The NFL announced the finalists for the fifth annual Big Data Bowl. The annual sports analytics competition challenges contestants to use traditional football data and Next Gen Stats to analyze and rethink trends and player performance, while advancing the way football is played and coached. Each finalist receives $10,000 for being selected.

The theme of this year's competition centered around offensive and defensive linemen. Participants received player tracking data from a sample of pass plays during the 2022 season to review pass block and pass rush strategies. PFF scouting data was also given to analyze offensive and defensive performances on both an individual and team basis. Using this data, each contestant was placed in one of three tracks: design a metric, coaching based, and undergraduate students. More than 400 data scientists from around the world participated in this year's event – a Big Data Bowl record – and the second-most all-time in a Kaggle analytics competition. 

This year's Big Data Bowl will conclude with an in-person event at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis on March 1. Eight contestants will compete for an additional $20,000 in prize money and will also have an opportunity to meet and interact with the estimated 250 analytics staffers, coaches, and front office personnel in attendance.

"Year in and year out, we continue to be amazed by the enthusiasm and expertise of Big Data Bowl participants," said Michael Lopez, NFL Senior Director of Football Data and Analytics. "Our competition continues to spearhead the analytics movement in sports."

The Big Data Bowl continues to pave the way for new player statistics that are shared with teams and in network telecasts.

"The Big Data Bowl brings together some of the most talented, aspiring data scientists for an opportunity to transform how football is analyzed, played, coached, and experienced," said Julie Souza, Head of Sports, AWS Professional Services. "I'm excited to represent AWS as a judge in this year's competition and meet the next generation of innovators." 

The Big Data Bowl continues to be one of the best avenues for future data scientists to start a career in the sports industry. More than 50 Big Data Bowl participants have been hired in data and analytics roles in sports.

For the fourth year in a row, the Big Data Bowl has featured a mentoring program. Sixteen different mentees were paired with experienced NFL analytics experts and selected to join a four-month program that included analytics support and networking opportunities.

See the 2023 Big Data Bowl finalists, along with all nine honorable mention candidates.