Chalk Talk with Zebra's Adam Petrus and Hale Hentges along with NFL Legend Troy Vincent
By Adam Petrus | August 17, 2022

Chalk Talk Podcast Episode #7: NFL Legend and Football Operations Executive, Troy Vincent, Says Data Will Change What Players, Coaches, Officials and Scouts Do This Season. Find Out How.

As the NFL works to balance tradition with innovation, data is proving core to every decision made in the back office and on the field. This is what to expect, whether you’re an NFL hopeful or just a fan.

Are you ready for some football?! Troy Vincent sure is. As a former NFL player and the current Executive Vice President of Football Operations at the NFL, this is always an exciting time of year. New players, new coaches, and new energy abound! And, thanks to the rich data being generated by RFID technology during every practice, game and equipment check, a whole new mindset about the game of football is taking hold. In fact, that may be what Troy is most pumped about as he preps for what will surely be a memorable season.

His Operations team has a mission: ensure football is the greatest competitive sport in the world and the NFL is the greatest league. They can’t accomplish that mission using hearsay and best guesses about what’s happening behind the scenes at clubs or on the field during games. So, the people responsible for improving game operations, officiating, player operations and the NFL’s overall business strategy aren’t making a move – or a policy change – without consulting the data derived from Zebra’s RFID on-field player tracking technology. And those on the front lines of the game – players, coaches, and officials – are learning to lean into data to make better decisions, whether about training, play calls or rulings.

That’s why Troy can’t talk enough about the value of RFID technology and, specifically, the advantage it now gives every NFL stakeholder.

In our latest Chalk Talk episode, we spent 30 minutes with Troy chatting about:

  • How much the game has changed since Troy played thanks to the NFL’s commitment to technology innovation. (Let’s put it this way, when Troy was a player, he was carrying a beeper. Not a cell phone, and certainly not a ball with an RFID tag in it. A beeper.)
  • How the NFL Operations team actually works – and how the back-office is uniquely structured. (As someone who has been around the NFL for years, I was surprised to learn about the four different operational focuses that Troy and his team have. My co-host, Hale Hentges, also learned a lot – and he’s a true “insider” as a former NFL player.)
  • How everyone in the NFL has spent the offseason learning how to responsibly utilize the rich data they have available to them. (Wise coaches are looking at the data every day, and in new ways, Troy says.)
  • How the decades-long effort that coaches have made to improve player health and safety is coming to fruition thanks to player tracking technology – and how the NFL has been able to prioritize wellness without compromising the quality of the game.
  • Why it’s important for players to embrace the data delivered via RFID tracking technology if they want to extend their careers – maybe even longer than Tom Brady – and improve their video game rankings.
  • How real-time location data will help officials better manage games and reduce their own game-day injuries starting this season.
  • How the in-stadium experience may be changing in the next season or two.
  • How the use of technology is bleeding over to college football all-star games and the NFL Combine – and how that will impact the NFL Draft of the future. (Spoiler alert: The way NFL coaches and recruiters evaluate college players may be different going forward based on what data is telling us today.)
  • How the NFL plans to incorporate other technology into the game this season – and whether a digital down box might be spotted on the sidelines.

We also spent a few minutes catching up on Troy’s personal joys, such as his six (!) grandkids and the life-changing programs he’s working on with his wife, Tommi, as part of their Vincent Country charity, including the next Safe Zone Activity Day in Arizona, to coincide with Super Bowl LVII in February 2023.

Hale and I always learn so much when we catch up with Troy, so we’re excited to be able to share our conversation with you. 


Podcast, Automation, Best Practices, Innovative Ideas, Inside Zebra Nation, Hospitality,
Adam Petrus
Adam Petrus

Adam Petrus is currently the Business Development and Sales Lead for Sports & Entertainment at Zebra Technologies where he is responsible for growing Zebra’s hardware and software solutions across the world of sports and the entertainment industry.   Prior to joining the sales team Adam co-managed Zebra’s game day operation of the NFL’s Next Gen Stats program and served as the project lead for the NFL’s Equipment Tracking Program, Virtual Locker.  Adam has more than 15 years of experience within the sports and technology industry and has been working with Next Gen Stats since 2015.  Previously, he worked in the front office of an NFL Football Club, served within the United States Intelligence Community supporting special operations to include two and a half years in Iraq and was a licensed and certified sports agent.  Adam holds a bachelor’s degree from Baldwin Wallace University out of Berea, Ohio and attended the International Institute for Management & Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland where he earned a certificate in Business Management and Leadership.

As an active member of the community, Adam serves on the Baldwin Wallace University Carmel-Boyer School of Business Advisory Council, served on the Board of the Ponte Vedra Beach Rotary International Club and is a member of the Jacksonville JAXSports Council - a non-profit established to enhance and positively impact the quality of life and community pride, along with generating economic impact and growth through professional and amateur sports. An outdoor enthusiast, Adam enjoys running, paddle boarding, golfing and being an active parent alongside his wife Jenn to their daughters Olivia (7) & Peyton (5) and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Gunner and Nash.  

Fun Fact: 

"My first job in the NFL was at age 16 when I was hired by the Cleveland Browns Groundcrew.  This position then led to a promotion into the front office when I was in college and a full-time role upon graduation." 

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