On Sunday, over 100 million people are expected to tune in to CBS for Super Bowl 50, to be played between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos.
But according to San Francisco 49ers football legend Joe Montana and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, there’s one big thing that none of those hundreds of millions of NFL fans have ever experienced, in the entire history of the sport.
“One of the things you can’t see on the field is what the quarterback is actually looking at,” Montana says, speaking at a “Future of the NFL” panel attended by the NFL and Microsoft. “There’s just no experience like it.”
No matter how closely you watch the broadcast, or how good your binoculars are from stadium seats, Montana says, you’re never going to fully understand exactly the massive amount of information a quarterback sees, in between getting the ball and throwing it to a receiver.
“If you could ever put a fan in that position, it would completely open their eyes to what professional football is,” Brees agrees.
Now, the two football stars say, the opportunity to let fans in on that secret is here, thanks to the NFL’s partnership with Microsoft and the technology that that joint deal brings to the table.
NFL players across all 32 teams are getting outfitted with sensors that track a huge amount of data, feeding it back to the coaching staff. Combine that data with live-streaming video from the player’s helmet, alongside virtual reality or Microsoft’s own HoloLens augmented reality technology, and you can get inside the quarterback’s head.
Business InsiderFormer San Francisco 49ers QB Joe Montana
It would give fans a new appreciation for the skill developed by a quarterback required to keep track of everything that happens on the field at once, Brees says.
“If you can give that fan the experience of being on the field on a Sunday afternoon,” Montana says, it would change how they see the sport.
Nowadays, Brees says, fans often either complain about a quarterback making a certain play, or else marvel that they were able to see some small movement from the corner of their eye. With this technology, fans could live each play from Brees’ perspective, and understand why he does what he does — not to mention letting fans experience each big hit.
“Obviously I have the best seat in the house,” Brees says.
Brees also says that the tech to do all this is mostly here. The real challenge, he says, is to figure out “the way to do it without taking away some kind of competitive advantage” to the other team.