In a league in which teams are constantly looking for an edge, the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints are about to divulge one of their secrets.
A Tacoma-based company called IdentityMine last season developed a system for the Saints that merged player records, reports and charts with videos to streamline the team's personnel department. Northbrook-based STATS Inc., provided the specialized content, and Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard provided the touch-screen technologies.
The system is called ICE, which stands for Interactive, Collaboration & Evaluation.
"They're ecstatic about it," Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said of his scouts. "But they hate this because now it might be available to other teams."
Although ICE saved the Saints time, they didn't fully realize the benefits because they didn't get to access all the tools during the entire 2009 season. Loomis said they missed the window to get coaches up to speed, but he leaned on his pro personnel scouts to serve as the team's guinea pigs. Specifically, the pro scouts relied on the system to help with their evaluation of upcoming opponents.
"We were excite because we'd never seen X-Info tied to a video catalog," said Nick Stamm, the associate director of marketing and communications at STATS. "So it's increasing the value of the data, and it's more user-friendly."
Now, though, IdentityMine is prepared to expand their service to other teams - on a first come, first serve basis.
John Pollard of IdentityMine said his company is able to implement the system for the entire 2010 season for 12 other NFL clubs. Along with Stamm and representatives from HP, Pollard is showcasing his system to NFL executives and coaches at the combine.
Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank and Minnesota Vikings vice president Rick Spielman are among those who have already seen the system.
"It really unlocks the knowledge and intelligence teams have available to them," said Pollard, the director of business development for sports and entertainment at IdentityMine.
For instance, the Saints grades of incoming rookies is on a magnetic board in the team's personnel room. But IdentityMine's system will digitize the draft board, automatically updating the ever-changing grades and also allowing the information to be displayed on other platforms.
With the system, players can download "homework" onto their mobile phones via a USB cable, and coaches can more easily package information for meetings.
"I think this technology will help our coaches more than it'll help our personnel department," Loomis said, noting that the game plans could be automated.