NFL and Technology: Advances for the Players and the League


by Cam Manning

Many people are in awe of athletes and their physical capabilities. Many wonder how athletes perform at such a high level. With the ever-evolving technology, data and analytics have been a huge part of the story when it comes to measuring peak athletic performance. 

The NFL is no different and has extended its partnership with Zebra Technologies through the 2025 season. Zebra Technologies serves as the official real-time location solutions provider of the NFL. Since 2015, Zebra has worked with the NFL to garner data around player and ball tracking to ensure real-time analysis of players’ performance. 

Not only does it enhance the fan experience by being able to see how fast someone ran a route or the catch probability on a difficult throw. It is also vital for coaches to assess player performance to better prepare for games. The NFL also uses it to study the impact of rule changes better and monitor player safety and injuries. 

NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent stated that the “accuracy and latency of Zebra technologies is second to none and that is critical for us real-time, especially on game day, and now we talk about the future of football we have to figure how data and analytics to influence the future of our game.” 

Zebra Technologies is also responsible for enhancing the fan experience with Next Gen Stats, where fans can access data on their favorite players and teams and see the game differently. Using sensors in both the footballs and pads of the players using RFID tag technology, everyone can get stats and data in real time. 

“It really comes down to making sure the NFL has data they can use to optimize the game. It’s the world’s greatest game; how can we find data to enhance it even further,” Senior Vice President of Integrated Marketing and Channels Rob Armstrong said on the role of Zebra Technologies with the NFL. 

Zebra will continue to track every regular season, domestic and internationally, along with pre-and post-season games, plus the NFL Combine and NFL International Combine.