In February, the National Football League announced the finalists for the fourth annual Big Data Bowl powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS).
The Big Data Bowl is designed to engage the data and analytics community and rethink player performance.
Senior Director of Football Data and Analytics at the NFL, Michael Lopez said, “The Big Data Bowl continues to push the envelope for integrating modern analytical tools with creative football ideas.”
“We are amazed at the growth of our contest and the passion of participants, and we look forward to the upcoming Big Data Bowl virtual show,” he added.
The theme of this year’s competition centers on Special Teams. Participants were given access to the NFL’s Next Gen Stats, including the speed, direction, and location information of all 22 players on the field, as well as the football, from Special Teams plays from 2018 to 2020.
More than 200 submissions reviewed punt, field goal, and kickoff strategies from both team and player perspectives. Participants also received Special Teams data from PFF, allowing entrants to blend tracking and scouting metrics together.
Five open entry and three college entry finalists were selected and will share a prize pool of $90,000. An additional $10,000 will be awarded to the winning group of the upcoming Big Data Bowl virtual show, bringing their competition total to $100,000.
This year’s Big Data Bowl virtual show will showcase each of the eight finalist presentations with a focus on how teams could use each approach to improve performance.
In addition to innovation, the competition also helps the League identify and develop future industry leaders. Since the Big Data Bowl launched in 2018, this competition has served as a pipeline for NFL teams and vendors, as well as other leagues.
To date, more than 30 Big Data Bowl participants have been hired to work in data and analytics roles in sports, including 22 that were hired in football. In addition, the winning algorithm from the 2020 Big Data Bowl – expected rush yards – has been adopted into the Next Gen Stats suite of metrics.
For the second consecutive year, the Big Data Bowl also features a mentorship program where a dozen junior data scientists from diverse backgrounds are paired with experienced NFL analytics experts to help curate a Big Data Bowl.
Joseph Phillips is the Sports Editor for the Chicago Crusader Newspaper. He is a Chicago native, who has been a sports writer for over 17 years. He also hosts the SC Media News and Sports Network Q&A radio show on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].
Joseph Phillips is the Sports Editor for the Chicago Crusader Newspaper. He is a Chicago native, who has been a sports writer for over 17 years. He also hosts the SC Media News and Sports Network Q&A radio show on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago.