Your Call Football

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Your Call Football is an interactive competition in which participants call plays in real time for a series of live exhibition American football games with players, some of whom have played in the NFL or CFL.[1] The participants watch the game via live streaming media and use a smartphone app to select the plays. A series of three games was played in May 2018 at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida, with cash prizes awarded.

Founding and development

In 2013, Forrester Research CEO George F. Colony devised the concept for Your Call Football. Colony's concept was to give fans the power to control the outcome of live, professional football games.[2]

In September 2017, the company was awarded a patent for its fan play-calling technology.[3] The company announced the awarding of two additional patents for live fan play-calling and the associated scoring algorithm in March 2018.[4]

Gameplay

On-field rules

The game on the field follows a similar format to that of the NFL, with 11 players on each side of the ball. The main rule differences for Your Call Football games include:

  • A 45-second game clock to allow time for fan voting[5]
  • No kickoffs[6]
  • No punts[7]

Participant interaction and scoring

Prior to each offensive snap, the head coach sends a list of three possible plays for voting to participants' mobile devices.[8] The play with the most votes is executed on the field, and the subsequent results either earn or lose points.[9]

Fans who pick the selected play receive a "Field Score". The scoring system works similarly to that of fantasy football, in which fans can earn or lose points depending on a play's result. A loss of yards or a turnover results in negative points, while a yard-gaining completion or run earns points.[10]

Examples of field score include:[10]

If a user votes for a different play, he or she is not impacted by the result, but can earn "Against the Grain" points if the play results in a negative outcome on the field. Fans can also receive "Coach Pick" bonus points for picking the play that the head coach would have selected. The coach's pick does not overrule the fan-selected vote.[10]

Fans' scores are calculated after every play based on the results on the field, and fans with the highest scores on the leaderboard at the end of the half, game and series win cash prizes.[11]

2018 series

Your Call Football's inaugural series began May 3, 2018 at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida,[12] when its two teams, Power and Grit, competed for the first of three weekly matchups. The teams were composed of former NFL and college players and were coached by former Green Bay Packers and current Montreal Alouettes head coach Mike Sherman[13] and former Pittsburgh Steelers running back and ESPN analyst Merril Hoge.[14][15]

The series was streamed on YCF's app and website, and also on YouTube. The on-air broadcasters included Jabari Greer, Jennifer Hale and Justin Kutcher.[16]

YCF reported that more than 46,000 fans streamed the games, and more than 295,000 offensive plays were called.[17] Approximately $50,000 in cash prizes was distributed over the course of the series.[18]

Future series

The company noted it was evaluating whether it will run another series in the fall or make this an annual event. The company also was amenable to having its technology licensed by the NFL for events like the Pro Bowl.[18]

Notable players

Many of the players on the two YCF rosters had played professional football in either the CFL or the NFL. Notable players included wide receiver Robert Meachem,[6][19] who played in the NFL from 2007 through 2014 as a member of the New Orleans Saints and San Diego Chargers. Meachem was one of four Super Bowl champions in the league, along with B. J. Daniels (Seattle Seahawks), Bernard Pierce[20] and Tommy Streeter (both as members of the Baltimore Ravens).[21][22]

According to the Associated Press, a number of players from Your Call Football's 2018 roster attended NFL minicamps or ended up on NFL or CFL rosters after the series.[23]

References

  1. ^ Kirsner, Scott (August 25, 2017). "With this app, football fans make the calls". Boston Globe. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  2. ^ "Your Call Football Successfully Implements Real-Time Play Calling, Zero-Latency Streaming in Inaugural Games". Business Wire. Business Wire. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  3. ^ Boilard, Kevin (January 27, 2018). "Tech startup owns patent that would revolutionize NFL's Pro Bowl". 247Sports.com.
  4. ^ "Your Call Football Awarded Two Additional Patents for Live Fan Play-Calling, Associated Scoring Algorithm Platform" (Press release). March 27, 2018 – via BusinessWire.
  5. ^ "Think you know more than the coaches?". Your Call Football. Lexington Herald Leader. Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Rankin, Duane (May 4, 2018). "Humphries part of 'real-life Madden' league". Montgomery Advertiser (published May 3, 2018). Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  7. ^ "Football Rules". Your Call Football. Your Call Football. Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  8. ^ "Three Former UConn Football Players Join League That Allows Fans". Hartford Courant. Hartford Courant. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  9. ^ Reisman, Laurence (April 27, 2018). "Charge your phone, 'real-life Madden' app to kick off giving fans chances to win". USA Today.
  10. ^ a b c "Play-Calling Competition Rules". Your Call Football. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  11. ^ Sandlin, Blake (May 17, 2018). "His call: KD Humphries thriving in new league". Murray Ledger & Times. Murray, Kentucky. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  12. ^ "Mike Sherman dirigera aussi dans la Your Call Football League ce ..." [Mike Sherman will also lead in the Your Call Football League this spring]. RDS Canada (in French). April 10, 2018. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  13. ^ Breer, Albert (May 10, 2018). "Pat Shurmur believes in Eli Manning. Will the Giants?". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  14. ^ Story, Mark (April 30, 2018). "Think you know more than the coaches? In new pro football league, fans will call the plays". Retrieved October 31, 2018 – via Lexington Herald-Leader.
  15. ^ Young, Shalisa Manza (December 6, 2017). "Merril Hoge, laid off by ESPN, resurfaces with interesting new job". Yahoo Finance. Yahoo. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  16. ^ Kaplan, Daniel (April 16, 2018). "Fan-powered league ready to play". Sports Business Daily. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  17. ^ Your Call Football (June 19, 2018). "Your Call Football Successfully Implements Real-Time Play Calling, Zero-Latency Streaming in Inaugural Games" (Press release). Associated Press. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  18. ^ a b Bradley, Logan (June 14, 2018). "Your Call Football Finds Success in First Series of Fan Play-Calling". SportTechie.
  19. ^ Blondin, Alan (May 26, 2018). "Former Coastal Carolina All-American joins another Canadian Football League team". Myrtle Beach Sun News. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  20. ^ Reisman, Laurence (April 16, 2018). "With Super Bowl a memory, players hope streaming app a ticket back ..." TCPalm. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  21. ^ "Former Nebraska football quarterback having different kind of pro career". Husker Corner. Husker Corner. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  22. ^ "Five Hurricanes in the Super Bowl". 247 Sports. 247 Sports. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  23. ^ "Your Call Football Develops Pro Talent For NFL & CFL" (Press release). Associated Press / BusinessWire. June 5, 2018.
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