Patriots get in on the virtual reality action

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The jokes will write themselves. But we’ll still perhaps write one or two of them.

The Patriots have joined the virtual reality craze. To the extent that four of 32 NFL teams constitutes a craze. (Now that the Patriots have embraced it, a true craze it soon will be.)

According to Shira Springer of the Boston Globe, the Patriots and coach Bill Belichick will be using the technologies of STRIVR Labs, which employs real video shot through a 360-degree camera to assist with training.

The Cowboys and 49ers previously joined forces with STRIVR Labs, and the Buccaneers will use the competing system from EON Sports VR, which uses video-game images.

During an appearance earlier this week on PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio, STRIVR Labs founder Derek Belch said that the technology isn’t simply for quarterbacks, and that it’s being used by other positions, too. Belch also explained that different team will be using the technology differently.

For the Patriots, it could be used to hone the skills of quarterback Tom Brady, possibly with footballs of varying air pressure. (Joke No. 1.) Or it could be used to help running backs better anticipate hits to ensure ball security, since they’ll no longer be gripping underinflated balls. (Joke No. 2.)

With reduced reps in the offseason and training camp, the Patriots could embrace virtual reality at multiple positions, in order to give players more chances to process practice speed without being exposed to practice.

Or maybe they’ll simply be accused by the Boston Herald of secretly installing one of the virtual reality cameras on the helmet of an opposing team prior to the final walk-through practice of a prior Super Bowl only two days before another Super Bowl appearance. (Joke No. 3, aimed not directly at the Patriots in order to reduce some of the Twit-bitching that the first two will provoke.)

Regardless, the decision of one of the most accomplished franchises in sports to use this new technology means that other teams will soon be using it, too. And that other teams will find a way to complain to the league office about the way the Patriots are using the technology, because the Patriots inevitably will figure out a better way to use the technology than any other team can. (Joke No. 4, and now all is truly forgiven.)

44 responses to “Patriots get in on the virtual reality action

  1. I bet Bill will be able to integrate footage from the opponents’ practices so the Pats can actual prepare for the plays that will be run.

  2. And Grigson has already sent an email to the NFL front office demanding this tactic by the Pats be investigated, LOL!

  3. The real game has gotten too easy for Brady and Belichick. First time out in the simulator, they’ll probably dial up a game against the ’85 Bears, ’62 Packers, and a legion of Uruk-hai commanded by Tom Landry.

  4. I am surprised that the Greatest NFL Dynasty ever, the New England Patriots, may have actually been behind a few teams in implementing this technology.

  5. If the Pats are doing it, and it’s not against the rules now, you can bet that there WILL be a rule against it this time next year after John Harbaugh is done whining about it.

  6. It will be very interesting if they combine this tech, with the drone video tech. A whole new way to dissect game film. Granted this will not be available until the NFL rules on what and when drones can be used, or if TV starts using drones during broadcasts.

    That said, the version that the Bucs are using may actually be more useful. Since it is game elements instead of real vid, being able to set up situations for the player, and have them see what that may actually look like in a game is pretty powerful stuff.

  7. All joking aside, how valuable can VR be? Scouting and film breakdowns have been around the pro game since Paul Brown and needless to say have been boons for gameday preparation, but incorporating simulations in practice for a game as unpredictable as pro football just seems like folly. I could see it being useful for injured players – most teams but especially NE take their time getting them back on the field – as a sort of “mental conditioning”, but even then there’s no substitute for game contact/speed.

  8. Meanwhile at 345 Park Avenue, Goodell has the minions exploring the creation of an alternate reality where he is respected and prevail can prevail in court.

  9. virtual reality and drones…. dangerous to put in their hands.

    I wonder how much additional staff the NFL will have to hire to force compliance from this franchise. Clearly, they can’t be trusted to color within the lines…

  10. I ran the 2008 game with the Patriots and Steelers this time with Tom Brady in there. His lack of mobility made things even worse, as Harrison and Woodley were abusing the Pats o-line all day. This time there were 9 sacks on duck-foot Tom, and the final score was even worse: Steelers 45, Patriots 3. It proved my point.

  11. This way they can look out and see no tarnish. #defend the whine #kiss your own taint-ed rings

  12. The use of this technology has not even been defined yet or proven and already Belichick is in people’s heads. He doesn’t even have to do anything, just let the rumor spread that he is! Love it!

  13. Just wait till Goodell embraces it. All games will be played virtually. He will then be able to claim he has resolved the concussion issue and created parity simultaneously (of course he will select all SB winners). He will also insist that he be inserted into games so that he can make himself eligible for things he will never get e.g., Superbowl, MVP, HoF.

  14. Then when drones will be allowed with their pin point accuracy, Brady will be accused of deflating and reinflating balls between referee touches from 50,000 feet. Even intercepted balls will be reinflated before the Colts equipment manager will be able to measure the pressure.
    Can you imagine what a Wells report will look like then?

  15. Brady and the patriots are already spying on teams on their schedule. Brady’s a joke. Now he wants to pay his way back on the field, but still wants to come out smelling like roses. Hey! If a skunk wins a SB does it cover up the STINK?

  16. Makes sense.

    Their fans have been living in a virtual reality world for well over a decade.

    You know, the entire time their team has cheated and they’ve pretended otherwise.

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