The finalists and judges for 1st and Future — the NFL's annual Super Bowl competition designed to spur novel advancements in athlete safety and performance — have been announced. Entrepreneurs and data scientists will pitch ideas to modernize the game and advance player safety. They will compete for up to $150,000 in awards.

The event will take place at the Miami Beach Convention Center on Jan. 31, 2020, two days before Super Bowl LIV. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Michelle Lee, VP of the Amazon ML Solutions Lab, and Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Curtis Martin will participate in a panel discussion on player health and safety innovation. The panel will be moderated by Dan Hellie of NFL Network, who will also emcee the competition.

NFL Network will livestream the full competition on Jan. 31 at 10:30 a.m., available at

Finalists will compete in two categories:

  • NFL 1st and Future Analytics Competition, featuring creative submissions that examine the effects that playing on synthetic turf versus natural turf can have on player movements and the factors that may contribute to lower extremity injuries
  • Innovations to Advance Athlete Health and Safety Competition, highlighting innovative product concepts that aim to improve player health and safety.

Three finalists from the NFL 1st and Future Analytics Competition will be awarded $25,000 and will compete to win Super Bowl LIV tickets. Four finalists from the Innovations to Advance Athlete Health and Safety Competition will compete for a grand prize of $50,000 and two tickets to Super Bowl LIV. The second-place winner will receive $25,000 and two tickets to Super Bowl LIV.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is an official sponsor of the competition, building on their partnership with the league. Together, the NFL and AWS are leveraging AWS's artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) services to generate new insights into player injuries, game rules, equipment, rehabilitation and recovery.

Each individual and company finalist has provided the following description of their analysis or technology that they will be presenting during 1st and Future:

NFL 1st and Future Analytics Competition

Elijah Hall, Seattle, Washington

Elijah's analysis found synthetic fields combined with velocity in zigzag movement patterns introduce a significant increase of risk to lower limb non-contact injuries.

Ben Jenkins and Steve Jenkins, Denver, Colorado

Steve and Ben completed a novel analysis of NFL data to help uncover factors that contribute to lower limb injuries. This includes advanced machine learning techniques and new visualizations of characterizing player movement.

John Miller, Fort Worth, Texas

John created a model that shows the effects of player acceleration, turf type, and weather conditions on lower-body injuries.

Innovations to Advance Athlete Health and Safety Competition

Nextiles, Brooklyn, New York

Nextiles builds fabric-based sensors that when sewn into the interior padding of helmets can locate, triangulate and measure forces impacted on a player's head in order to quantify the factors that contribute to concussions and traumatic brain injuries.

Physmodo, Dallas, Texas 

Using its proprietary human tracking skeleton developed specifically for biomechanics, Physmodo assesses movement patterns through an objective, automated screen in under 30 seconds.

Plantiga, Vancouver, British Columbia

Plantiga combines sensor insoles and artificial intelligence that analyze how people move to improve health, injury rehabilitation and performance.

Protect3d, Durham, North Carolina

Protect3d leverages 3D-scanning and printing technologies to give medical professionals the ability to create anatomically-precise protective devices, each optimized for an individual athlete's comfort, mobility and protection.

The panel of judges will feature:

  • Jeffrey L. Duerk, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, University of Miami
  • Shelly Ibach, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sleep Number
  • Lee D. Kaplan, M.D., Director of the University of Miami Sports Medicine Institute
  • Michelle Lee, Vice President of the Amazon ML Solutions Lab
  • Ryan Nece, NFL Legend, Managing Partner, Next Play Capital, LLC
  • Priya Ponnapalli, Ph.D., Senior Manager and Principal Data Scientist at Amazon ML Solutions Lab
  • Eugene Shen, Director of Personnel Analytics, Miami Dolphins
  • Michael Swartzon, M.D., Team Physician, Miami Dolphins
  • Nick Tsinoremas, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Research Computing and Data and Founding Director of the University of Miami Center for Computational Science

For more information on 1st and Future, visit