Carolina Panthers

Panthers joining other NFL teams by introducing virtual reality

A virtual reality company is working with the Carolina Panthers to develop a program that will allow Cam Newton and other players learn from video shot from the players’ perspective.
A virtual reality company is working with the Carolina Panthers to develop a program that will allow Cam Newton and other players learn from video shot from the players’ perspective. AP

The future is now for the Carolina Panthers.

The team has joined a handful of other NFL franchises in introducing virtual reality technology to its players as a different way to educate and train.

This week, workers from the California-based company STRIVR have been at Carolina’s mandatory minicamp sessions with several GoPros on a tripod to capture practice video that they will later utilize in their virtual reality program.

“It’s kind of the new wave,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “It’s a great learning tool and teaching tool. The thing we like about it is it gives from the players’ perspective. It’s not up above or behind. It’s players’ perspective.”

Here’s how it works: Let’s say you’re quarterback Cam Newton. The tripod full of cameras sits a few yards behind the line of scrimmage. STRIVR later combines all the video and, using virtual reality goggles, Newton can rewatch the tape acting as if he’s back at the line of scrimmage.

Derek Belch, a former kicker at Stanford, created the company in January 2015 and has signed six NFL teams and 12 college teams. The Cowboys, Cardinals, 49ers, Vikings and Jets have all used STRIVR, as well as Clemson.

STRIVR came to Charlotte about three weeks ago and agreed to do the three-day minicamp.

“A lot of teams are starting to do it. Stanford has used it with great success. Now I hate the fact that it was Stanford first and not Cal,” said Rivera, who was an All-America linebacker with the Bears in the ’80s.

Jonathan Jones: 704-358-5323, @jjones9

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