Vikings go Virtual
Taking game film to a whole new, 360-degree level
Watching film is an incredibly useful tool at all levels of football, but with so much on the line in the NFL, it’s only natural that next level technology would be implemented to gain any sliver of an advantage. With former NFL quarterback Trent Edwards teaming with fellow Stanford alumni to create, build, and utilize that next level, the future of watching film is going to be much different.
Edwards, teamed with former Cardinal kicker Derek Belch, and in conjunction with professor Jeremy Bailenson from Stanford University’s world-renowned Virtual Human Interaction Lab to create STRIVR, a virtual reality technology company that provides cutting-edge training solutions to sports teams providing professional, college, and high school teams with a virtual reality platform that is highly customized, technologically innovative, and superior in quality to any other offering available.
STRIVR offers full 360-degree views from strategically placed cameras on the field and players helmets.Teams can later put on virtual reality headsets and analyze in real time the sights and sounds from the field level.
“It’s been amazing so far,” Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater told the Minneapolis StarTribune, “I feel like it speeds up the learning process. To be able to go back and instead of just watching the film and critiquing yourself, you get to actually practice those reps. It feels like their live.”
The Minnesota Vikings are among four teams using this technology in training camp, with many more inquiring about implementing this technology in the near future.
Stanford spent the 2014 season as guinea pigs for STRIVR as Belch, a then assistant coach for the Cardinal, convinced head coach David Shaw to be a tester for the project. The project worked so well, Shaw convinced Belch to give up coaching to pursue the expansion of the company, even being an investor in the company’s start up.
“This is really cool,” Shaw stated to USA Today earlier this month. “This is something that could inspire people. This is gonna change my profession, this is something that is gonna change, potentially, athletics to some degree. At the very least, four or five different sports are gonna be different four or five years from now be because of this.”
In addition to Minnesota and Stanford, the Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers, and New England Patriots have all enlisted STRIVR’s services to use in their facilities, as well as big time college programs like Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, and Vanderbilt.
As technology improves, and with realtime feedback from the field, it is very conceivable that this is the new reality in the film room.