Remote-controlled tackling dummies are trickling down to smaller football teams

mobile virtual players small football teams player
The Mobile Virtual Players that were tested by the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers are beginning to trickle down to more grassroots teams. In an effort to limit head trauma during practices, these MVPs are replacing physical players.

Each MVP stands at 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighs just over 180 pounds. Built to resemble the average football player, these are currently the only motorized, self-righting, mobile tackling dummy. They travel up to 18 mph, or about 40 yards in five seconds.

Originally, mobile tackling dummies were being tested with professional football players like the Steelers. Now that the MVP is available for purchase, smaller teams like Holy Name High are able to take advantage of it.

According to the Telegram, Holy Name’s roster had shrunk from 40 players to just 28. Injuries had decommissioned the rest of the team. After seeing the Mobile Virtual Player in action, coach Jim Romeo was convinced that the $8,000 price tag was worth the safety of his players.

“I think it’s a wonderful addition to your team,” said Romeo. “It gives you the ability to hit without beating one another up. It has a realistic feel to it. It moves really well. Kids can’t just run up and hit it like a dry bag. It really gives them open-field pursuit angles.”

Thanks to a couple of tires and some casters, the padded dummy can make sharp turns to resemble an actual player. Practicing with a moving object is a lot more beneficial than tackling a stationary one.

Back in 2010, Dartmouth coach Buddy Teevens banned live tackling during practices. Football players were injuring themselves too often outside of the games. The MVP began development after Teevens encouraged a few players that were engineering students to create one. In August 2015, Dartmouth debuted the MVP.

Since then, this mobile tackling dummy has been adopted by professionals like the Steelers, Ravens, Cowboys, and more. Other colleges like Notre Dame and West Virginia have also made use of them. However, Mobile Virtual Player feels that they make the most impact with high school football teams.

“One of the things we want to cut out, especially at the high school level, is having these guys banging their heads against one another, “said CEO John Currier. “We know that’s not good in the long term. At this age, their brains are fully developed.”

With concussions being a big issue in football these days, new tech like the Mobile Virtual Player gives players a safer way to play the game they love.

Movies & TV

To drive its giant virtual world, Ready Player One needed a custom A.I. engine

Steven Spielberg and a visual effects team led by Roger Goyett built a new, virtual universe populated by a host of familiar characters for the Oscar-nominated Ready Player One, but they still had to maintain a powerful emotional depth in…
Home Theater

If you've got questions about Ultra HD Blu-ray, we've got answers

Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and players are a killer way to beef up your home theater. Here's everything you need to know about one of the most significant advances to hit home entertainment in years.
Gaming

Did Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown fall victim to the Madden Curse?

Join us as we take a tour through the long-running history of the Madden Curse -- and Tom Brady's recent accolades. We all know John Madden is a longtime NFL talent, but is he also an agent of dark forces?
Gaming

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Outdoors

Skullcandy turns to action sports with the Vert Bluetooth earbuds

The new Skullcandy Vert Bluetooth earbuds are designed with action sports athletes in mind, putting audio controls on a convenient dial that provides glove-friendly options to pause and play music, and adjust volume.
Outdoors

Uber’s bikesharing service is eating into its regular business

A bikesharing service acquired by Uber nearly a year ago is causing riders to take fewer car journeys with the company. It is, however, part of the plan as Uber looks to offer an integrated mobility platform for cities.
Outdoors

Keep the rain away and the bugs at bay with this hybrid camping hammock

The new Kammock Mantis hammock is a lightweight all-in-one solution that includes a rainfly, built-in insect netting, onboard storage, and tree-friendly straps to create a complete and comfortable camping system that is easy to set up.
Outdoors

These wireless earbuds use an A.I. to get you moving faster

The new Soul Blade wireless earbuds provide the ability to track your heart rate during a workout while an A.I.-powered coach gives advice and info on how to improve form and efficiency while exercising.
Outdoors

The Naseka electric snowmobile is built for kids, but you’ll likely want one too

The Naseka electric snowmobile is a vehicle built for kids, allowing them to have a safe and efficient ride on snow, with the ability to trade out the ski for a wheel for use in the summer too.
Outdoors

General Motors cycles into a new market with its first-ever ebikes

When General Motors launched a public campaign last year to name its new ebike brand, many wondered if Bikey McBikeface might win out. But it didn't. Instead, it's called Arīv, and the two bikes are up for pre-order this week.
Deals

Under Armour drops prices on Gore-Tex Jackets, Pants, and backpacks

The UA Outlet Exclusive sale is going on right now through Monday, February 18. During this time, you can get up to 40 percent off a huge range of outlet items, including Gore-Tex rain gear.
Deals

Keep your MacBook safe and dry with an Under Armour backpack for under $50

Under Armour is having a huge sale this weekend to help you on your quest for a better backpack. The UA Outlet Exclusive sale is going on now through Monday, February 18th, offering great discounts on stormproof backpacks.
Outdoors

The best heated gloves keep your hands toasty warm in all temperatures

When temperatures plunge, the first thing that gets cold are your fingers. Ward off frostbite and keep your digits toasty warm with these best heated gloves.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!