgeon, firefighter, or coast guard rescue swimmer without looking like a moron.

Re:the pro in pro sports (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38429028)

I bet you get paid for simply pushing bits around, so get over yourself.

At least when a bit pusher gets his app working, he doesn't claim it shows Jesus is on his side...

rj

Re:the pro in pro sports (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428454)

I choose not to watch Football because the greedy bastards black out the games on TV if they don't sell enough tickets, which is a totally tacky policy while the average ticket costs over 70 bucks with players' salaries in the millions of dollars.

Plus, the more games I've watched in the past few years, the more it feels like the basic outcomes of the games are pre-determined and that all of the "behind the scenes" hype is like a bad reality show. Not a surprise given the big, big money involved in pro football. The chargers had the AFC championship and the best kicker in the league, then blew their chances because that kicker just happened to blow 4 kicks that game. The night before that game, key Chargers including LaDanian Tomlinson were seen at a local titty bar (Cheetah's, I think) getting fucked up.

Re:the pro in pro sports (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38428456)

There is nothing fun about it.

I'm guessing there's little that's fun about your life.

Re:the pro in pro sports (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38428476)

I can't watch pro sport due to multiple reasons. First, it's basically nothing but a bunch of prima donnas complaining all the time. Everyone thinks they are gods gift. News flash, it's a game. Yes you get paid, but you're throwing a ball around a field, get over yourselves. Second, the fact that they are nothing but commodities in and of themselves now. Hell, the teams themselves are practically traded like baseball cards. Not to mention the non-stop and constant advertising. But what really gets me is the sheer fanaticism about it. People get so offended if you bash their quarterback, or root for the rival. There is nothing fun about it. Just a bunch of prima donnas on TV and people who idolize them for no reason. All the while you're being sold everything from beer, to deodorant, to cars. Hell, the Super Bowl is almost better known for it's advertisements!

There is more to sport than just the Lingerie Football League.

Re:the pro in pro sports (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38428548)

Prima Donna. [wikipedia.org] Bugger off and look it up.
Please don't come back.

Re:the pro in pro sports (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428872)

Prima Donna. [wikipedia.org] Bugger off and look it up.
Please don't come back.

"Today the term has become a mainstream word outside opera to often describe a vain, undisciplined, egotistical, obnoxious or temperamental person who finds it difficult to work under direction or as part of a team, and although irritating, cannot be done without."

Your own link shows that he used it correctly.

Re:the pro in pro sports (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38428920)

hey at least it wasn't spelled "pre madonna"...I've seen that phrase thrown out 2-3 times over the years

Re:the pro in pro sports (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428504)

I don't watch pro sports because I can't relate to it. It's not interesting. Now college and lower are really interesting. There are huge differences in the athletes and you can see it. Mistakes happen so you can compare perfection to imperfection. Coaches matter too. And everyone is having fun. Pro just kills it. If they are going to go pro I'd like to see them go all the way and allow super modified cyborg humans compete.

I think some of these might make it worse (from your perspective). Frequent no-huddles mean more plays, more injuries and shorter careers (especially for Quarterbacks).

Other things that take the error out of refereeing would be a welcome arrival. But players on the field should be as unplugged as possible.

Re:the pro in pro sports (4, Insightful)

Silentknyght (1042778) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428510)

I don't watch pro sports because I can't relate to it. It's not interesting. Now college and lower are really interesting. There are huge differences in the athletes and you can see it. Mistakes happen so you can compare perfection to imperfection. Coaches matter too. And everyone is having fun. Pro just kills it. If they are going to go pro I'd like to see them go all the way and allow super modified cyborg humans compete.

I don't know why this was moderated "off-topic", it's relevant, albeit a bit of an "end game" perspective... At some level, the "purity" of a sport comes into play, and this "technological" decision is directly tied to that. Right now, we have human beings playing sports and human beings coaching sports. We disallow unfair augmentation of players (i.e., performance-enhancing drugs), not only because it would become a race-to-the-bottom for player health, but also because it removes that sense of fairness we currently perceive by "limiting" the players to the gifts with which you were born.

If coaching introduced technology without limits, it'd end up like Wall Street: a massive technological arms race to compute the "right" outcome faster than the opponents, and humans would be eliminated from the picture. YMMV, but I'm not interested in watching a sporting contest like that.

Re:the pro in pro sports (2)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428552)

If coaching introduced technology without limits, it'd end up like Wall Street: a massive technological arms race to compute the "right" outcome faster than the opponents, and humans would be eliminated from the picture. YMMV, but I'm not interested in watching a sporting contest like that.

So, like F1 then?

