The NFL Pro Bowl gives the league a chance to test new technology. NFL Football Operations faces a delicate balance: determining how to innovate while respecting and preserving the game’s traditions, integrity and competitive equity.
Innovations that have been introduced to the game over the years have been thoroughly researched and developed before seeing the field. Coaches and players provide feedback critical to determining whether the solutions the league tests do, in fact, improve the game.
Learn more how the NFL balances technology with tradition.
A new idea may sound like an improvement, but if it doesn’t work on game day, it simply won’t work.
“We want to take the best technologies and test them under as close to real-game experience as possible,” said NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent.
The league tested making video available on the teams’ sideline tablets at last year’s Pro Bowl and during the 2015 preseason. Among the main findings — both coaches and players liked it.
Teams currently can use their sideline tablets to view still images that let coaches zoom in, make annotations, review plays and tag ‘favorites’ to review later. Adding video would give teams another tool with which to make in-game adjustments.
The system tested last year was not quite ready for game action. However, after some logistical and technical adjustments, the system is ready for additional testing during this season’s Pro Bowl.
The NFL is testing an improved coaches' communication system that will use new technology to create a more reliable communication system across all NFL venues.
The 2016 Pro Bowl will feature an all-new, fully operational coaches’ communication system that incorporates the past findings from prior testing.
If the technology works in this game, the league may begin using the new system as early as next season.