The Dallas Cowboys are preparing themselves for a 2015 season that, if all goes according to plan, could see them mount a realistic challenge for the Super Bowl.
In doing so they have made some controversial roster moves, as well as some impressive (on paper) draft selections. Tony Romo has even given up his beloved golf this summer.
The next step
Their latest move, though, has seen the famous franchise enter the realms of virtual reality with reports today revealing the Cowboys have become the first NFL team to get involved in a new, innovative training method.
ESPN is reporting that the Dallas Cowboys have agreed a deal with StriVR Labs, a company who's software gives NFL players a 3-D look at game/practice footage.
It is thought the roster will be able to use the new technology as soon as mini camp, with a camera having been filming 360-degree action for the past two weeks of Cowboys OTAs.
The system has already been used by a number of college football programs including Stanford where Derek Belch, it's creator, is part of the staff.
The thinking behind the virtual reality technology is to give players a more immersive interpretation of the game rather than simply studying film on a big projector.
A head set will be worn by quarterbacks, linebackers and safeties (at separate times), and this will give players a view of specific plays that they can then run. Coaches, meanwhile, will be able to see exactly what and where the player is looking, allowing them so see if they are making the appropriate reads and looks.
While the Cowboys are the first to get involved the likes of the Atlanta Falcons are also said to be considering using the system moving forward.
Belch, speaking to Fox Sports, is hopeful that one day the virtual reality program could be used to limit the amount of punishment players take during their weekly routine:
"This is too good for football. This can help advance the sport. You're looking at cutting down practice times. You're looking at having guys hit less and do less," he explained back in March.
"This is one of those things that everyone gets what we want to some degree. We as coaches want them fully prepared, but now we're not keeping them on the practice field any longer. You're getting more work with less practice time."
With concussions and the long term affects of playing pro football a big concern at present, anything that can reduce the risk is surely a positive.
NFL fans: Is today's game more dangerous than it was in the past, and how can it be improved? Let us know in the comments below...
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