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NFL unveils new on-screen graphics, providing insight driven by AI/ML

By 10th September 2020 No Comments

The six new insights will be unveiled during the Houston Texans v Kansas City Chiefs match today (10 September).

The National Football League (NFL) is working with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to add six on-screen graphics, providing additional insight to the game.

These will be debuted during the season kickoff game between the Houston Texans and the Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs today (10 September).

The new advanced stats will appear in live broadcasts and online throughout the 2020 season, offering fans a better understanding of the players’ actions and overall gameplay.

The new insights include the expected yards a team will gain on a rush; and the probability a team will win a game.

The data for the graphics comes from a combination of the on-field action (including data from sensors in players’ gear and game balls, as well as reference points throughout NFL stadiums) and artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning (ML) analysis.

The NFL has used AWS compute technology for its ‘Next Gen Stats’ platform (pictured above) since 2015. The stats use more than 300 million data points collected each season to generate compelling new content.

The new Next Gen Stats powered by AWS for the 2020 NFL Season are:
Expected Rush Yards Helps showcase the speed, elusiveness, and abilities of running backs by predicting how many yards a rusher is likely to gain with the ball upon handoff. A team of independent data scientists created the algorithm that powers the stat during the 2020 Big Data Bowl, the NFL’s annual sports analytics contest.
Route Classification Automatically identifies in real time the route a player runs on a pass play – go, post, or out – providing the groundwork for a new understanding of offensive strategy and tendencies, while also delivering metrics to rank the performance of individual players, team offenses, and team defenses by route.
Expected Points Calculates the likelihood of either team scoring next and by what means (i.e., touchdown, field goal, and safety), enabling analysts, coaches, and fans to quantify the impact of an individual play on helping a team score.
Win Probability Assigns a win likelihood percentage to each team—adjusted in real time throughout the game—to identify changes in momentum and the plays that are most likely to impact game outcome.
Expected Yards After Catch (xYAC) Predicts how far a receiver is likely to gain with the ball upon completing a catch. Similar to Expected Rush Yards, this stat helps identify how receivers are able to improvise and elude defenders to gain yards after receiving the ball.
Field Goal Probability Quantifies the likelihood of a team scoring a field goal given the distance of the kick and weather conditions.

Matt Swensson, vice president, emerging products and technology at the NFL, said: “This season’s Next Gen Stats powered by AWS represent the NFL’s continued investment in cloud technology to improve not only the fan experience for millions of people around the world, but also the way the game is played. Our partnership with AWS and the use of machine learning have enabled our fans to better understand the remarkable performance of the athletes on the field. They have also uncovered opportunities for NFL teams to use this data to improve their performance by breaking down the action in new ways and analysing plays at a deeper level after the game.”

Greg Pearson, vice president, worldwide commercial sales at AWS, added: “AWS is proud to continue its partnership with the NFL to bring engaging data to life through Next Gen Stats and enhance the football experience for everyone in the NFL community – fans, players, coaches, broadcasters, and more. In the 2020 season, we’re going to expand on the already compelling set of Next Gen Stats to underscore the talent on the field and help people better understand and appreciate the strategic decisions needed to be made and the incredible athletic feats on the field.”

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