The NFL has taken steps to make football more technologically advanced. Sure, Microsoft Surface tablets have been met with mixed reviews on the sidelines (just ask Aaron Rodgers and Johnny Manziel), but there have been advances in technology that can help diagnose and analyze injuries, particularly ones to the head.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are experimenting with a new kind of tool on the practice field: robots. "MVP," or Mobile Virtual Player, as it’s called, is a robotic tackling dummy that’s remote-control operated. It flies all over the field and simulates a real football player. It moves at an accurate speed, and best of all, it never gets tired.
Experimenting with a new technology has us thinking differently when we hear “MVP.”
The technology was developed at Dartmouth, though it’s not in its final stage of production. The Steelers’ dummy is still in test phase, with the final product expected to be available in 2017. Tomlin is already seeing the benefits, given that it prevents tackling between teammates, potentially avoiding injuries.
The visual of a remote-controlled robot "running" around the field with grown men chasing after it is somewhat comical, but the benefits are substantial, as the Steelers are quickly realizing. If it can prevent injuries, robots will be at every training camp in the future — or at least they should.