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SmashMouth 07-19-2013 07:49 AM

Google Glass and the NFL
Ever since Google revealed its first Google Glass concept, many have wondered how the technology could fit into a number of different fields. Well, now that the thing is actually out and about some folks are beginning to explore just how useful Glass could be. One such use brought up by ESPN could be outfitting helmets with Glass-like technology that might help a player review practice footage from a different angle, give viewers a unique angle on a replay, or even having the coach send prompts to players while they’re out on the field.

While that last one might be a bit too much (no one wants to be distracted by apps when there are 350-pound men coming their way), it’s still yet another interesting take on this exciting new technology. ESPN actually visited the St. Louis Rams, a franchise said to be known for its willingness to try out cutting edge technology. Quarterback Sam Bradford and rookie wide receiver Tavon Austin gave the units a try, using them to record video as they ran through some quick passing patterns with each other.

Rams general manager Les Snead was also on-hand to give the unit a try, and chimed in with his own 2 cents:

That view of Sam [Bradford] and what he’s looking at, it’s going to help the quarterback, and all people involved, go ‘hey, this is what I saw.’

It certainly would be an invaluable tool for quarterbacks, who often study quick polaroids of matchups and coverages following each drive (especially if that drive culminates with an interception), and get deep into film following game day.

It’s tough to say whether or not this technology will ever break into the NFL, but it’s possible. It was probably insane to suggest certain players be hooked up with small microphones to record their audio during games 20 years ago, but as we’ve seen in various NFL Films-produced videos it certainly has become the norm. More unique challenges stand in the way of something like Glass being embedded in helmets:

Player vision is already obstructed by facemasks and visors, so the idea of putting something else in their line of sight would probably be shut down.
If it would be a purely video-based solution, it has to be done in a way that doesn’t cause harm to the unit on impact. You could embed the sensor into the helmet in a way that it could withstand a fair amount of shock, but then you’d have to figure out how to do that while still making the helmet comfortable for players to wear.
Still, those issues don’t completely rule out the possibility of something like Glass gaining steam in the NFL, and many other sports for that matter. Whether it be something as simple as practice drills or as intense as providing live game-day footage from a players’ perspective, I would definitely applaud whichever team decides it wants to be the first to give this thing a try.

This is how Google Glass in the NFL could work

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