Top Ways Technology Will Change the Face of Football

Here at Silicon Beach, we're always fascinated by the little ways technology tries to creep into our everyday lives. From the graphics in our retro video games to high tech ways to cheat, we're observing it all and basking in the glory of new technology, much like a kid in a candy store. The latest? Technology is changing the face of football and the NFL -- and more importantly, our Miami Dolphins.

While admitting that this humble little blogger isn't the #1 fan of the game, I still see what's going on: Just tossing a ball around outside with a few friends has morphed into a full-blown high tech experience. So we decided to count down the best ways we think technology will soon change the face of American football. Check 'em out after the jump.

FanVision Hand-Held Devices
The Dolphins were actually the first NFL team to bring this perk to fans. If you haven't been to a Fins game in a while because you feel that you can see all of the action better from your HDTV than in nosebleed seats, they now have a new incentive for you: FanVision. It's a portable hand-held device with an HD compatible 4.3" LCD screen, and complimentary to all Dolphins Season Ticket holders. Through the device you can access live video feeds, replays, highlights, angle cams to zoom in on the action, behind-the-scenes audio feeds, and scorecards updated in real-time. It can even be used anywhere on the premises, even while tailgating from the parking lot.

DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket Package
If staying in with your TV is more your thing, you can catch all of the NFL action high tech style with the NFL Sunday Ticket Package being offered by DirecTV. With it, you can catch every NFL game every Sunday in HD and watch up to eight games on one screen with Game Mix. Talk about a full-on NFL experience. On top of that, you can have access to the Red Zone Channel, Short Cuts

(to catch replays of entire games in 30 minutes), player tracker, NFL

scores, and too much more to mention, really. You can even watch NFL Sunday Ticket To-Go for free if you're a DirecTV subscriber from your smartphone or computer.

Watching Football in 3D
Now we're not sure how realistic this is, as you'd need to invest in a 3D Ready TV, but once that's in place, you can have footballs and players flying at your face in no time. After that, all you need are 3D glasses, and a 3D ready set top box with an ESPN 3D Service, but it's all worth it to feel like you're hangin' with the team, right? Right now you can only catch College Football, NBA, College Basketball, and the Winter X Games, but we're guessing NFL games aren't too far behind.

Technological Advancements on the Field

The inside of a Xenith helmet
Helmets that Detect a Concussion
Too many times have players suffered a concussion on the field and not known it until it got much worse. Players have suffered memory loss, balance problems, and overall not being ready to play after injury, but still getting a physician's go-ahead. Last fall the NFL implemented new rules requiring players who suffer from head trauma to get permission from a neurologist before getting back in the game. But diagnosing brain trauma accurately isn't easy. Several companies -- among them Xenith and BrainScope -- are currently working on football helmets with sensors that can detect brain injury and concussions. One high school has actually started using helmets with sensors that detect major injury and alert the medical team, letting them know where the injury is and how bad it is. It goes straight to their laptops and beepers in 10 seconds time, thanks to a Head Impact Telemetry System (HITS).

Solar Power on Shoulder Pads
Another uniform adjustment could mean big things for our environment: Embracing solar power on shoulder pads. If all of the NFL's sports teams implemented this adjustment, it would reduce carbon emissions comparable to taking 8,340 cars off the road, create enough electricity to power about 4,800 American homes for a year, and save about 33,970 barrels of crude oil a year. The NFL -- along with MLB, NBA, NHL, and MLS -- put out a letter that encouraged teams to begin using this solar power technology to "go green" in professional sports. They distributed solar development guides produced by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF) that outlined what work would be needed for each stadium to add these on-site solar power generations. Though we still haven't seen this technology put into play, we can't help but hope that they'll start taking more steps toward making the teaming up of technology and football a positive one.

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Christine Borges