The NFL is outfitting every player with movement-tracking, data-rich sensors this season

How fast is your favorite player going?
How fast is your favorite player going?
Image: Reuters/Chris Humphreys
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They’ll be too small to notice, but the sensors attached to players in the 2015 football season will certainly shake up the sport. The NFL is set to make each player that much “smarter” this year.

Starting with season opener of the New England Patriots against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday (Sept. 10), movement-tracking sensors will be embedded on each football player’s shoulder pad that can wirelessly emit unique radio frequencies.

These devices will generate an enormous amount of real-time usable statistics, and could dramatically change the way fans and teams watch and analyze games, who will now be able to see just how fast a player is running, his position, and the distance he travelled. The NFL has partnered up with RFID tracking company Zebra to equip every stadium with 20 receivers, CIO reports.

Fans will be able to easily access the latest stats for each player and highlight clips on the NFL app. The data will also help coaching staff better monitor their players’ performance—though the technology will only be available for post-game evaluations at the moment.

This isn’t the first brave new leap into technology for US sports this year. In January, GoPro announced a partnership with the NHL that could be the start of the next big thing in live sports broadcasting.