Philadelphia Eagles talk: So what is this RFID anyway?
It’s always about a competitive advantage, and in the case of the Philadelphia Eagles, fans can thank a little bit of sports science for aiding ‘The Birds’ to their first Lombardi Trophy.
If you thought the “Money Ball” movie was cool, you haven’t seen anything yet. April will no-doubt mark a very interesting moment in NFL history as league-wide access will be made available to a new form of in-game player tracking. It’s called RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification), and the always forward-thinking Philadelphia Eagles chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie has been a fan for quite some time.
RFID is designed to use small devices like microchips to track objects. Mostly, it had been used to find pets and children, but recently NFL teams have learned that by placing these microchips in shoulder pads, they can use this technology for everything from assisting in scouting to formulating game plans.
The Eagles are apparently, partially, giving credit to RFID for their recent Super Bowl victory. Hey, if it’s good enough for Lurie and company, it’s good enough for us.
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Let’s flash back a little.
Lurie first spoke about this in 2016 at the NFL meetings, but some of us were still too busy trying to figure out how to dominate in Fantasy Football. The overall value of what all of this may mean for NFL teams can’t be determined yet, but the belief is the Eagles used this technology to determine how to better rotate their running backs and defensive ends during in-game situations by monitoring fatigue.
They’ve also learned when to increase the intensity or back off during practice sessions.
Here’s a quote from Jeffrey Lurie back in 2016:
"In May, we’re going to be bombarded finally with the data from RFID. That’s going to revolutionize the sport in the long run. You’re going to have live biometric measurements of players in the stadium, on the field. How you deal with all the statistics now that are available through scouting is extraordinary when you break it down. How you integrate sports science with peak performance."
Originally, the teams who were interested in using this tool only had information about their own teams. By the end of April, data on other teams will be made available as well. Again, that isn’t a guarantee that every team will buy in or that this will guarantee a competitive advantage. It’s also not a guarantee that it won’t either.
Here’s more from Mr. Lurie.
"If you study the batting averages in free agency and the Draft, it’s not real good in the NFL. It’s just not, and I think we’re about to enter a phase where there’s an opportunity to really up that. So, when you have a first round where it’s really just a shade over a 50 percent [success] rate and then it goes way down from there, you’ve got to try to look at the big picture and do something about it. I think we’re in a great situation to be able to do that."
Ladies and gentlemen, it appears that the game has changed once again.