Super Bowl LI featured a handful of tech-savvy athletes, including Tom Brady, Mohamed Sanu, Julian Edelman, Martellus Bennett and others who have invested in tech.
Read about the latest sports tech news, innovations, ideas and products that impact players, fans and the sports industry at SportTechie.com.
The build up to Super Bowl LI in Houston, Texas was filled with stories about star quarterbacks, high-powered offenses and Roger Goodell. The Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots collective of tech-savvy players received far less coverage.
To start, four Patriots and one Falcon attended a “Tech” university, Texas Tech, Georgia Tech and Louisiana Tech, before becoming NLF stars. That’s a joke of course. So let’s get started on this Super Bowl LI tech-inspired list with the signal-callers, Tom Brady and Matt Ryan.
Brady might go down as the best quarterback of all time, but the four-time Super Bowl champ is racking up tech-based partnerships as well. He was featured in a recent 30-second advertisement spot for Intel, promoting the company’s new ‘Be The Player’ broadcast feature. This technology will allow FOX to freeze and manipulate 3D footage from the players’ perspective.
The Patriots 39-year-old star is also a pitchman and a wearer of Under Armour’s new Athlete Recovery Sleepwear. Brady’s TB12 brand worked with UA to develop clothing designed to help athletes’ recover while they sleep. The simple looking nightwear uses Far Infrared technology, often used to treat a specific injury, to help reduce inflammation during rest.
Ryan, who is making his Super Bowl debut, spends far less time in the public eye. And is much less of a pitchman compared to his counterpoint in New England. But the 31-year-old began training his brain off the field with a tech-based 3D multiple-object tracking system. Ryan uses Montreal-based cognitive training company NeuroTracker to help improve his reaction time and information processing speed. The QB is also the face of Georgia Power, an Atlanta-based electric utility company.
Now it’s on to some skill position players from both franchises.
One of the NFL’s best wide receivers, Atlanta Falcons star Julio Jones uses a unique brand of headphones. Jones reached out to Halo Neuroscience after he suffered a turf toe injury and began using the foam spike-lined headphones, which claim to help accelerate motor cortex functioning in the brain. The company uses “Neuropriming” technology to make “practice more productive for the brain.”
The Under Armour man also utilizes social media, mostly Twitter, to promote and sell his own branded gear, which can be purchased on his namesake website.
Patriot wide receiver Julian Edelman recently announced his partnership with the no-code app development software platform Zudy, which developed a personalized Edelman app. The receiver can update the app himself in real-time to monitor his vast array of business ventures, including his JE11 brand. Edelman promotes his brand’s pop-up shops on social media.
Falcons wide out Mohamed Sanu recently took over the Falcons’ Snapchat account using Snap Inc.’s new Spectacles during a media appearance. Sanu might be more famous for getting in on the ground floor of Fantex. The company essentially treats players like a company on the stock market, paying professional athletes upfront in return for a share in future earnings.
Traded on the secondary market under SANUL, which is up from $9.50 to $11 after he signed a new five-year deal, Sanu and his investors could make some money if the wide receiver has a big Super Bowl LI performance. Like Jones and Edelman, Sanu promotes his branded gear on social media.
Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett is the “Chief Creative Officer” of The Imagination Agency. Bennett founded his multimedia production company to create fun content for children. Bennett was honored at the Forbes Under 30 Summit in Oct. 2016, where he spoke about how he turned a book he wrote for his daughter into an animated movie, an interactive storytelling app and then a company.
Bennett took to social media recently to praise Microsoft’s new Surface Studio, which the tight end says he will soon use to create more content for The Imagination Agency. And like his fellow pass catchers, Bennett began selling his own branded merchandise online.
Danny Amendola and Devonta Freeman are both a part of the NFL’s official headphones, Bose, and its “LetsHearIt” social media campaign. The two have used social media to promote the brand and the big game. Freeman and Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler teamed up with Microsoft to offer fans the chance to design custom cleats. Freeman and Butler are set to wear the winning designs during Super Bowl LI warm ups.
Chris Long might not have a big-name tech company sponsor or his own app, but the Patriots defensive end has been saving lives through a more foundational technology that many in the developed world take for granted. Long founded Waterboys in 2015 to help provide clean water wells for communities in East Africa.
Long and the Waterboys organization drill sustainable deep borehole wells throughout the region. Installation costs $45,000, but one well can provide clean water for 7,500 people. These wells help provide women and children, who often have to spend hours each day walking and carrying water, the opportunity to attend school. The wells also help prevent water-related diseases and make agriculture possible.
The defensive end used social media and Super Bowl LI as a platform to help encourage Patriots fans to donate money to help complete the Waterboys’ 17th well.