CBS expects over 100 million people to tune in Sunday when the Denver Broncos take on the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50. Some will watch from bars, some from their couch, and some from a black-and-white television set in the back of a pickup truck out on the Mardi Gras parade routes in New Orleans, but no one can deny that quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Cam Newton will have the best seats in the house.
“One of the things you can’t see on the field is what the quarterback is actually looking at,” said San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame QB Joe Montana at Microsoft’s Future of the NFL Panel. “There’s just no experience like it.”
Well, Microsoft aims to change that by slapping a live-stream video camera and sensors on the helmets of players across every team in the league. By tracking large amounts of data as well as provided a frontal camera view, Microsoft believes that we can, in fact, get inside a quarterback’s head and see through their eyes.
“If you could ever put a fan in that position, it would completely open their eyes to what professional football is,” said New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. “You can give that fan the experience of being on the field on a Sunday afternoon.”
That would be insane. Fans like to analyze their quarterback a lot. Either they gawk at a window he found out of the corner of his eye, or they’re up in arms when he takes a sack with a wide-open player downfield.
So, experiencing the game through a quarterback’s eyes would be amazing. Every touchdown pass, every scramble, and every big hit.
But could this technology do more harm than good? If a coaching staff can examine everything—literally everything—in real-time, then doesn’t that take away some competitive advantage?
Where does it end? With offensive coordinators in their QBs ear making every decision for them? Immaculate records broken by scrubs? The New England Patriots hacking the other team’s feed?
Hopefully, Microsoft will accomplish their goal without ruining the integrity of the game.