When it comes to professional sports, advanced metrics are all the rage. The NFL is taking a step in embracing this by introducing location-aware RFID sensors in 17 stadiums for the 2014 season.
Players will wear RFID chips under their shoulder pads during Thursday Night Football games at these stadiums in 2014 that will allow the NFL and their technology partner, Zebra Technologies, to record and present statistics never before possible. The list of stadiums reportedly includes Denver's Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
Zebra has dubbed their technology "Real Time Location System (RLTS) for sports." The system could be used to track anything from a player's acceleration and total distance run to the amount of separation a wide receiver gets and the velocity of a linebacker at the time of impact.
At launch, MotionWorks will be used to augment television broadcasts and provide fans with statistics previously unavailable even to teams and coaches. Missed blocks and turnovers (like butt-fumbles) will not simply be understood "missed assignments," but be broken down by way of spatially oriented statistics that show fans who screwed up and where
In 2015 and beyond, assuming the experiment goes well, we could see an evolution in statistical gathering and player analysis. How fast does Von Miller accelerate when leaping for a pass or taking down a quarterback? How fast does Free Agent X perform in similar situations? Technology is about to change the way we scout the NFL.
(H/T to Porter Bayne for the tip.)
Broncos training camp
Ryan Clady was the talk of Broncos camp on Day Eight, admitting that he still has soreness in his Lisfranc-sprained foot from time to time and is hoping to be completely healthy by Week One (a phrase we Broncos fans are hearing from a lot of players lately).
Refs met with Broncos players Thursday to go over the NFL's points of emphasis in 2014, mostly surrounding Seattle's Legion of Boom and defensive holding. The Denver Post has a nice rundown of 2014 rule changes.
Defensive tackle Marvin Austin gave high praise to the Broncos' training staff. "I think the Broncos’ organization takes care of players better than any organization I’ve been to, as far as the strength and conditioning coaches," Austin told DenverBroncos.com's Andrew Mason. "The whole training staff and how they take care of their players and make sure everybody, whether you’re the first guy on the roster or No. 87 or however many guys we’ve got, they make sure everybody’s ready to go for practice. It’s not like that everywhere."
Cecil Lammey lists Duke Ihenacho and Tony Carter among his possible veteran Broncos camp casualties.
The Broncos will host 50 military members and families in a "military combine" before the summer scrimmage on Saturday.
Emmanuel Sanders is relishing the extra time he spends with Peyton Manning after practice. Sanders recently caught some flak for his comments comparing Manning to his old quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, saying Manning is a better leader. Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown predictably came to his QB's defense.
Julius Thomas is looking to improve upon his Pro Bowl year in 2013.
Ronnie Hillman is talking the talk. Let's see if he walks the walk.
NFL.com gives us an almost-good Broncos video, if it wasn't for the groan-worthy pronunciation, where no one pronounces Montee Ball's name correctly (it's "Montay Ball", if you didn't know), and Lorenza Nail calls him "Bell."
Von Miller is tied with Aldon Smith as the top-rated outside linebacker in Madden 15 with a 96 overall, 94 acceleration and 97 Finesse Move.
Peyton Manning is a Country Boy, despite his proper New Orleans upbringing, and bought his offensive linemen custom cowboy boots.
Around the NFL
FiveThirtyEight compares datasets from USA Today's NFL player arrest database and the justice department to analyze the rate of domestic violence arrests (and all arrests) among NFL players against the general population. While this is a fascinating analysis, I wonder if it includes players who have been out of the league less than five years. My assumption is the propensity for violent arrests would increase as these players find themselves out of high-paying NFL jobs.
On the far other end of the "fascinating analysis" spectrum, PFT Commenter drank a Mad Dog 20/20 and passed the NFL conditioning test, something a sober Marcell Dareus couldn't do.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame is considering extending its senior candidate pool each year to include a Contributor category, which would give Denver's Pat Bowlen an extra likelihood of enshrinement.
Last but not least
Via Broncos reddit, here's a nice little graphic for you to print out (or better yet, embroider) and hang on your kitchen wall. Your wife will love it, I promise.