The NFL has launched the third annual Big Data Bowl, a joint initiative between the NFL and Amazon Web Services that uses data and technology to make the game more exciting for fans and to protect players from unnecessary risk. Using Next Gen Stats powered by AWS, the 2020-2021 Big Data Bowl is a crowdsourcing competition that calls on professional and aspiring data analysts to devise innovative approaches to analyzing pass coverage in the NFL.
Interested participants can sign-up on Kaggle.com for the 2020-21 Big Data Bowl. Professional and aspiring analysts will use Next Gen Stats player tracking data to predict pass coverage schemes and identify which NFL defensive backs perform the best in pass coverage. The 2020-21 competition’s participants will use player tracking data on all passing plays from the 2018 regular season, provided by the NFL.
The deadline for submission is January 7, 2021. After the deadline, all Big Data Bowl entries will be judged by data analysts from NFL clubs. Finalists will be announced in early 2021 and will share a prize of $100,000.
Over the past three years, the Big Data Bowl has asked participants to explore statistical innovations in the NFL using real-time data for every player, on every play, in every situation. The competition challenges the data analytics community to rethink trends in player performance and innovate the way football is played and coached.
The Big Data Bowl is just one example of how the NFL drives advancements in the game by making football data publicly available. The 2020 season will also mark the sixth annual 1st and Future competition, the NFL's annual pitch contest designed to spur innovation in athlete safety and performance, also a centerpiece of the league's partnership with AWS.
"The NFL continues to find new ways to use data to advance the game – using Next Gen Stats to fuel the Big Data Bowl is a prime example," said Michael Lopez, NFL director of football data and analytics. "The league has grown both on and off the field with the use of analytics, and by crowdsourcing to talented individuals around the globe, the Big Data Bowl gives the NFL greater exposure, depth, and insight into what data can do to support the future of the game."
New this year, the Big Data Bowl will feature a mentorship program where 16 junior data scientists from diverse backgrounds are connected with experienced NFL analytics experts to curate a Big Data Bowl submission.
Following the 2018-19 and 2019-20 Big Data Bowl competitions, 14 participants were later hired by NFL clubs or affiliate vendors. The 2019-20 Big Data Bowl featured more than 2,000 participating teams with participants from 32 countries. The winning algorithm from the 2019-20 contest, which provided predictions for rushing play outcomes, was adopted by the NFL's analytics team as one of this season's new Next Gen Stats and has been used and shared with NFL clubs and media during the 2020 season.
For additional information on this year's Big Data Bowl, visit: https://operations.nfl.com/the-game/big-data-bowl/.