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.

Product Review

The all-new 3 Series proves BMW can still build a compelling sport sedan

Seat time in the entry-level BMW 330i ($41,425) and M340i xDrive ($54,995) will test the German automaker’s commitment to driving dynamics, powertrain refinement, and cutting edge technology.

Underwater survival game ‘Subnautica’ free on Epic Games’ online store

The award-winning underwater survival game Subnautica is currently available as a free download on the Epic Games store. The Steam challenger looks to attract players with a new free game every two weeks.

Our favorite fitness trackers make it fun to keep moving

Looking for your first fitness tracker, or an upgrade to the one you're already wearing? There are plenty of the wrist-worn gadgets available. Here are our picks for the best fitness trackers available right now.

Relive Nintendo’s handheld golden age with the 25 best Game Boy Advance games

The Game Boy Advance was the swan song of the Game Boy era. It also happened to have a boatload of amazing games. We decided to countdown our 25 favorite GBA games. Check it out and let us know your favorites in the comments below!

Forget pumps. This innovative filter purifies H2O in 8 seconds flat

The Grayl Geopress water purification system removes more than 99 percent of all bacteria, cysts, and viruses from water in just eight seconds, providing clean drinking water to travelers and outdoor adventurers.

Conquer the cold season with the best heated clothing and outdoor apparel

If you're thinking about going outside this winter, heated apparel is a must. Luckily, we've rounded up some of the best heated clothing, whether you're looking for battery-powered gloves or heated insoles.
Emerging Tech

Warm ski beanie instantly hardens into a head-protecting helmet upon impact

Wool hats are way more comfortable than hard helmets. You know what they're not? Safer. That could soon change, thanks to an innovative new ski beanie which instantly hardens upon impact.

Crush your next workout with the best Fitbit for every activity

Fitbits are amazingly helpful tools for setting fitness goals and tracking progress. However, different activities require different metrics. We've gathered a list of the best Fitbits for running, swimming, biking, and other activities.
Smart Home

Tired of running outdoors? Check out the best treadmills of 2018

Running can burn up to 900 calories per hour, melting away fat and strengthening your muscles.  Compared to running outdoors, you're safer staying indoors on a cushioned track. We've rounded up the best treadmills on the market

Need gift ideas? Here’s what to get the skiers and snowboarders in your life

You can't purchase snow, but you can grab your favorite skier or snowboarder some sweet gear this holiday season. We've hand-picked some of the best available that'll wow even the most well-equipped terrain park junkie we know.

Puma revives its classic 1986 smart shoe, complete with high-tech heel hump

More marketing stunt than serious effort to dominate the smart shoe space, Puma is about to re-release its classic RS-Computer Shoe. The high-tech footwear from 1986 was a breakthrough at the time, despite its unsightly heel hump.

These are the best action cameras money can buy

Action cameras are great tools for capturing videos of your everyday activities, whether it's a birthday party or the steepest slope you've ever descended on your snowboard. These are the best money can buy.

Drink what nature provides with the best water purifiers

Looking for reliable water purification? Staying hydrated is important, especially when you are hiking or camping far from civilization. Check out our picks of the best water purifiers for your camp, backpack, or pocket.

Google Maps makes it easier than ever to find a Lime bike or scooter

Google Maps has added a new feature that helps you find a Lime bike or scooter in just a few taps. The feature currently works in 11 U.S. cities served by Lime, with more coming next year.