The NFL Pro Bowl gives the league an opportunity to test new technology. NFL Football Operations must balance introducing new technology and innovations to the game and respecting and preserving the game’s traditions, integrity and competitive equity. New technology must integrate smoothly into the game and work with enhancements that the league already uses.
Learn more how the league balances technology with tradition.
In the 2017 Pro Bowl, the league plans several tests.
Sideline Viewing System (SVS)
The league continues to test using video on sidelines during games through the SVS. The system has been tested in previous Pro Bowls and in the 2016 preseason. It allows players and coaches to view video on Surface Pro tablets, while maintaining the option for viewing still images. Thirteen Microsoft Surface Pro tablets will be set up on each sideline and video of a previous play will be delivered once the next play begins. Teams will have access to a thumbnail image, an enlarged still photo and a video of each play. They will be able to annotate and store videos as they do with still images in the existing system.
Sideline Communications Center
The NFL will continue to test modifications to the communications center on each sideline. Using IP phones will create more flexibility for both the league and the clubs during games and will reduce the number of phones on each sideline from eight to three. The smaller and lighter IP phones will use different ring tones to distinguish between the types of calls.
Injury Video Review
To further assist the independent certified athletic trainers (ATC Spotters) at the Pro Bowl and protect players from potential injuries, the NFL will provide an additional independent injury review system on each sideline. Currently, one system is shared by both the home and away independent spotters. The new system allows each spotter to focus on one team rather than all players and will increase the possibility that a potential injury will be identified.
The league will also test:
The NFL may consider adopting any of these technological advances — or none of them. Any change to the game goes through an exhaustive testing process that includes more than the Pro Bowl.