Re:the pro in pro sports (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38429100)

Most new cars have more technology then F1 cars do now. F1 has no active suspensions, no automatic transmissions, no ABS, no traction control, and no electronic stability control. Hell, F1 even requires everyone to use the same ECU to cut down on cheating.
Now I personally wouldn't want an automatic in my car and I removed the malfunctioning ABS as well - it was an old three channel system that I could easily outbrake manually in all conditions, but a modern system might be desirable.

It's been a while since I've been to a pro game... (2)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428890)

but back in the 90s and early 2000s I used to go to the Fiesta Bowl every year with my family as part of our yearly Christmas get together, since my parents chose to live in Phoenix later in life.

While the game might be better than a pro game to watch, it was definitely set up to make money and draw TV viewers in.

I'm not a huge football fan, but I would always enjoy seeing what went on to produce a college bowl game, from the way media were handled on the sidelines, to parachuters (or helicopters) flying into the stadium, to the halftime show, to what went on during the commercial breaks, and there were TONS of commercial breaks. The audience's attention would shift (and immediately) from the field to the end zone screens during every commercial break. If you looked down at the field or sidelines, it was as if the players, coaches and everyone else involved in the production were robots being suddenly switched off while all our eyes were diverted to the big screens.

I always found that really fascinating. The few times I've been to a pro game, the slickness of it all wasn't anywhere near what the Fiesta Bowl was.

Re:the pro in pro sports (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38429066)

I don't watch college sports because it's fundamentally dishonest. Call a spade a spade: these kids are minor league pro athletes. Give them their money and stop trying to launder it through the financial aid department. The reason it doesn't happen is because people like to think that these kids are getting an education, but anyone who's ever met a college athlete knows that for the lie it is. Getting a 3.5 GPA in "sports management" at a public university is not an achievement.

Someone will doubtless mention the linebacker friend with a 4.0 in astrophysics they knew in college, but there are thousands of college athletes just in D-I sports. You should be able to come up with a hundred examples or more of kids just like that. After all, the top 10% of humans overall are pretty smart, so assuming we're selecting our "athlete scholars" for both athletics and scholarship, we should be doing even better, right? ...Right?

irrational resistance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38428230)

I irrationally resist this move.

And you choose the NFL as your example? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38428254)

I'd say the NFL is probably one of the least "luddite" of the major sports--compare them to soccer or basketball for example...

Re:And you choose the NFL as your example? (4, Informative)

Rhodri Mawr (862554) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428848)

The only part of Association Football (soccer in your parlance) that is luddite is the use of action replays to allow the referee to make a better decision. Even that is on the agenda for change. On the contrary, Technology is being used widely in soccer, Rugby Union and Rugby League to measure the performance of players both on the pitch and off it in training.

Technologies like Prozone http://www.prozonesports.com/index.html [prozonesports.com] and opta http://www.optasports.com/sports/football.html [optasports.com] provide detailed statistics to the Management/Coaching staff. Almost none of the top league European Soccer sides do not use some variant of these technologies, and if they don't, they won't be top league for much longer. Almost every successful side owes a fair part of their recent success to video analysis both on and off the pitch.

In Wales we have grown used to seeing our Rugby Union coaches sat infront of laptops during matches, watching the laptops almost as much as the game. Players are biometrically monitored during training to ensure that they are neither slacking off nor overdoing it and risking injury during training.

Rugby League has led the way in the use of action replays for the referees to watch in order to review infringements and borderline decisions, typically during the act of scoring a try.

Cricket and tennis have championed the use of Hawk-eye http://www.hawkeyeinnovations.co.uk/ [hawkeyeinnovations.co.uk] to decide whether a ball would have hit the wicket or was in or out respectively.

So, no, soccer is not luddite, and the NFL could certainly be doing and allowing more technological innovation.

Re:And you choose the NFL as your example? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38428900)

I think he was referring more to the World Cup, and their ongoing reluctance to use technology. This was a story during the last World Cup, and I found the World Cup official's reluctance to use more cameras or referees to be rather strange, not to mention their reluctance to use replay. The regular, professional leagues are certainly more advanced.

Re:And you choose the NFL as your example? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38429216)

"Rugby League has led the way in the use of action replays for the referees to watch in order to review infringements and borderline decisions, typically during the act of scoring a try."

And now referees are scared to make a decision and go to the video ref 9 out of 10 times.

Re:And you choose the NFL as your example? (1)

bjorniac (836863) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428888)

Compare it to tennis or cricket, where Hawk-eye aids umpire decisions and you'll see its definitely a way behind. Cricket in particular has a lot of recent tech toys added - 'snickometer' and 'hotspot' being used to see if ball met bat through sound or residual heat. That said, radio communications between players and coaches have been banned - the reason given is that whilst in play, the game should only be decided by the players on the field.

Soccer remains behind a little, it's true, though the English Football Association has recently proposed using a Hawk-eye like system to make line calls. The main reasons cited are that replays etc would interrupt the game, and since it's a free-flowing sport (rather than the stop-start of tennis, american football or cricket say) this would change the game fundamentally.

