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Fox Business
Fox Business
16 Feb 2024

Getting an edge in the NFL, whether you're on the field or not, is what every player, coach and even fan tries to do. 

With the Super Bowl having come and gone, the 2023 NFL season comes to a close, and Amazon Web Services couldn't be happier with how it improved the game. 

AI and data science techniques are used by every team in the league.

From breaking down plays during games and practice to knowing which players are subject to more injuries throughout a season, technology can be used by all 32 teams to make sure they’re maximizing every rep in the weight room, every snap on the practice field and every down on game days. 

Julie Souza on panel

Julie Souza, head of sports global professional services at Amazon Web Services, participates in a panel discussion during the Super Bowl LVIII Preview with Next Gen Stats Feb. 7, 2024, at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. (Marc Sanchez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images / Getty Images)

"I’m excited about all of it," Julie Souza, head of sports, global professional services, at AWS, told Fox Business Digital ahead of this year's Super Bowl. 

The NFL is working with AWS’ machine learning to not just create new stats that everyone can use, but, more importantly, help improve player safety and health throughout the year. 

Digital Athlete, an injury prediction tool, was made available for all clubs in the NFL this season, and Souza was told by one Minnesota Vikings executive, "You can’t go back from this. This is only helping us make the game safer."

"You can’t fix something if you don’t know what’s broken," Souza explained. "So, this is a lot about the data-gathering team, and it’s so much data. We’re taking 6.8 million frames of video — hundreds of millions of points of data — that’s being pulled into this from games, training and so much else."

Souza explained how she was on a panel with Los Angeles Rams rookie receiver Puka Nacua, who noted that when his coach looks at the Microsoft tablets that are used, he knows the coach is going to see something he otherwise can’t feel or even notice in real time. 

"If a player is pushing off more with their left foot than their right foot," Souza said. "So, OK, you’re doing 500 reps with your left and only 300 on your right. We need to, in the weight room, figure out how to get you more balanced and things like that. So, everything in that sort of conditioning to identifying a load management question."

"Thursday Night Football" flag

A Thursday Night Football banner with Amazon Prime signage prior to a game between the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium Sept. 22, 2022, in Cleveland. (Nick Cammett/Getty Images / Getty Images)

Next Gen Stats have been used throughout professional sports for some time. In the NFL, new stats are created each year as the game evolves. 

There’s also Amazon Prime Video being the home of "Thursday Night Football" this year, where AWS’ Next Gen Stats helped provide the Prime Vision alternate broadcast that gives a more analytical experience to viewers on game nights. 

This broadcast features more in-depth statistical analysis while the game is going on, while also highlighting key players and areas during games where stats can inform the NFL fan even more than an announcer might. 

Not all fans like that, but having the option to choose your broadcast is something Souza said could be the future of viewing the NFL. 

"I think the cool thing about streaming platforms in general is that it allows for choice or choosing your own adventure. A fan can decide, like you, to opt in to the Prime Vision telecast of "Thursday Night Football," which is awesome. Someone else might say, ‘I just want the straight broadcast feed.’ Someone else can say, ‘I want "Dude Perfect" calling this game.’ That choice, I think, is very valuable for fans and makes them feel closer the way they want to."

Souza believes this is just the tip of the iceberg for what AWS can provide the NFL in the future.

Amazon Web Services sign

An Amazon Web Services ad board inside Century Link Field during an NFL game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks Oct. 3, 2019, at Century Link Field in Seattle.  (Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images / Getty Images)

"I want the day where it’s client-driven, fan-driven," she said. "I want the day where I can say, ‘I’m going to watch my football experience. And you know what I want? I want the analytics overlay, but what I really want is to be prompted for prop bets before every field goal. I want to be reminded to order Uber Eats like 20 minutes before halftime. I want all my fantasy stats showing up on a ticker. Or any player that’s actually on the field, I want the fantasy stats updated in real time.’ 

"All of these things where you can start customizing your fan experience, and that personalization effort is very sticky."