It doesn’t cross ethical lines like the New England Patriots’ so-called “Spygate” scandal a decade ago ― when the Patriots were accused of videotaping opponents’ hand signals ― but the Seattle Seahawks’ recently announced pact with Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS) offers yet another sign of how the digital lines are blurring in the era of artificial intelligence.
The Seahawks just announced a deal with AWS that makes the Amazon.com company the team’s official cloud, machine-learning and artificial-intelligence provider ― allowing the NFL gridiron franchise to apply advanced computing technologies to analyze game footage and data with the goal of giving the pro football team an edge on the playing field.
Using AWS’ technologies, the Seahawks will be able to create a cloud-based video analytics platform, the deal announcement states, that will make use of deep-learning image and video analysis to provide the team with a better understanding of their opponents’ defensive and offensive strategies.
“AWS will enable the Seahawks to become a data-driven organization that uses the power of technology to fuel future championships,” says Chip Suttles, vice president of technology for the Seattle Seahawks.
The Seahawks plan to combine weekly NFL Next Gen player tracking data, which tracks ball and player positions 10 times per second, with the team’s own player and club data to develop custom game-strategy analytics. The team also can use AWS services to combine team stats and NFL data, player health and wellness data as well as scouting information to “provide deeper visibility into player capabilities,” according to an announcement of the deal.
Mike Clayville, vice president of worldwide commercial sales at AWS adds: “Data has become a competitive differentiator for sports franchises, but these organizations need the most complete and fully featured set of machine-learning and analytics capabilities to analyze and take action upon that data, to impact player performance and drive championship caliber play.”
The AMS services will allow the Seahawks, among other capabilities, to analyze opponents’ player and game data and provide Seahawks’ coaches with insights that allow them to make better game-preparation decisions. One thing AI-driven gridiron analytics is not likely to replace, however, is the Seahawks' famed 12th man.