Re:And you choose the NFL as your example? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38428892)

Moreover, how many other sports can claim to have made significant contributions to medical science? The NFL is fairly unique when it comes to the prevalence of certain otherwise-rare medical conditions. We've come a long way in understanding concussions because of all the NFL players that have experienced multiple concussions over a relatively short timespan. And we've been able to confirm the effectiveness of at least one treatment for severe spinal injuries because the NFL offered an opportunity for doctors to arrive on the scene of a paralysis incident within seconds.

The NFL could have turned their back on these issues, but they've instead worked with the medical community to learn more about how we as humans work by offering cases that would be hard to study otherwise. They've made an obscene profit doing it, but at least they've done it.

Re:And you choose the NFL as your example? (2)

The Snowman (116231) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428962)

I'd say the NFL is probably one of the least "luddite" of the major sports--compare them to soccer or basketball for example...

Really? You grasp for a luddite sports league and bring up basketball, by which you probably mean the NBA?

MLB has to be the clear winner in ludditeness. They just recently allowed instant replay, but only for home run/foul calls (i.e. balls hit very close to the yellow poles). There is no official review, no challenging (ever see a coach argue and win instead of getting ejected?), nothing. Just about the only technology is the camera that tracks the location and speed of pitches for people watching on TV.

Baseball is far behind the technology curve. I'm not sure that it needs more technology, but MLB certainly needs to make some updates to how it runs its league (like cut the number of games in half, increase the pace of the game). Regardless, it is clearly the most austere of the professional sports leagues in the USA.

Re:And you choose the NFL as your example? (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38429084)

Baseball fan chiming in...

Now, I do feel that baseball is too slow to adapt new technology. If I were commish, we'd not only have instant replay challenges, we'd be using some of that nifty cricket technology to call balls and strikes.

But speed up the game? Aside from a few match-ups (I'm lookin' at you, Yankees-Sox), the pace is fine. A bit under three hours, same as football. I could do with fewer commercial breaks, but we all know that won't happen. And a shorter season? Why? They sell around 30k tickets a game, and the parks can't seat 60k. Besides, one of my favorite things about the game is that it's there whenever I want it. I don't need to wait for a particular day.

Make money, disregard females (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38428270)

Sounds like this is the perfect to time to make niche software for the NFL. And lock them in to support contracts.

Make bank.

NFL--not what you think (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38428282)

A current NFL quarterback solved two of the Clay Millennium million-dollar prizes while in undergraduate school. Goes to show that stereotypes don't always fit!

Re:NFL--not what you think (2)

Myria (562655) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428340)

A current NFL quarterback solved two of the Clay Millennium million-dollar prizes while in undergraduate school. Goes to show that stereotypes don't always fit!

Given the NFL's record, I don't think that anyone having been sacked a bunch of times will be able to do much more than count change when they're done.

Re:NFL--not what you think (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38428470)

A current NFL quarterback solved two of the Clay Millennium million-dollar prizes while in undergraduate school. Goes to show that stereotypes don't always fit!

I know! It's amazing. A lot of people think that Tim Tebow is just a lucky lunkhead. But it turns out that the guy is really, really smart.

Re:NFL--not what you think (1)

grouchomarxist (127479) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428774)

Who would that be?

It doesn't make the game better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38428304)

It doesn't make the game more enjoyable to the viewer - so in that aspect they have reason to drag their feet and not waste time or money on it.

Re:It doesn't make the game better (1)

herojig (1625143) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428954)

This is so true, take last week's GB vs. Oakland: where there was a challenge - but the instant reply gizmo was broken - so the ruling on the field had to stand, even though it was clear from the audience camera that the ruling was wrong. Something has been lost, re: officiating in the electronics age, and adding more gadgets to the mix will only make it worse...

Slow to adopt != Luddism (2)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428308)

MLB's At Bat app for the iPhone and other phones is one of the best sports apps I've ever seen. Players have adopted iPads as a scouting aid [thenextweb.com] . I don't know where the author makes the claim that sports are technophobic; perhaps a better way of putting it is that they're slow to adopt, but that's not the same thing as Luddism.

Re:Slow to adopt != Luddism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38428492)

The author doesn't make the claim that sports are technophobic... He makes the statement that Football is technophobic... and you're talking about baseball. I'd love to flag this RTFA.. but in this case, a simple RTFSummary will suffice....

Just asking. . . (2)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428310)

. . .why are any of these technologies necessary or beneficial to NFL football? The sole benefit I could imagine is the ability to better protect players from injury, or after an injury has occurred. Other than that, I want to see athleticism, strategy and luck, not dweebs huddled around techno-baubles.

