The National Football League has ventured into a new field i.e. data analytics. It has launched the NFL Big Data Bowl, where professionals and college students get access to historical data sets of various players to suggest newer innovations in the way football is coached and played.
The finalists of the contest will be able to present their findings to the 2019 Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana where they will suggest the ways to develop on-field strategies by accessing NFL player data and analyzing league trends.
Participants who want to sign up for this competition can do so via ops.nfl.com/big-data-bowl in any one of the two categories i.e. a student (undergraduates and graduates) and an open division for participants (people not in higher education). Once you register, you will receive an email stating the details of how to get the data to start your submissions.
The participants will get historical data of traditional and player tracking stats which they can use to rethink how the game should be strategized and played. They will also get Next Gen Stats which is the real-time data of speed, locations, and acceleration for every player in the team. On field sensors too will help in the collection of this data by tracking the tags that are placed in the player’s shoulder pads, giving accurate data of movement within inches.
Damani Leech, the NFL’s Senior Vice President of Football Strategy and Business Development mentioned that “As the sports analytics community continues to expand and progress, we are excited to host an analytics competition focusing on creative and innovative ways to approach and use football data.” “The NFL and its clubs use of football analytics continues to grow and focusing the competition on college students and young professionals allows us to hear from the next generation of young minds that will help shape the industry in the years to come.”
The submissions for the NFL Big Data Bowl come in three categories which include identifying the best Receiver Route Combinations, proposing a rule change and understanding the on-field speed.
This competition is the latest in the ways for the NFL to advance the game using engineering and data science. This has also been the first and future Super Bowl Pitch competition, to encourage innovation in the performance and safety of the athletes. In the NFL Punt Analytics competition, the NFL for the first time has also given access to data sets where participants can make submissions about rule changes to ensure that there are no player injuries during punt plays.
Four finalists each of both of the categories of the Big Data Bowl will have the chance to go to Indianapolis to show their work on 27th Feb Wednesday 2019 at the JW Marriot hotel in Indianapolis. They can do so with a 5-minute presentation to a judging panel consisting of NFL members, industry-leading reps and club personnel. Further, there will be an open forum where the participants can be quizzed about their findings.
The winners of the contest will get four tickets to any regular-season game along with a $1000 gift certificate from NFLshop.com.