The NFL has launched the fourth annual Big Data Bowl powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS), a crowd-sourcing competition designed to engage and empower the football analytics community to drive innovation, create new insights and make the game more exciting for fans.
Using Next Gen Stats, the 2021-22 Big Data Bowl calls on professional and aspiring data analysts to devise innovative approaches to analyzing special teams in the NFL. Participants have access to three years of special teams data and are challenged to identify what strategies and players make for successful punt, kickoff, field-goal and extra-point play. Using real-time data across a wide variety of players, plays and situations, participants will propose statistical, data-driven solutions.
Since the Big Data Bowl launched in 2018, the competition has served as a pipeline for NFL teams and vendors, as well as other leagues. To date, more than 30 Big Data Bowl participants have been hired in data and analytics roles in sports. In addition, the winning algorithm from the 2020-21 Big Data Bowl has been adopted into the Next Gen Stats suite of metrics.
"We are extremely proud of the innovative ways the NFL and our partners continue to use data and analytics to advance our game, and the success of the Big Data Bowl is an important part of this evolution," said Michael Lopez, NFL senior director of football data and analytics. "Since its inception, our annual crowd-sourcing contest has connected us with talented individuals around the world and enabled us to create a pipeline of jobs across the NFL and beyond. This talent pool is spurring innovation and ensuring an even brighter future for the league, teams and players."
For the second consecutive year, the Big Data Bowl also features a mentorship program
where a dozen junior data scientists from diverse backgrounds are paired with experienced NFL analytics experts to help curate a Big Data Bowl submission.
"The Big Data Bowl gives aspiring data scientists a platform to showcase their skills," said Priya Ponnapalli, senior manager, Amazon Machine Learning Solutions Lab. "We have thousands of engineers at Amazon committed to machine learning and deep learning, and it's a big part of our heritage. Within AWS, we've focused on bringing that knowledge and capability to our customers by putting machine learning into the hands of every developer and data scientist – so we're looking forward to what this new pool of talent can do."
Interested participants can sign-up for the 2021-22 Big Data Bowl on Kaggle.com. Entrants can work independently or form teams with other colleagues, and there is a submission track open exclusively to college students. The deadline for submission is January 6, 2022.
After the submission deadline, Big Data Bowl entries will be judged by data analysts from NFL clubs. Finalists will be announced in early 2022 and will share a prize of $100,000 provided by AWS.