Re:Just asking. . . (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428650)

Sports and stats go hand-in-hand. More statistics will enhance the public's appreciation for the game. For example, a dramatic tackle analyzed in real-time with accelerometers could be reported seconds later by the announcer:

Wow! The running back just took a hit and experienced a force of 150G's*! He was hit at a 5-degree angle and knocked back a whole meter...

* No lie. [popularmechanics.com]

Re:Just asking. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38428802)

Then maybe a readout of how many months' worth of mental competence are subtracted from the player's lifetime with every brain-quivering hit.

Honestly, I wrote that before I saw the /. dept.

Sensors ... (2)

guanxi (216397) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428314)

First, any call regarding location could be decided electronically and instantly. Every time they position the ball after a tackle, determine a first down, out of bounds, touchdown ... no reason not to use sensors and make instant, accurate calls. No more errors, no more wasting time on replays.

You could use sensors to decide issues of contact:Determine pass interference -- was the hit before the play? Facemasking ... roughing the kicker ... helmet-to-helmet ... sensors in receivers gloves, in the ball, and in the field to determine possession on catches ...

Sure, sensors won't be perfect, and probably some application would turn out to be impractical, but take the refs errors out of the game, spend less time referreeing and more time playing.

Re:Sensors ... (1)

preaction (1526109) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428364)

"Sure, sensors won't be perfect, ..." now instead of arguing over the imperfect calls of referees, we're arguing over the imperfect calls of computerized sensors.

Re:Sensors ... (1)

Radres (776901) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428388)

I don't think this would quite work for all calls in the game of football. For one thing, the rule on the tackle is when any part of the body other than the feet or hands touches the ground, the player is considered down. Also, when the player stops forward progress, he is considered down. I just can't see there being a system that could handle making this determination; it would require the player to wear some uncomfortable equipment and it would probably be possible for the player to interfere with that.

Not all receivers and defenders wear gloves, or even want to wear gloves. It's difficult enough for video game football to get these rules right where they have absolute control over player positions; how could we expect there to be sensors to get this right in meat space?

Re:Sensors ... (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428574)

For one thing, the rule on the tackle

The introduction of technology could easily introduce changes in the rules. Don't be a luddite.

Re:Sensors ... (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428448)

First, any call regarding location could be decided electronically and instantly. Every time they position the ball after a tackle,

Better than that, they could track the ball's forward progress and never need a ref or ump or whatever the zebras are called. Pressure sensors in every knee and elbow pad tells us when the player was down, the computer tells us where the ball was. Position sensors tell us offsides or even count the number of players on the field. No replays, no bad calls.

but take the refs out of the game,

Fixed that for 'ya.

For a season, the NHL had a tracking device in the puck so the tellyvission could follow it easier and do technical flummery with data. That seems to have gone away quick. Maybe the fans didn't like it? Why wouldn't they? It removes part of the sport from the game.

spend less time referreeing and more time playing.

Most of the time "refereeing" is when the clock is stopped. Less time refereeing, but not more time playing.

Maybe next we apply this to real football and never have an incorrect offsides call again? Think the soccer fans would go for it? And, of course, all kinds of medical telemetry so we can all tell when the cheatin' Man United players fake injuries looking for a yellow card.

Re:Sensors ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38429248)

The 'Fox Tracker' puck changed the balance and feel of the puck, players hated it. They hollowed out the puck and put batteries and IR LEDs in it for tracking. It looked stupid the way the graphics worked, the blue glow obscured what the players were doing as well. With HD the puck is much easier to see, even Americans can find it! I would love to see some sort of linear strip camera along the goal line and net to get parallax and obstruction free views to see if the puck crossed the line, but there aren't too many ways to improve the use of tech in Hockey. The coaches seem to all have ipads and radio to the guys up in the booths, showing replays to the players during the commercial breaks and timeouts. I suppose you could give everyone helmet mounted radios so they could communicate easier but as it is now the players just yell to each other on the ice and it seems to work OK.

Re:Sensors ... (1, Funny)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428896)

helmet-to-helmet

My favorite contact sport involves slapping my uncut pecker against another man's uncut pecker.
Circumcision is mutilation, people. Respect and celebrate the foreskin. Then slap it around like there's no tomorrow!

Statstical analysis (4, Insightful)

Myria (562655) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428322)

If computers were allowed, it might have far-reaching effects. A computer could know the entire state of the game, and look through every game in history to determine the outcomes of each choice a coach has at a particular moment. It could present to the coach a list of choices along with the expected outcomes given the probabilities in the past. In a way, it would eliminate some choices of the coach.

I think baseball would be affected much more than football. Baseball has ten times the games per year as the NFL, so statistical analysis would be more effective.

Re:Statstical analysis (2)

Threni (635302) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428480)

> A computer could know the entire state of the game, and look through every game in
> history to determine the outcomes of each choice a coach has at a particular moment.

