02:41 - Source: CNN
NFL players learn their moves from 3-D technology

Story highlights

Six NFL teams are implementing virtual reality as a training tool this season

Several college football programs, including Stanford and Michigan, are also using virtual reality

CNN —  

Football is a game of yards and inches. And to get that extra inch, being at the cutting edge of training and technology could make all the difference.

So is the future of NFL preparation in the form of goggles? Enter virtual reality.

“I tell you, 25 years ago, I was looking for something like this,” Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said.

The NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement prevents players and coaches from the lengthy meeting and practice times of days past. Previously, NFL players would take home a bulky 300-page playbook to memorize plays. Those playbooks got replaced by tablets.

Now, some NFL teams are utilizing a headset that essentially puts a player inside the play, potentially speeding up the learning process when they’re away from the team’s training facility.

How does it work?

With virtual reality, a player doesn’t solely get a written or verbal explanation of how the play works. When he puts on the goggles, he can see and hear it as if he’s in the huddle and on the field.

“I put it on, and it took me literally two plays,” Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer said. “And I was like, ‘This is so cool.’”

Six NFL teams – the Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots – are using virtual reality this season. Several college football teams, including Stanford and Michigan, have also implemented it as a training tool.

“These fine details that are the things that separate you in a game,” Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. “Because it’s just inches that help you have success out there.”