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Steelers using new helmet cam technology

Article Source - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Published: Saturday, June 21, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Mike Tomlin didn't say it once but twice: “It gave me a headache.”

But in the NFL, where everyone is looking for the slightest advantage, the Steelers coach will deal with short-term misery if it results in long-term success.

The Steelers during spring practices experimented with new technology called SchuttVision — a full contact-capable helmet with an integrated high-definition video system that records never-seen-before angles that can be used as a teaching tool.

It's not quite to the level of analytics or advanced statistics that have become popular in baseball and hockey, but for an organization that doesn't advocate change, the helmet cam — even if on a trial basis — can be considered a leap of faith.

“This time of year, I think it's appropriate to be open to the growth of technology in our game,” Tomlin said. “So I'll do things such as that and look at innovative things and see if it can be useful to us.”

The Steelers used it twice during spring practices, with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger wearing it on the first day of organized team activities and receiver Antonio Brown on the last.

The players said they have yet to see the video, but offensive coordinator Todd Haley and quarterback coach Randy Fichtner have.

“You can identify the fronts and when we are pointing out (middle linebackers) and stuff like that because usually the eyes are looking where he's pointing,” Haley said. “You can see the direction the head is at the snap. It's interesting technology. It's a neat concept. We haven't done a whole bunch with it, but the technology is phenomenal. If not for anything else, it forces the player that has it on to be on his P's and Q's.”

Fichtner, who has been coaching Roethlisberger for four years, admits he hasn't put much thought in how the video could be used, but he did believe it could help backup quarterbacks Bruce Gradkowski and Landry Jones as much as Roethlisberger.

“You would like to think that if you see something from his eye level that it could potentially give every other quarterback who wasn't getting that rep a chance to view that,” Fichtner said. “We really haven't taken it to that next level yet. It's new technology, so sometimes it's tough to grasp right away.”

Unveiled in January, SchuttVision is being used by 33 NFL and NCAA teams. The company also has a partnership with the Arena Football League — including the Pittsburgh Power — that uses the video to enhance game broadcasts.

Helmets retail for $1,200 each. There currently are 76 helmets being used. Teams range from having one to 10 helmets.

DREAMING BIG

It was in fall 2011, and JR Liverman woke up from a dream with vision of a helmet cam.

Liverman quickly drew an image on his computer, and since then that dream has taken off.

Liverman founded Sports Video Innovations, recruited investors, created a prototype and located a partner with Schutt Sports, one of the leading helmet manufacturers.

“Some 30 months later, we launched what's known as SchuttVision,” Liverman said. “The response has been fantastic.”

The impact-resistant camera fits into the helmet's nose bumper, shoots 720 high-definition video and has a 21⁄2-hour battery life. It captures footage on an SD card or transmits a live signal to the sidelines for further processing.

Read more: http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/6306161-74/ncaa-steelers-nfl#ixzz35YyWiHEi
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