In Super Bowl of Startups, NFL Looks to Tackle Football Safety

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel 

In the world of tech startups, some say it's best to "fail fast, fail often"--and it's a mantra that WWE founder Vince McMahon might have had on his mind when he announced last week that he was bringing back the XFL. The gimmicky football league failed spectacularly when it first launched, flaming out in 2001 after only one season, and many are already predicting that McMahon's 2020 reboot will fail again. There are, however, nine other innovate startups on display this week, any number of which could have far more lasting impacts on the game of football. And in Minneapolis tomorrow, the day before the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles square off in Super Bowl LII, these nine companies will compete across three categories in the National Football League's third annual "1st & Future" pitch competition, an event designed to spur new technologies that promote athlete safety and performance on the gridiron. One winner from each category will receive a US $50,000 check from the league, two tickets to Sunday's big game, and bragging rights for taking home what could be thought of as the "Heisman of Health-Tech."