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NFL Announces Third Annual Big Data Bowl

The NFL has launched the third annual Big Data Bowl, powered by Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), a joint initiative between the NFL and AWS that uses data and technology to make the game more exciting for fans and safer for players.

Using Next Gen Stats powered by AWS, the 2020-2021 Big Data Bowl is a crowdsourcing competition that calls on professional and aspiring data analysts to devise innovative approaches to analyzing pass coverage in the NFL.

The Big Data Bowl annually asks participants to explore statistical innovations in football using real-time data the NFL captures for every player, on every play, in every situation.

By crowdsourcing insights into this data and using AWS services, Big Data Bowl invites the data analytics community to rethink trends in player performance and innovate the way football is played and coached.

The third annual competition is just one example of how the NFL drives advancements in the game by making football data publicly available. This season will also mark the sixth annual 1st and Future, the NFL’s annual pitch competition and crowdsourced data analytics contest designed to spur innovation in athlete safety and performance, also a centerpiece of the league’s partnership with AWS.

“The NFL continues to find new ways to use data to advance our game – using Next Gen Stats powered by AWS to fuel the Big Data Bowl is a prime example,” said Michael Lopez, NFL Director of Football Data and Analytics.

“The league has grown both on and off the field with the use of analytics, and by crowdsourcing to talented individuals around the globe, the Big Data Bowl gives the NFL greater exposure, depth, and insight into what data can do to support the future of the game.”

New this year, the Big Data Bowl will feature a mentorship program where 16 junior data scientists from diverse backgrounds are connected with experienced NFL analytics experts to curate a Big Data Bowl submission.

Following the 2018-19 and 2019-20 Big Data Bowl competitions, a total of 14 participants were later hired by NFL clubs or affiliate vendors. The 2019-20 Big Data Bowl featured more than 2000 participating teams with participants from 32 countries.

The winning algorithm from last year’s contest, which provided predictions for rushing play outcomes, was adopted by the NFL’s analytics team as one of this season’s new Next Gen Stats and has been used and shared with NFL clubs and media during the 2020 season.

Interested participants can sign-up for the 2020-21 Big Data Bowl on Kaggle.com. Professional and aspiring analysts will use Next Gen Stats player tracking data to predict pass coverage schemes and identify which NFL defensive backs perform the best pass coverage. This year participants will use the player tracking data on all passing plays from the 2018 regular season provided by the NFL.

The deadline for submission is January 7, 2021. After the deadline, all Big Data Bowl entries will be judged by data analysts from NFL clubs. Finalists will be announced in early 2021 and will share a prize of $100,000 provided by AWS.

For additional information on this year’s Big Data Bowl, visit: https://operations.nfl.com/the-game/big-data-bowl/

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