Super Bowl XLIII to Feature Real-time Biometric Player Data

Burbank, California, January 30, 2009 -- For the first time in Super Bowl history, Sunday's Super Bowl XLIII will feature a remarkable collection of live, real-time data on virtually every aspect of each player's physical and mental state –- while they're on the field.

This technological marvel, which will be premiered during Super Bowl XLIII, February 1, 2009 on NBC, is expected to, in the words of NBC spokesman Greg Polanski, "completely revolutionize the way viewers experience sports television."

The NFL's Super Bowl has long been a showcase for groundbreaking innovations in televised sports, from the earliest days of digital whiteboards to recent advances in CGI that allow the computerized superimposition and integration of first down markers and geo-targeted sidelines advertising directly into live camera feeds. Biometric player data, according to Mr. Polanski, is just the latest advance.

"During Super Bowl 43," Mr. Polanski said, "sports fans will for the first time get into the actual heads and bodies of their favorite players."

NBC said it will display a "biometric data bubble" over each player on the field during the live broadcast; this bubble will provide real-time readouts of the players' blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature and aspiration levels, as well as a host of other indicators as it follows the players from play to play.

"In this Monday's contest between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals," Mr. Polanski said, "NBC's viewers will know exactly how tired, nervous, or dehydrated quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is at the moment he throws a pass –- even how confident he is that it might be received. At the same time, you'll see whether receiver Hines Ward's sprained knee is hurting, whether his attention is wandering, how alert he is. Sensors in uniforms and pads monitor key muscles and ligaments, helmet electrodes report brain wave patterns, and all of that gets radioed straight to our data centers for on-the-fly processing. You can tell right away, by looking at stress patterns, when someone's faking an injury or when you need to call for the stretcher. It's really miraculous."

Mr. Polanski said real-time biometric data has been used by both the Steelers and the Cardinals throughout most of this season, but thus far the data has been kept under wraps and made exclusively available to the coaching staff. Monday's Super Bowl broadcast will be the first time sports fans will get to share the information.

"We rolled out uniform- and helmet-integrated biometric technology early in the season," Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said, "along with most of the other top NFL teams. Having real-time, objective data on a player's physical performance and mental state is key to preventing damage or knowing when to push. It's no different than the sensors on a car -- you need to know when to change the oil or top off the antifreeze. NFL football players are the products of some of the world's most advanced technology in human engineering, so of course we're going to pull out all the stops to get their full potential."

Mr. Polanski said Robert Bazell, Chief Science and Health Correspondent for NBC News, will be on hand during Super Bowl XVIII to help interpret the data.

By Ion Zwitter, Avant News Editor

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