Winners awarded Super Bowl LIV tickets and a total of $150,000 in live pitch competition

Miami, Florida – January 31, 2020 – The National Football League (NFL), in collaboration with the University of Miami and Amazon Web Services (AWS), today announced the winners of 1st and Future, the NFL’s annual Super Bowl pitch competition designed to spur innovation in player health, safety and performance.

Ahead of the event, all three finalists in the NFL 1st and Future Analytics Competition received $25,000. The winning team, Ben Jenkins and Steve Jenkins from Denver, Colorado, received two tickets to Super Bowl LIV. Ben and Steve completed an analysis of NFL data to help uncover factors that contribute to lower limb injuries. This includes advanced machine learning techniques and new visualizations of characterizing player movement.

Protect3d from Durham, North Carolina, took the top prize among the four finalists in the Innovations to Advance Athlete Health and Safety Competition and was awarded two Super Bowl LIV tickets and $50,000 for its innovation, which leverages 3D scanning and printing technologies to give medical professionals the ability to create anatomically-precise protective devices, each intended to be optimized for an individual athlete’s comfort, mobility and protection. Second-place winner Plantiga was awarded two Super Bowl LIV tickets and $25,000 for its technology, which combines sensor insoles and artificial intelligence that analyze how people move to improve health, injury rehabilitation and performance.

The live pitch competition took place at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami Beach, Florida. Dan Hellie of NFL Network emceed as the seven finalists pitched their game-changing technologies and data analyses to an exclusive audience comprised of NFL team owners and executives and representatives and guests of the University of Miami and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

During the program, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Michelle Lee, VP of the Amazon ML Solutions Lab, and former NFL running back Curtis Martin participated in a panel discussion on player health and safety innovation.

“We think we can take the model that helped us reduce concussions so dramatically and apply it to the lower extremity injuries and have hopefully similar results,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during the panel discussion. “And that would be dramatic obviously for the health and safety of our players but also for the game. It allows the players to be healthier, play more and play at a higher level, which is what they want.”

“We were impressed by all of the finalist’s pitches today and are excited to be crowdsourcing creative thinking from the entrepreneurial and data science communities,” said Jeff Miller, NFL Executive Vice President, Health and Safety Innovation. “We’ll take this forward to the NFL Scouting Combine as we meet with medical committees and the Competition Committee and discuss new and innovative ways to evolve the game.”

Participants faced off in front of two panels of judges that included:

  • Jeffrey L. Duerk, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, University of Miami
  • Shelly Ibach, President and Chief Executive Officer, Sleep Number
  • Lee D. Kaplan, D., Director of the University of Miami Sports Medicine Institute
  • Michelle Lee, Vice President, Amazon ML Solutions Lab
  • Ryan Nece, Managing Partner, Next Play Capital, LLC
  • Priya Ponnapalli, D., Senior Manager and Principal Data Scientist, Amazon ML Solutions Lab
  • Eugene Shen, Director of Personnel Analytics, Miami Dolphins
  • Michael Swartzon, M.D., Team Physician, Miami Dolphins
  • Nick Tsinoremas, Ph.D.,Vice Provost for Research Computing and Data and Founding Director, University of Miami Center for Computational Science

Finalists included the following individuals and companies. Each provided the following description of their analysis or technology that they presented during 1st and Future:

NFL 1st and Future Analytics Competition 

Elijah Hall, Seattle, Washington

Elijah’s analysis found synthetic fields combined with velocity in zigzag movement patterns introduce a significant increase of risk to lower limb non-contact injuries.

Ben Jenkins and Steve Jenkins, Denver, Colorado

Ben and Steve completed an analysis of NFL data to help uncover factors that contribute to lower limb injuries. This includes advanced machine learning techniques and new visualizations of characterizing player movement.

John Miller, Fort Worth, Texas

John created a model that shows the effects of player acceleration, turf type, and weather conditions on lower-body injuries. 

Innovations to Advance Athlete Health and Safety Competition   

Nextiles, Brooklyn, New York

Nextiles builds fabric-based sensors that when sewn into the interior padding of helmets can locate, triangulate and measure forces impacted on a player’s head in order to quantify the factors that contribute to concussions and traumatic brain injuries.

Physmodo, Dallas, Texas 

Using its proprietary human tracking skeleton developed specifically for biomechanics, Physmodo assesses movement patterns through an objective, automated and 30 second screen.

Plantiga, Vancouver, British Columbia

Plantiga combines sensor insoles and artificial intelligence that analyze how people move to improve health, injury rehabilitation and performance.

Protect3d, Durham, North Carolina

Protect3d leverages 3D scanning and printing technologies to give medical professionals the ability to create anatomically-precise protective devices, each optimized for an individual athlete’s comfort, mobility and protection.

About the NFL’s Health and Safety Initiatives

The NFL is committed to advancing progress in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of sports-related injuries. As part of the NFL’s ongoing health and safety efforts, in September 2016, Commissioner Goodell launched Play Smart. Play Safe. — a league-wide health and safety initiative. At the heart of the initiative is a pledge of $100 million in support for independent medical research and engineering advancements and a commitment to work to better protect our players and make our game safer, including enhancements to medical protocols and improvements to how our game is taught and played. For more information about the NFL’s health and safety efforts, please visit www.PlaySmartPlaySafe.com.

About the University of Miami

The University of Miami is a private research university and academic health system with a distinct geographic capacity to connect institutions, individuals, and ideas across the hemisphere and around the world. The University’s vibrant and diverse academic community comprises 11 schools and colleges serving more than 17,000 undergraduate and graduate students in more than 180 majors and programs. Located within one of the most dynamic and multicultural cities in the world, the University is building new bridges across geographic, cultural, and intellectual borders, bringing a passion for scholarly excellence, a spirit of innovation, a respect for including and elevating diverse voices, and a commitment to tackling the challenges facing our world. For more information about the University of Miami, visit miami.edu.

About Amazon Web Services

For 13 years, Amazon Web Services has been the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform. AWS offers over 165 fully featured services for compute, storage, databases, networking, analytics, robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, security, hybrid, virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR), media, and application development, deployment, and management from 69 Availability Zones (AZs) within 22 geographic regions, with announced plans for 13 more Availability Zones and four more AWS Regions in Indonesia, Italy, South Africa, and Spain. Millions of customers—including the fastest-growing startups, largest enterprises, and leading government agencies—trust AWS to power their infrastructure, become more agile, and lower costs. To learn more about AWS, visit aws.amazon.com.