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February 3, 2018

NFL 1st & Future

The NFL’s official pitch competition, advancing sports technology and the game of football.

Photo of the competition


In the lead up to Super Bowl LII, the National Football League will team with Comcast-NBCUniversal and Mayo Clinic to host the third annual 1st & Future startup pitch competition and invite innovators to share their solutions for advancing player health, safety, and performance of its players.

Up to nine startups will present their game-changing technologies to an exclusive audience and panel of judges at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis on February 3, 2018.

The winning team from each of the three themes will receive a $50,000 check from the NFL and two tickets to Super Bowl LII.

Registration is now open -- Deadline to apply is 11:59:59 pm (EST) on January 11, 2018

A picture of previous contest winners A picture of previous contest winners

Technology to Improve Athletic Performance

Advancing athlete health and performance through data-driven innovations and immersive technology.



To identify new technologies that will advance athlete health and performance at any level – from youth to amateur to professional athletes, specifically:

  • Products and applications that utilize Augmented Reality (AR) or Virtual Reality (VR) technology
  • New technologies that further enhance the ability to collect, analyze, and distribute a wide range of biometric data

Advancements in Protective Equipment

Developing football helmet technology designed to better protect athletes.



To identify innovations in football helmet technology, including but not limited to:

  • Quarterback-specific helmet innovations that consider impact specifications
  • New materials and innovations to better absorb or mitigate force

New Therapies to Speed Recovery

Game-changing advances in regenerative medicine, medical devices, and digital therapies designed to improve athlete recovery.



To identify new technologies that improve care and accelerate recovery, including but not limited to:

  • Therapeutic cells and cell-derived products that harness the body’s ability to heal itself, repair damaged tissues, reduce pain and inflammation, and restore function after an injury.
  • The next generation of arthroscopic treatments, fracture and ligament repair, and prosthetic devices that offer improved safety and efficacy compared with current standards of care.
  • Digital therapies that can serve as alternatives or augmentations for traditional therapies, and accelerate an athlete’s recovery.

*Submissions should not include substances that are in violation of the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.