The Dallas Cowboys were once known as America’s Team. While that kind of love from the overall market isn’t likely to happen again anytime soon, the ’Boys have endeared ingratiated themselves with a particular demographic: techies.
The Cowboys have become the first NFL team to embrace the use of virtual reality (VR) as a workout and training tool, ESPN reports. The program, created by STRIVR Labs, was demonstrated at the NFL Combine in February, and the Cowboys were the first professional football team to pick it up, Fox Sports notes.
“I was expecting something kinda cheesy,” one coach told Fox about the preview. “And when I was about to write them off, they put the headset on you and shoot! It’s real.”
The program was developed during the 2014 football season at Stanford University by the school’s former kicker Derek Belch and it’s now used by other universities as Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson and Vanderbilt. STRIVR also boasts former NFL pro Trent Edwards as its VP of product and business development.
— Stanford Football (@StanfordFball) April 23, 2015
The technology allows players—particularly quarterbacks, linebackers and safeties—to pull on an Oculus Rift or other headset “and then watch scrimmages recorded by 360-degree cameras attached to players’ helmets,” Engadget reports. This allows them to get a better feel for in-game situations and gives backup players more opportunities to feel that pressure as well. The Atlanta Falcons are also considering the use of VR, ESPN notes.
Virtual reality is not the only way the Cowboys are using technology to help their players get better. The team will also start using a drone to help film practices, reports ESPN. The Cowboys were apparently inspired by SMU, which used drones in spring practices this year.