NFL and University of Miami team up on innovation event

1st and Future is the National Football League's annual Super Bowl competition designed to spur innovation in athlete safety and performance. Image: National Football League

By News@TheU

1st and Future is the National Football League's annual Super Bowl competition designed to spur innovation in athlete safety and performance. Image: National Football League

NFL and University of Miami team up on innovation event

By News@TheU
The NFL’s annual 1st and Future Super Bowl event is a pitch competition with $150,000 in awards that is aimed at driving innovation.

The National Football League today announced this season’s launch of 1st and Future, the annual Super Bowl competition designed to spur innovation in athlete safety and performance. 1st and Future will be hosted at the Miami Beach Convention Center on Jan. 31, 2020, two days before Super Bowl LIV.

The first category, the NFL 1st and Future Analytics Competition, will give applicants access to exclusive NFL data sets to inform creative submissions that examine the effects playing on synthetic turf versus natural turf can have on player movements and the factors that may influence the likelihood of a player sustaining a lower extremity injury. This challenge will utilize the crowdsourced data science platform Kaggle. Up to three submissions will be awarded $25,000 each. The winning teams will be invited to Miami, where they will present their findings on stage and compete to win Super Bowl tickets.

“We were encouraged by the creative proposals that the data analytics competition sparked last year around the punt play, and we are excited to be tapping into experts again this year to stimulate ideas to reduce lower extremity injuries,” said Jeff Miller, the NFL’s Executive Vice President for Health and Safety Innovations. “Lower extremity injuries are the highest burden injuries for a player because of the time required to rehab and recover. Leveraging data across all aspects of the league is important as we aim to prevent those injuries. Our annual 1st and Future event a great example of how we use data to crowdsource that challenge and ultimately make the game safer for players.”

The second category, Innovations to Advance Athlete Health and Safety Competition, invites all types of submissions for innovative product concepts that could improve player health and safety and will be managed by U Innovation, with the insights of the UHealth Sports Medicine Institute at the University of Miami. Up to four start-ups will be selected as finalists and will have the chance to present their innovations on stage in Miami. One grand prize winner will be awarded $50,000 and two tickets to Super Bowl LIV. The second-place winner will receive $25,000 and two tickets to Super Bowl LIV.

Finalists from both categories will present to a panel of judges and an exclusive audience including NFL team owners and executives, and representatives from the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee and the University of Miami. 

“The University of Miami is excited to host the NFL’s annual 1st and Future start-up competition during Super Bowl LIV,” said University of Miami President Julio Frenk. “As a university with a long history of excellence in research, health care, and athletics, the U is an ideal setting for an event that will lead to advancements in athlete safety and performance. We pride ourselves on spurring innovation across the hemisphere and globally, and are delighted to partner with the NFL on this unique opportunity. Along with the entire South Florida community, we look forward to welcoming the Super Bowl and showcasing all that Miami has to offer.”

NFL University of Miami joint 1st and Future logoDr. Lee Kaplan, director of the UHealth Sports Medicine Institute, said the opportunity to partner with the NFL on the startup competition “allows us to both bring valuable know-how and experience to their event. The efforts around safety and sports performance will continue to evolve through technological and thoughtful advances.”

Norma Kenyon, vice provost for innovation at the University of Miami and chief innovation officer for the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, noted that U Innovation is taking the lead to organize startup submissions, review, and practice for participants that will occur two days prior to the Jan. 31 event.

“We look forward to working with the NFL to host submissions, review, and practice pitching,” Kenyon said. “The first day of practice will occur in Converge Miami, home of U Innovation and the heart of an emerging innovation district adjacent to our hospital and medical school.”

This year’s competition will be the fifth annual event. 1st and Future awarded innovators and data scientists $600,000 in its first four years. More information about past winners can be found at www.nfl.com/1standfuture.

Deadline to apply is January 2, 2020. For more information on the submission process, selection criteria and official rules, visit www.nfl.com/1standfuture.