Isn't that like picking this weeks lottery numbers based on up to the minute analysis of how previous draws have gone?

Re:Statstical analysis (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428554)

Not necessarily. One could see things like the likelihood of gaining X yards from all the times you (or others) have used a particular tactic against this particular team (or against all teams), or weigh with more math the relative risks of passing vs punting vs running a ball. I think that the communication impact would be huge, but I am certain that statistical analysis of what's the "smart" or "safe" choice (risk vs reward) of a set of plays could make things interesting from the coaching side.

Re:Statstical analysis (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428614)

Isn't that like picking this weeks lottery numbers based on up to the minute analysis of how previous draws have gone?

No, there's more to the game than mere chance. In a way it's more akin to chess, where in a given situation some moves are more likely to lead to a win than others.

Disclaimer: I know bugger all about American football, other than it involves two goals and a ball.

Re:Statstical analysis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38428518)

Coaches already do this, perhaps not on a play-by-play basis, but to say that statistics haven't influenced sports is inaccurate. Pitching coaches already know where hitters are the weakest and what kind of pitches they struggle against the most, just like a good coach can pick apart a defense and find weaknesses that can be exploited by an offense. Even if computers are leveraged to make this easier or instantaneous, the meta-game will simply shift to encompass these changes and the most successful coaches will be able to compensate for these differences.

Re:Statstical analysis (2)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428520)

They already do that to some extent, running analysis before each game and trying to distill the most salient bits of data into things for the coach/players to memorize. I agree it'd up it another order of magnitude if they allowed it in real time, though at this point it's already a weird sort of quasi-athletic competition where how good the coach is at memorizing things is a significant factor...

Re:Statstical analysis (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38428742)

The best part will be when coaching algos turn the game into a fieldgoal kicking contest or something lame like that. Then the teams can buy off the rulemaking committee. The team that fields no defense against some other team that also fields no defense, and always kicks a 20 yd. fieldgoal on 2nd down. Then when the fanbase collapses they can bet bailed out. Finally, football will be a perfect reflection of everything it means to be American.

Re:Statstical analysis (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428934)

I look forward to the day when, at the beginning of the match, the coaches will whip out laptops (or is it tablets?), type furiously, then one of them will look up and say, "you win".

Then we can retire "professional sports" for good, and spend all that money on something useful, like education or free hookers for all the aspie nerds in colleges. ~

Easiest new tech for football: RFID in balls (4, Interesting)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428336)

There is a huge focus now on scoring plays. Every time there is a scoring play, the play is reviewed to make sure the player wasn't down and that the ball actually crossed to goal line. I've always thought they could make it a lot easier on the referees, for both scoring and spotting the ball, if they put RFID or similar chips inside the balls, then put sensors at every yard line to determine where the ball was at a given point. As a football official myself, let me tell you, there is a lot of inaccuracies regarding ball spotting. A lot of the time, especially if it is an out of bounds play, they will simply spot the ball on the closest yard line (unless of course it is right by the other team's bench, then they have to be much or accurate".

Re:Easiest new tech for football: RFID in balls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38428420)

Wouldn't that hurt?

where the ball is only part of it. players (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38428764)

where the ball is only part of it. players foots / body / hands are a big part as well and good luck getting sensors on the body to last a full game.

Re:Easiest new tech for football: RFID in balls (1)

stockard (1431131) | more than 2 years ago | (#38429044)

A system like this was proposed for the 2006 World Cup, but Adidas and FIFA opted not to use it because they found some issues with it. http://www.rfidjournal.com/article/view/2029/ [rfidjournal.com] I also heard somewhere that a few teams tried it in a few exhibition games (not sure if it was this same system), and the fans didn't like it because they couldn't argue with one another about whether someone actually scored or not! And since pro sports is just entertainment, you certainly don't want to alienate your fan base...

Re:Easiest new tech for football: RFID in balls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38429150)

I'd hate to see touchdowns decided by RFID and announced by some huge flashing light or screen display. The crowd would likely focus as much or more on that display as they did in the players on the field.

I would like to see some advancements - line judges are notoriously inaccurate on offside calls, it is impossible to spot a football for the next play after a 20-man fumble pile, and the did-it-cross-or-not moments are never accepted equally by all fans of both teams. But they'll have to find ways to utilize them that accentuate, rather than detract, from the experience of watching the game.

Blernsball ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38428350)

Maybe something in the direction of Blernsball, just adapted for football. People would love it.
At least in Japan they would go crazy, I guess.

Interesting, but... (1)

tehlinux (896034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428352)

Reminds me of advanced chess. [wikipedia.org] It's an interesting idea, but I doubt anyone takes it as seriously as OTB.

Start with the refs (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428354)

Before they start giving quarterbacks iPads, try letting the refs use the cameras to make more informed decisions. I don't even keep up with football, but I hear constant complaints from friends and family that do about referees making "bad calls" that you can totally see on the instant replay, but apparently they aren't allowed to use that.

