It’s that time of the year. After a long season, the Super Bowl is almost here. Businesses are using AI to help address challenges in the business world, like the recession. Though what are the implications of using it in football?

Similar to businesses using AI to improve customer experience and growth for their company, the NFL is doing the same thing. In 2019, the NFL began a partnership with AWS to weaponize its treasure trove of data and use the power of AI and machine learning to improve the fan and player experience and a better understanding of every part of the game.

Here are ten ways that the NFL is implementing AI:

  1. Game prep: AI-driven platforms study opposing teams’ game tape and player stats. This analysis helps coaches prepare an effective game plan to defeat the opposing team by predicting what opposing players will do.
  2. Player performance: AI systems study an individual player’s performance to help predict one’s strengths and weaknesses and make strategic decisions about each player’s value to the team.
  3. Injury prevention: AI platforms can analyze players’ biomechanics and movement patterns to help predict injury risk factors and take actions to prevent them.
  4. Review the ref’s decision: Refs are humans and make mistakes that can sometimes negatively impact the game. AI can quickly review footage through instant replay to make more accurate decisions.
  5. Simulate games: AI platforms can construct realistic game scenarios that allow teams to develop precise strategies to defeat the opposition.
  6. Fan and media interactions: AI chatbots can personalize content about one’s favorite teams and players.
  7. Scouting and recruiting: AI can help analyze player stats and game footage to help predict how players will perform and help better secure solid draft prospects.
  8. Game strategy: Coaches can use AI during a game to help determine the next best course of action with play calling – like whether to kick a field goal or go for it on fourth down.
  9. Wearable devices: Smart clothing with GPS, tracking sensors, and RFID tags where every data point of a player’s movement patterns is analyzed.
  10. Monitor player’s health: AI can help predict the best course of treatment to optimize performance.

What’s different than in years past is that the NFL and its 32 teams have massive amounts of data. AI platforms allow these teams to analyze data quickly and accurately, much more than any human or group of humans can. 

The benefits of investing in AI in the NFL can provide a massive ROI for teams looking to gain a competitive edge. AI investments have become commonplace in the last few years, with teams using it to help with various tasks – player performance analysis, predicting injury propensities, game strategies, improving the fan experience, and reviewing referees’ decisions.

There’s a famous saying, ‘If you’re not changing, you’re dying.’ It wasn’t that long ago when the NFL would celebrate big hits with ESPN’s Jacked Up segment. Now, that’s not the case, as the NFL has concussion protocols, as we know the dangers of head trauma that cause CTE, leading to premature deaths of retired NFL players. The NFL is a constantly evolving juggernaut, continually seeking improvements to gain that competitive edge. As the popularity of AI grows and efficiencies improve, this forever will be part of the NFL’s future.