University of Toronto students have won the NFL’s Big Data Bowl by developing a tool that tracks and measures the pressure a quarterback faces when they have the ball in the pocket.
The students won $20,000 for their efforts.
Their technology, which is essentially a heat map, can easily be adapted for use in a broadcast setting, but it could also be a valuable tool for teams and their analytics departments.
The trio hopes that on TV, viewers will be able to see how pressure evolves over the course of a play, live on a visual heat map.
They also developed two metrics of pocket life expectancy, which will allow teams to evaluate how well their team is capable of protecting their quarterback as well as scouting other teams.
The team’s process aimed to fill a gap in measuring pressure in football, which they found was not being sufficiently quantified.
They participated in the NFL Big Data Bowl competition alongside teams from all over the world, including Japan and the United States.