(I am quite possibly completely misinformed, here - as I said, this is a problem I know exists only at second hand)

I see it as good (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428378)

I don't care at all for NFL. or any "major league" sport for that matter.

I don't see the bad side of more money being invested in technology though.

Keeping it accessible (1)

sd4f (1891894) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428380)

I think that it's quite silly to try to go stupid with the permitting or disallowing technology. Soccer tries to make it as accessible as possible by not allowing any technology, and their reasoning is that they don't want to play a different game to that which a lot of kids and adults play in the park. I think that's a reasonable approach, but the football i mostly watch, rugby (league and union), in particular NRL, they use video refereeing mostly for legitimate scoring purposes, which in top tier games, is somewhat reasonable as well, however the main referee, though, has to make the decision to consult the video ref.

Using stuff like radios and tablets i think will be silly, the tech should be used to help with making the game fairer, that's about it

Re:Keeping it accessible (2)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428618)

I have some books about football history and the in the 60's and 70's there was a genuine fear that teams would use computers to replace human intellect for play calling and analysis. They had to relent as far as radio headsets for coaches/offensive coordinators and quarterbacks, because teams were using "messenger guards" to relay information into the huddle every play anyways.

Meatheads and Tech (2, Funny)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428404)

I've seen this story before. NASCAR infamously has been trying to integrate technology, yet they can't track the speed or position of any of the 42 cars on the track at a specific moment in time...they rely on 100 year old radio wave transponder technology and timing loops. "Math" consists of dividing the length of the track by the time to complete one lap to determine a car's speed. "Telemetry" consists of how far the throttle is depressed (um all the way usually) and how far to the left the wheel has been turned.

Re:Meatheads and Tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38428576)

Admittedly I'm not a NASCAR fan, but it does seem it's a bit more advanced that what you are reporting:

http://storefront.nascar.com/trackpass/about/raceview

What are all the features included in RaceView? [nascar.com]

Get All the Race and Driver Information You Need - LIVE!
Instant crash and caution updates

Streaming lap-by-lap commentary

Real-time race information such as number of cautions, laps, race leader, number of leaders, and flag status

Get real-time driver points and standings

View real-time driver positions, speed, lap time, RPM, brake, throttle, and time behind the leader

Track pit stats and times

Includes PitCommand and Scanner FREE

Set your driver and view preferences

Launch RaceView from your desktop! You can place a RaceView icon on your desktop so it's even easier to watch live races.

Re:Meatheads and Tech (1)

Marc_Hawke (130338) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428580)

"yet they can't track the speed or position of any of the 42 cars on the track at a specific moment in time"

It's good you didn't say "speed AND position" I hear that gets REALLY tricky.

Re:Meatheads and Tech (1)

Swanktastic (109747) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428700)

I hear NASCAR fans enjoy a good Heisenberg joke.

Re:Meatheads and Tech (1)

reboot246 (623534) | more than 2 years ago | (#38429142)

Of course we do! I have a sign in front of my house that says:
Heisenberg may or may not have slept here.

Re:Meatheads and Tech (5, Interesting)

zbobet2012 (1025836) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428600)

I was going to mod the parent down, but instead I will reply.

Nascar intentionally limits the data that may be sent to the announcers, as much of the data coming from the cars is considered proprietary information for each team, this is mostly done in the interest of perserving competition. The actual teams put sensors on the cars that collect a simply amazing amount of data, from tire forces, suspension forces, engine sensors, frame torque, and etc. Last I talked to the software companies that do this high end race teams in NASCAR and Forumla 1 collect over 1000 data points once every microsecond or so. It is common place practice now for teams to "tune in" there cars by doing an actual test run in the car and then placing the data into a CVD (computation vehicle dynamics) program like Optimum-G and perform tweaks to the car several times and simulate the actual test run as its much cheaper and quicker to do it that way.

Hell, a few years ago Formula 1 placed limitations on transmissions as there was a serious concern that the engineers where automating the transmissions for the drivers based on test runs around the track. If you think that the engineers and people involved in racing in a multi-billion dollar business where winning can mean tens of millions of dollars for the team are "meatheads" you are at such a level of ignorance its astounding.

That's crazy talk! (1)

DragonHawk (21256) | more than 2 years ago | (#38429208)

I was going to mod the parent down, but instead I will reply.

What a radical concept! ;-)

(For the humor impaired: I am not criticizing zbobet2012. I am commenting ironically on the tendency of people to use the moderation system as a discussion system, which is wrong.)

Re:Meatheads and Tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38428604)

You are wrong.

The telemetry for NASCAR is well beyond what you describe. There are hundreds of values captured hundreds of times every second ... including the steering wheel position. The engines are highly instrumented. Air pressures (Bernoulli calculations) are taken around the vehicle, tire pressures are known.

