Since I promise nerdy stuff from time to time (I think I have to since it’s part of the domain name…), I thought I’d share my thoughts on something that I learned about a year or two ago:
Cards on the table: I am a sports junkie. I eat/breathe/sleep sports, both collegiate (Go UCF Knights!) and professional (yes, I am terrified of the Heat losing to the Pacers). More importantly, my addiction goes as deep as to watch the NFL Scouting Combine every year. This is the beauty pageant of the sports world, where grown muscular men are measured, weighed and evaluated by other grown men who determine if they will fit their team’s needs.
Cam Newton: Property of Stark Industries
In the 2011 Combine, Under Armour rolled out a new piece of technology that they tested out on a few prospects, including eventual #1 overall pick, Cam Newton. The compression shirt he wore had a sensor on it that resembled Tony Stark’s arc reactor in the “Iron Man” comic books. From what I was told at the time, it was to measure what was once immeasurable in real time. We’re talking about things like heart rate broken down by yardage when running a 40-yard dash and breathing patterns during cone drills. All the data was then saved onto a 2 GB hard drive for further study.
The E39, as it became named, was yet another way for scouts to find out more invasive athletic information without actually BEING invasive. Personally, I don”t need to know if a player’s heart rate increases a X amount of beats per minute within five yards of the line of scrimmage. However, I can see this being important for an Offensive Coordinator, who is looking at a wide receiver prospect and wants to make sure they have an initial burst at the line, as opposed to needing those yards to ramp things up (a-la Ted Ginn, Jr. and his family…I’m still bitter, Cam Cameron!). Here’s a video explaining the E39 a little bit better:
The cost of this bad boy makes it obvious that it’s meant for professional athletes, as Under Armour has put the E39 in the $700 range. I guess when you’re the sure-thing first round pick that Cam Newton was, your agent can foot the bill until he signs that contract. I’m curious to see if these find their way onto college campuses. I can see the E39 being useful in offseason conditioning or even spring drills.
However, it could open up pandora’s box, since college athletics programs usually have apparel sponsors (Nike, adidas, Russell Athletics). The last thing the college football world needs (you know…aside from the BCS…) is a technology advantage for Under Armour-sponsored schools (Maryland, Auburn and the loathed University of South Florida).
So what do you think? Is this useful data or just another shiny toy for soon-to-be millionaires to bring home as “swag?”