Jun 26 2014

NFL Teams Explore New Helmet-Camera Technology to Improve Gameplay

The Pittsburgh Steelers are among the latest football teams to test helmets with built-in camera technology.

There’s been a lot of buzz in the NFL about helmets recently, but that’s largely centered on the debate about their effectiveness in preventing concussions.

However, new helmet technology SchuttVision, by Sports Video Innovations, could unlock previously untapped insights and strategies for NFL teams. SchuttVision is a helmet equipped with a high-definition video system that’s capable of recording game play from the player’s POV. This gives coaching staff a different perspective, since they’re able to (almost) get inside the player’s head and experience the game from his point of view.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have been testing the device in their spring practices, according to a report from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. So far, the coaching staff has been impressed with the insights gained from the helmet video footage.

“You can identify the fronts and when we are pointing out (middle linebackers) and stuff like that because usually the eyes are looking where he's pointing,” Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley said. “You can see the direction the head is at the snap. It's interesting technology. It's a neat concept. We haven't done a whole bunch with it, but the technology is phenomenal. If not for anything else, it forces the player that has it on to be on his P's and Q's.”

SchuttVision, unveiled in January, is being used by 33 NFL or NCAA teams. But there’s no word on when or if the technology will be rolled out broadly and used regularly.

Watch SchuttVision footage from University of Miami quarterback Ryan Williams

The inventor of SchuttVision, JR Liverman, believes the helmet cameras could be of value for the networks that broadcast NFL games, since the cameras could allow viewers to watch the game unfold from the player’s POV as it happens.

“This is something that networks want in their broadcasts,” Liverman said. “I don't have a crystal ball in knowing when that will happen. I absolutely believe that this will be integrated into the broadcasts on all levels of football over the next years.”

Besides talk of gathering video footage, there’s been plenty of talk around adding sensor technology to helmets in general in the NFL. So it's safe to say that helmet is on the fast track to offering more value than just ensuring safety for the league.

Ryan Dingman/Flickr

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