Much of NASCAR is very limited for the safety of the drivers and I guess for historical reasons.

As to the NFL adding technology.
2 computers no more. 1 in a back room and 1 on the sidelines. Too much would distract from the human aspects of the game. I'd remove all radio communications and definitely not allow in-helmet radios. I'd add drug testing to Olympic levels too. Every week during the season and every other week otherwise. Living a clean life should be required to play the sport. Playing with pain meds should not be allowed.

Re:Meatheads and Tech (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428752)

I've seen this story before. NASCAR infamously has been trying to integrate technology, yet they can't track the speed or position of any of the 42 cars on the track at a specific moment in time...

That's a solved problem. [sportvision.com] That technology has been deployed since 1982. When we were doing a DARPA Grand Challenge vehicle, we went to talk to the Sportsvision people about precision real-time GPS. They use some tricks we couldn't; for example, they have a model of the track and can get precision GPS with fewer satellites because they know altitude for each point on the track.

Re:Meatheads and Tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38428792)

Sounds like you're a fucking troll. I'm not a NASCAR fan but I have seen the races at the local bar from time to time and they can indeed tell the possition and speed of a car without dipshit like dividing the lap length by the lap time. Go YouTube for it and you'll see how wrong you are. And if you can't stand up and admit that you're wrong that makes you a cunt ass bitch too.

Re:Meatheads and Tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38428846)

There are 43 cars in any given race. They sure can and do track speed and position. You're a shitty troll.

More information = better sport (4, Interesting)

nixed3 (1586839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428506)


This would be so great for the sport. I am a huge football fan, and for the most part, I feel that NFL referees do a decent job of officiating the game considering the phenomenal pace at which these athletes are moving (flying) around the field. Use of HD-Replay allows them to "get it right" with a rather high percentage.

Think of the potential for this: With just a few modifications, a football can have a chip to detect where it is on the field, at any given timestamp. This can be used to practically guarantee correct calls on scoring plays. Why not take it a step further and have the ship calculate how much pressure is being exerted on the ball from the player holding it (to determine if someone has "possession")?

However, while I feel that technological advances for the sport in general are good (sensors in the ball and on the field, referees with better access to information), I am concerned about what happens if each TEAM gets to use increasingly complex technology because then the league has to provide the same tech to every team in every game. Obviously, if one team has access to superior information/technology that the others don't it is game-breaking. You can't give one coach a live, continuous HD feed from the sky viewing all players on each player (the coveted "All 22" shot) if every coach doesn't have it.

(I just feel the need to soap box here and point out that NBA is a completely different story, as I'm almost certain that [playoff] NBA officiating is absolutely rigged and has been for the last decade.)

Fan Engagement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38428512)

"Quarterbacks and defensive captains wired to every player on the field and calling plays without a huddle"

This is a particularly bad idea for football where crowd noise is encouraged to try to impair the other team's ability to hear. The whole point of sports is the entertainment of the fans. Fans feel like they are contributing to their team when they yell and make noise. If they subvert this effort with technology, it will make the games less entertaining for the fans.

Re:Fan Engagement (1)

tehlinux (896034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38429086)

This is a particularly bad idea for football where crowd noise is encouraged

This would not go over too well at the Clink!

Battle School (3, Interesting)

kEnder242 (262421) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428514)

Anderson talking to Graff about his new job.

"Though after years of watching those children flying, football is like watching slugs bash into each other."
    - Ender's Game

This just in (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428528)

Old rich fucks with brain damage that glided their way though school find technology scary

Soccer (2)

M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428532)

In UK several teams use tracking devices on players, multiple gadgets , multiple maps , so far the best result i have seen was on a software that predicted the player effort and could determine with a good accuracy is next injury, so the effort on that player could be managed. knowing that on premier players rate from 10M each it is for sure a good investment.

As for the game rules.... we use to say , a referee that doesn't score a penalty by mistake or incopetence, as the same guilt as a striker that failed an easy goal, the referee has the right to be wrong sometimes.

Yo0 Fail It... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38428582)

and this is a good thing? (1)

apcullen (2504324) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428610)

nothing mentioned in the summary sounds as though it would improve the game of football from a fan's perspective. At all. Quarterbacks wired to every player and calling plays without a huddle? Really? How does that make the game more fun to watch?

Re:and this is a good thing? (2)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428814)

Quarterbacks wired to every player and calling plays without a huddle? Really? How does that make the game more fun to watch?

It only makes it fun if it is being done as a desperation move by a losing team running out of time, and they're doing something risky in an attempt at getting that one last score that would have them win.

Make it "normal" and it would lose all allure.

