Big and Fast: Data a Key Player in NFL

Speed, efficiency, and reliable execution are the keys to success in today’s National Football League. And we’re not talking about quarterbacks. We’re talking IT.

As Richard Bliss describes in, teams like the Denver Broncos may be mid-size businesses, but they have enterprise-level IT needs. Before the players ever take the field, the organization’s IT staff will have collected, stored, assimilated, managed, protected, and delivered terabytes of data to the players, staff, and fans.

The film room was once the inner sanctum of team preparation, where players and coaches would gather to review analog film in a darkened room. Today, teams like the Broncos distribute videos to players digitally on iPads. The playbook, once dependent on an industrial-strength photocopier to keep up with continual changes, is now likewise delivered and maintained digitally. Downtime or data loss are not options for successful organizations.

The demands for data crunching and delivery are just as critical to serving the thousands who attend the events and the millions watching from afar. “Video, still photography, statistics and other information must be provided in real-time — both to the in-stadium scoreboard and to fans via the Broncos’ mobile app,” writes Bliss.

And there’s no rest during the off-season. IT departments must process and deliver backlogs of old video to fans, media, and team personnel; and support the management team during trade negotiations and the draft process with up-to-the-minute data. A smoothly functioning IT dept. can spell the difference between getting or missing out on the right players.

So the next time you sit back and marvel at the abilities of the players in the limelight, tip your cap to the technical staff behind the scenes that make the performance possible.

Read how the Denver Broncos rely on a NetApp environment:

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