Finalists Announced for NFL's Sixth Annual "1st and Future" Pitch Competition Powered by AWS

Pitch competition with $150,000 in awards to air during Super Bowl LV Week on Tuesday, February 2, at 8:00 p.m. EST on NFL Network

New York, January 26, 2021 – The National Football League (NFL), in collaboration with Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an, Inc. company (NASDAQ: AMZN), today announced the finalists and judges for 1st and Future. The NFL's sixth annual competition designed to spur novel advancements in athlete safety and performance will air on Tuesday, February 2, 2021 at 8:00 p.m. EST on NFL Network in the lead up to Super Bowl LV.

The 90-minute show will feature two competitive categories:

  • The Innovations to Advance Player Health and Safety Competition will feature four start-ups pitching their innovative products designed to improve player health and safety. Winners will be awarded $50,000 and $25,000 for the grand and runner-up prizes, respectively.
  • The NFL Computer Vision Competition winners will also be unveiled during the program. The NFL provided computer scientists actual game data and challenged them to create ways to detect on-field helmet impacts. Nearly 7,800 submissions from 55 countries were received; the top five data analysts' models will be showcased, and each will be awarded prizes up to $25,000. Successful computer vision models of helmet contacts may inform rules changes, teaching tools and even future helmet designs. The use of computer vision and machine learning is a major component of the collaboration between the NFL and AWS in their development of the Digital Athlete, a virtual representation of an NFL player that can be used to better predict and prevent player injury.

While an expert panel of judges deliberate on the pitch competition, Commissioner Roger Goodell, Andy Jassy, CEO of AWS, and Arizona Cardinals Wide Receiver Larry Fitzgerald will join the program, which will be hosted by NFL Network's Colleen Wolfe and Kimmi Chex, to discuss how the use of data and innovative technologies are driving new insights into player health, safety and performance in the NFL.

The finalists in the Innovations category have provided the following descriptions of the technology they will be pitching during the 1st and Future program:

Genesis Helmets, Inc. – Keystone Heights, Florida

Genesis Helmets is using its computational model of the seven soft tissues that comprise the human brain, plus design and manufacturing technologies from Mississippi State University, Florida State University and Auxadyne, LLC, with the goal of developing a better-performing football helmet focused on the brain rather than the skull.

Nix, Inc. – Boston, Massachusetts

Nix's proprietary biosensor platform generates real-time data on sweat rate and electrolyte losses to empower athletes to maintain proper hydration during activity – and thereby optimize safety and performance.

Organic Robotics Corporation (ORC) – Ithaca, New York

ORC's unique Light Lace™ sensors use light to measure muscle fatigue and respiration. This stretchable sensor can be integrated into garments or even helmets, and the information generated can help athletes and training staff better assess injury risk factors and optimize performance.

GO² Devices / PEEP Performance, LLC – Houston, Texas

PEEP Performance's GO² device is a patented breathing device that increases the user's blood oxygen levels while providing the protection of a traditional mouth guard. Version 2 of the device is currently in development and will enable the device to capture data from every breath, analyze that data and give real time feedback on the physiological metrics of an athlete in order to optimize their performance.

The judges include:

  • Priya Ponnapalli, Ph.D., Senior Manager and Principal Scientist, Amazon Machine Learning Solutions Lab
  • Reggie Scott, Vice President, Sports Medicine and Performance, Los Angeles Rams
  • Allen Sills, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, National Football League
  • DeMarcus Ware, 9-time Pro Bowl NFL Player, Super Bowl Champion, Founder of Driven To Win and 3VOLT Fitness
  • Gary Vaynerchuk, Chairman, VaynerX, CEO, VaynerMedia, Co-Founder, Resy and Empathy Wines

The 1st and Future competition is powered by AWS. Together, the NFL and AWS are leveraging AWS's cloud computing, machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies to generate new insights into player injuries, game rules, equipment, rehabilitation and recovery.

This year's competition will be the sixth annual event. Within the first five years of the 1st and Future competition, innovators and data scientists have been awarded a combined total of $750,000 for their winning pitches. Former winning innovations will be featured throughout the show, many of which are now used in the NFL, such as Mobile Virtual Player (MVP)'s robotic tackle dummy and Protect3d's custom protective devices. For more information, visit

About the NFL's Player Health and Safety Initiatives

The NFL is committed to advancing progress in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of sports-related injuries. The league's approach to player health and safety is rooted in the collection and analysis of data to help guide its continuous efforts to understand and reduce injury, and protect players. Data and science are the foundation of the NFL's efforts to further enhance medical protocols, improve the way our game is taught and played, and stimulate the development of new and improved protective equipment, including helmets. For more information about the NFL's health and safety efforts, please visit

Media Contact:

Caitlin McClure