Fans might not be able to engage in football by attending NFL games in person at the start of the upcoming season, but they can dive deeper into the sport thanks to new Next Gen Stats powered by Amazon Web Services.
AWS and the NFL are debuting six new insights into player and team performance in time for the season kickoff on Thursday between the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs. The league previously announced the stat Expected Rush Yards, which was born out of the Big Data Bowl analytics competition, and is intended to reveal how many yards a rusher is likely to gain after a handoff.
Here are the other new stats:
- Route Classification: Automatically identifies in real time the route a player runs on a pass play — go, post, or out — providing the groundwork for a new understanding of offensive strategy and tendencies, while also delivering metrics to rank the performance of individual players, team offenses, and team defenses by route.
- Expected Points: Calculates the likelihood of either team scoring next and by what means (i.e., touchdown, field goal, and safety), enabling analysts, coaches, and fans to quantify the impact of an individual play on helping a team score.
- Win Probability: Assigns a win likelihood percentage to each team — adjusted in real time throughout the game — to identify changes in momentum and the plays that are most likely to impact game outcome.
- Expected Yards After Catch (xYAC): Predicts how far a receiver is likely to gain with the ball upon completing a catch. Similar to Expected Rush Yards, this stat helps identify how receivers are able to improvise and elude defenders to gain yards after receiving the ball.
- Field Goal Probability: Quantifies the likelihood of a team scoring a field goal given the distance of the kick and weather conditions.
Next Gen Stats are used in live broadcasts and online and help teams, players, broadcasters and fans better understand the game and performances. AWS cloud technology has powered the platform since 2015 and machine learning was introduced to enhance the analytics in 2017. Sensors in players’ gear, game balls and reference points in NFL stadiums help the league collect more than 300 million data points each season.
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The NFL uses Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) to store on-field data for quick reference, and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) to process that data, enabling real-time insights to fans at home.
In addition to its stat work, Amazon is also a broadcaster and will once again stream “Thursday Night Football” games on Prime Video and Twitch.
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