On a list of technological innovations, the NFL would rank pretty high. The league has been doing quite well lately regarding technology and innovation.
With technological advances, the nature of football has changed from a game of strategy and brute physical strength to one that focuses more on the minds of its players. Below are technological innovations that changed NFL matchups for the better.
New helmet technology is the most crucial part of the game. It has changed the way players play football. It allows them to have a better view of what's going on around them and make more precise decisions.
For example, in 2015, quarterback Andrew Luck threw for 4,761 yards and 35 touchdowns with seven interceptions while wearing his custom-made helmet. He was able to see everything that was going on around him on a much larger scale than he ever had before.
This made him a better quarterback overall because he could make more accurate throws with better vision.
The NFL has also been working towards making helmets safer by reducing concussions caused by injury or impact on the head when someone is hit hard enough that their brain hits their skull at high speeds.
FieldTurf is a patented field turf system built with the same material used in NFL football fields. FieldTurf has been installed on millions of square feet of sports fields since 1989, including the Superdome in New Orleans and several NFL stadiums.
FieldTurf's proprietary fiber technology allows it to produce a more uniform playing surface than other synthetic turf systems. The company says its FieldTurf product is "the best performing, longest lasting and most reliable artificial grass for recreational and commercial settings."
Today, more than half of NFL stadiums have fully synthetic playing surfaces.
The NFL pioneered instant replay in 1979 when it implemented a rule that allowed officials to review specific illegal-contact penalties. That same year, it added camera angles to its TV broadcasts, which allowed viewers to see what the referees saw on the field.
In 1983, the NFL instituted "cameras under the goalposts" so coaches could watch how plays developed from their sidelines. In 1989, it began televising preseason games on cable and satellite networks, and in 1994 began showing live preseason games to national audiences on ESPN.
Instant replay has been used chiefly for defensive pass interference calls, but it's also been used for other situations such as turnovers and whether a player was down during a play.
The first significant helmet innovation came in 1993 when the NFL mandated that all players wear a mouthpiece with a microphone to help officials hear plays and rule on them. The mics were placed under the chin strap and across from each ear.
The idea was to allow officials to listen to calls from the players' mouths rather than relying solely on what they saw on TV.
In 2005, the NFL approved receivers to wear microphones as well. This allowed coaches and players to talk to one another without having to shout over the noise of the crowd or stadium speakers.
It also enabled receivers to hear why they were called for penalties as opposed to guessing.
The audio system also provides a safety net for players experiencing symptoms from a concussion or other injury. The audio system allows doctors and trainers to hear what is happening with each player on the field without walking onto it.
This allows them to ensure that if a player is experiencing symptoms such as confusion, dizziness, or even vomiting, they can take immediate action by contacting medical personnel before making a diagnosis.
Football stadiums have been the home of video scoreboards for decades. They are large and powerful, showing various images and data on their screens.
Today's video scoreboards have evolved from the single-image boards that were first used in the 1960s. The image was usually of a player or coach wearing a helmet and uniform.
In recent years, stadiums have added more information to their screens, including statistics about individual players on their teams and team standings.
But some of the most significant innovations have come through technological improvements. The NFL is always looking to the past, but they are looking toward the future. We'll see more game-changing innovations in the years to come.