The NFL Pro Bowl is set to take place in Honolulu, Hawaii on Sunday. The game is a showcase of the NFL’s best, featuring big catches and no hits; rarely resembling a real NFL game. However this year’s game could potentially have major impact on the NFL as early as next season.
After a season of snafus Bose, the league’s headset provider, will test a new coach-to-coach communication system at this weekend’s Pro Bowl. If the new system proves to be effective the new technology will be implemented at the beginning of the 2016 season.
Bose reached a deal with the NFL to become the official on field headset provider before the start of the 2014 season, ending Motorola’s 13 years on the sidelines. The headset giant poured a substantial amount of money into R&D after talks with the NFL began a year earlier. Bose, which provides headsets to the US military as well as many private and commercial airplane pilots, used similar technology when creating their exclusive NFL model.
The current headsets are used by every NFL team and feature new noise canceling technology, as well as a unique connective hinge. They were tested in extreme weather, beyond anything they could possibly face on an NFL field; even with all the testing and new technology the headsets were the cause of controversy.
During the 2015 regular season, many teams voiced their concerns that the headset were prone to malfunction. Including the first game of this season, when the Pittsburg Steelers’ coaching staff reported hearing the New England Patriots’ local radio broadcast instead of their fellow coaches. This is not something that the NFL or Bose can tolerate, and that is why the improvements are being tested this weekend.
The new technology which has been tested a few times during the regular season has not been specified by either party at this point. However, sources speculate the main focus will be on greater noise canceling features as well as working out the bugs that have caused the headsets to malfunction in the past.
Communication is a vital part of success in every organization, maybe none more so than in the fast paced world of the NFL. Coaches need to be able to communicate from the field to the coaching boxes high-a-top stadiums, sometimes during severe weather, and with up to 100,000 fans screaming at the top of their lungs. NFL coaching staffs and referees use a total of roughly 60 headsets during every game and if just a few are not working it can cause serious problems.
The NFL and Bose both have a lot riding on the coach’s headsets working properly as close to 100% of the time as possible. Both parties have all the incentive in the world to make sure these issues are sorted out. Therefore even if the new technology that is being tested this weekend in Hawaii doesn’t go smoothly, everyone should expect that there will be revamped headsets to start the 2016 NFL season.