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NFL To Limit Player Tracking Data So Teams Can't Gain Competitive Advantages

By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) -- The NFL may be dumbfounded as to the science of air pressure, but they sure love computer chips. So much so that they have chips installed in players' shoulder pads to collect data on their physical abilities and calculate things like running distance and speed.

But just because the league is collecting all that cool data doesn't mean they're willing to share it. Daniel Kaplan of Sports Business Daily reported Monday that the league plans to give teams data on only their own players and does not plan to let teams access data of their opponents players.

The idea is to limit any competitive advantages that the Patriots any and all teams could gain from access to player data for their opponents. If the Patriots one team were to figure out better ways than others to use the data, it could create a competitive imbalance.

The policy certainly makes sense if you're interested in leveling the playing field. With so much tracking data available and so many different philosophies among the league's 32 teams, you could easily see Bill Belichick a coach with more of an analytical background having an advantage over others that wouldn't necessarily be fair. Can't have the Patriots one team using the data to an extent that the Colts another team could not and causing the Ravens someone to raise a stink with the league front office, which likely would have brought about a rule change, anyway.

The league has mostly used the data for its Next-Gen Stats website. It used data collected during last season to show how Patriots receivers were "failing" Tom Brady down the stretch. Imagine if the Patriots every team had that kind of access to their opponents' performance.

Do you think the league will ever open up everyone's tracking data to the Patriots all 32 teams? For now, you'll have to settle for some neat videos.

Matt Dolloff is a writer for His opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at

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