The National Football Leagues pitch competition features new technologies to promote athlete safety and performance Photo: Tim Bradbury/Getty Images
In the world of tech startups, some say its best to fail fast, fail oftenand its 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 McMahons 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 Leagues 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 Sundays big game, and bragging rights for taking home what could be thought of as the Heisman of Health-Tech.
Theres lots of amazing technology out there, says Jennifer Wethe, lead neuropsychologist for the Mayo Clinic Arizona Concussion Program and one of the competition judges. But not everything is necessary impactful, novel, practical, and carries the science to back it upall things Wethe will be looking for at Saturdays startup showdown. Hopefully, some of best ideas and research projects will come to the top, she says.
The Mayo Clinic, with its flagship Minnesota hospital located fewer than 100 miles from the site of Sundays action, is co-sponsoring the event alongside the NFL and Comcast-NBCUniversal.
Wethe declined to pick a side in Sundays contest, but one startup whose founders will undoubtedly be cheering for the Pats is Exero Labs, an Ohio-based com...