Obviously this is just a teaser, and who knows how soon we'll see something like this in real life, but just go ahead and watch the video first before you continue reading.
The panel was called "The Future of Football: How Technology Could Shape the Next 50 Years of the Game," and while it doesn't seem like this would have much of an effect on how the game itself is played, there are endless possibilities that could change how audiences watch football (and really, everything else) at home.
The video shows off ways that Microsoft's HoloLens, its untethered, holographic, wearable computer, could seriously enhance the way we watch football on TV.
Based on the video, wearing the HoloLens might allow us to do things such as see more of the action than just what's coming through the TV, with a virtual reality feel, so you can turn your head and see different parts of the stadium to further immerse yourself in the sensation of actually being at the game.
This would also be great for watching passing plays. Normally, the view of the field is limited, and you're left wondering just where the quarterback's throw will wind up as it sails through the air. With an expanded view downfield, you can see that no-good bum heave an obvious interception into double coverage, while a wide open man on the other side of the field begs for the ball to be thrown his way instead. Think of the new levels of armchair quarterbacking this will open up. Who knows? If you're fast enough, you might even be able to tweet your displeasure while the ball is still in the air.
If you play fantasy football, you might get to look at real-time stats in your field of vision, and highlight players on your roster so you can more easily watch them under-perform and crush your fantasy dreams.
Instant replays could also be pulled up and easily watched, so you're no longer at the mercy of the network, which always seems to show different angles on every single play, except for the one you actually wanted to see a replay of. One drawback of this is that the refs will probably also have access to the HoloLens to rule on challenges, leaving us to wait for 20 minutes while they take a look at every angle of every frame to see the player met all 867 million criteria that decide whether or not a "catch" was made.
Sorry, I'm getting away from myself a little bit. This looks really cool though. It'd probably work great with the other big sports, as well. And who knows, maybe the HoloLens will pair surprisingly well with some fringe sport. It could probably also make for a better experience when watching eSports or a Let's Play.
The HoloLens looks like it'll work on horizontal surfaces too, giving you space to have even more information displayed.
So, will anyone even bother going to an NFL game if the HoloLens makes all of this possible? Maybe, but it'll probably be a while. First of all, the HoloLens isn't exactly cheap. In fact, the only HoloLens available now is the developer edition, and it's a cool $3,000.
Secondly, I'm guessing that no amount of technological innovation will be able to accurately recreate moments like this:
At least let's hope not.