If you are going to get rid of the huddle, why not get rid of the play itself? Simply use modern "fantasy football" rules and decide based on the play being called and the players on the field how it will turn out. Less chance for injury to the players. Less chance for injury to the fans because there won't be as many of them driving home from the stadium drunk -- or in any other condition.

Re:and this is a good thing? (1)

GillyGuthrie (1515855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428926)

If the players weren't huddling all the time, the play clock could be reduced by a significant number of seconds... making the game much faster paced. The players wouldn't be able to keep up with the pace like this so the dynamics of the game plays would change. Also, fans would lose the beer-drinking, pissing, and eating time that is available between plays.

Re:and this is a good thing? (1)

sirroc (1157745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38429088)

There really doesn't need to be a technological solution to this. Just watching the University of Oregon football team is a perfect example. While their playbook is simplistic to a pro scheme; the purpose is speed. According to ESPN, the Ducks averaged around 20'ish seconds per play. The breakneck (per football standards) pace of play easily exposes poor conditioning. The reason that they play so quickly is that every player looks to the sidelines for the play call. Not just the QB. This ensures that everyone gets the play as quickly as possible without the need to huddle.

I feel that the NFL needs to speed up their plays. A 45 second play clock with no timeouts, as a defense effectively (not always; see Chicago v. Denver) ends the game with anything under two minutes remaining. The NCAA has the same problem.

However, if a technological solution is needed then a broadcast to all offensive players for a play call seems appropriate.

YES! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38428624)

I think it would be WONDERFUL to have all that WiFi and Bluetooth traffic sailing around. I don't think they could check a stadium closely enough to find a cleverly....uh, well you can think of a million scenarios, reasons to crawl around in that traffic. From outright espionage and black hats to haXord-off script kiddies will bend, fold, spindle and generally take all the info they want,sell it, post it and generally rub the NFLs nose around in it, in a very public way. I got Kreskin and a sideshow gypsy sitting here who predict the same thing.
        Maybe they were right to keep it low tech if they want to somehow lay ownership to some photons that are God-given to every man, woman,child and dog who is not an atheist on the planet. A voice from above just told me, in fact, that information is free and we should stick to tangibles for our corporate profit needs.
Well, I ,personally, will share any information I get with any atheists who might be interested just so they don't feel left out and we can all sit back and watch the game, the locker-room,cheerleaders dressing rooms the sidelines, from our laptops wherever that may be.Cheers!

Banning tech != luddites (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428958)

Banning technology is the accommodation that the league makes for allowing networks to broadcast every time a player or coach farts on the sidelines. You can't combine that kind of access with instantaneous contact with the outside world. Honestly, they should just stop the sideline bimbos from shoving mikes into every conversation between a coach and a player, but that'll never happen.

On top of that, there's a wink-nudge system of players and coaches tipping off members of the sports media to game plans so that sportscasters can sound smart, insightful, and observant during games. You tell your former coach-turned-color-commentator that you're going to run zone blitzes all day, who then tells the audience that he "notices" lots of zone blitzing packages, then you can't very well have opposing staff members watching at home and firing off texts to their offensive coordinator.

Sports should be low-tech. It's human competition. (1)

eepok (545733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38428984)

Background: I have had multiple conversations about "athletic endeavors". I have settled on the following taxonomy.

***Athletic Competitions*** --- Competitions requiring athletes to physically demonstrate their athletic and applicable mental capabilities (often to their fullest extent).

Races (human-powered): Running, Cycling, Rowing, etc.
Sports (directly competitive scoring): Basketball, Football, etc.
Sports (indirectly competitive scoring): Hammer-throw
Athletic Competitions (subjective scoring): Gymnastics

***Non-Athletic Competitions*** -- Competitions that may or may not require athleticism for general health/well-being, but do not require the fullest extent of athletic performance in competition.

Races (non-human-powered): NASCAR, Formula 1, Horse Racing, Yacht Racing, etc.
Non-Athletic Competition: Sharpshooting, Competitive Drum Corp, Jazz Dance
Non-Athletic Game: Board games, Gambling

Many will undoubtedly argue that "you need to be in great physical shape to be a formula 1 driver" or the "formula 1 drivers are athletes", and that may be true, but in the end, formula 1 is a competition of technology, not human capability.

Back on topic, I think that football is best without the aid of computers at the sidelines. The sport is supposed to be a competition of team power, coordination, and thinking capability. Computers on the sideline dilute the need for thinking capability. The ability to judge the probability of a defensive formation working well against an offensive play is a measure of human decision-making skills based on the ability to "feel out a game" or even do his/her own math. If computers are allowed on the sidelines, then we may as well start prepping the cyborg football league.

Not techophobic (1)

PvtVoid (1252388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38429098)

Major-league sports are famously technophobic — the NFL outlaws computers and PDAs on the sidelines,

It's not because they're technophobic. Their IT guys won't let them connect their "toys" to the network.

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