Down. Set. What? New Alexa skill decodes football jargon for new - TulsaCW.com: TV To Talk About | The Tulsa CW

Down. Set. What? New Alexa skill decodes football jargon for newbies

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By Bruce Brown


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The football playoffs leading up to the Superbowl always attract new TV viewers to the games. The first-timers are made up of novice fans, significant others who don’t want to pass the time alone, and people who show up with the beer and the wings. When the TV football commentators start talking, newbies quickly realize they have no clue about what they’re hearing.

This year the NFL Media’s Digital Lab team stepped up to help decipher football terminology with a new Alexa skill, USA Today reports. The Rookie’s Guide to the NFL skill explains the terms, football slang, and jargon.

The NFL group came up with a list of approximately 2,000 football terms and recorded short explanations for each one. Typically the definitions are 30 words or fewer. If you want more info on a term, choose the “go long” option and the male voice in the skill drills deeper. You can ask about teams, players, rules, positions on the field, formations, or anything a commentator utters.

“The idea was, what if we created kind of a decoder that while you’re watching the game, you could just ask the NFL anything you wanted to know about football,” says Dan Hogan, NFL media services vice president of engineering.

If you already know the meanings of “onside kick,” “shotgun formation,” “red zone,” “blitz,” and a “Hail Mary” pass you may not need the Rookie’s Guide Alexa skill, although the NFL thinks even die-hard fans will enjoy the background and history in the skill.

NFL Network commentator Cole Wright introduces the skill and retired New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora gives a weekly update.

You likely can’t count on the Rookie’s Guide to the NFL to win bar bets. Even with 2,000 entries, the definitions and data don’t go deep with player, team, league statistics, or trivia. The NFL’s Hogan implies that if the Rookie’s Guide is a success, the league will add more data.

“This is the first skill we launched as a league and certainly the most ambitious,” Hogan says. ”This really is a bit of a test pilot for us. Our thought is really anywhere where the technology exists — you have a microphone, speaker and a screen perhaps — we think ultimately you’re going to want to use your voice.”

After you access and enable “The Rookie’s Guide to the NFL” on your Alexa device, start it by saying “Alexa, open NFL,” “Alexa, launch NFL,” or “Alexa, start NFL.”


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