Dolphins use IBM Smarter Cities technology to boost fan experience at Sun Life Stadium

Data is everywhere today. But it’s turning that data into useful, real-time information that makes all the difference.

To that point, IBM is working with the Miami Dolphins to enhance the overall fan experience for sports, music and media at Sun Life Stadium

By using analytics technology from IBM, the Dolphins are transforming Sun Life into a state-of-the-art entertainment destination.

The Dolphins will have a complete interconnected view of stadium activity — from weather alerts, to security to traffic flow into and around the stadium — allowing them to predict and act according to real-time events.

Those same analytics will allow the Dolphins to analyze visitor spending habits on concessions, merchandise and dining services to see through the eyes of the fan. They’ll be able to predict consumer preferences for both current and future events, helping to reduce inefficiencies and ultimately costs.

Sun Life is using IBM’s Intelligent Operations Center for Smarter Cities, supported on the IBM SmartCloud, to address the logistical and management challenges facing the stadium staff.

“Stadiums such as Sun Life have become microcosms of cities with similar requirements for services such as water, energy, transportation, communication and public safety,” said Gerry Mooney, GM, IBM Smarter Cities.  “IBM is working around the world to make stadiums smarter by infusing intelligent automation that senses and acts to improve conditions including rerouting traffic, predicting overflows, ensuring public safety and preventing outages.”

The Dolphins and Sun Life will also be able to use social media like Facebook and Twitter to engage with fans both locally in South Florida and around the world.

Now if only the Dolphins could use analytics technology to find their way back to the football prowess they experienced when they won their last Super Bowl nearly 40 years ago.


Deja blue all over again

Quarterbacks Tom Brady, left,and Eli Manning of the Giants have been there, done that. 

Here are 10 similarities between the two New York Giants Super Bowl runs, in 2007 and 2011:

1. In 2007 the Giants lost to the undefeated Patriots in the regular season. In 2011, the Giants lost to the undefeated Packers in the regular season. The final score of each game was 38-35.

2. In the 14th game of the 2007 season, the Giants lost to the Redskins 22-10. In the 14th game of the 2011 season, the Giants lost to the Redskins 23-10.

3. The Giants won playoff games on the frozen turf of Green Bay’s Lambeau field in 2007 and 2011.

4. The Giants won both the 2007 and 2011 NFC Championships games on field goals by Lawrence Tynes in overtime; beating the Packers and the 49ers respectively.

5. Without a first-round bye, the Giants won four consecutive playoff games in each Super Bowl run.

6. Eli Manning was the MVP in both Super Bowl wins (XLII and XLVI) against the Patriots.

7. Justin Tuck had two sacks of Tom Brady in each game.

8. Each game-winning, late fourth quarter Giant drive was sparked by an outstanding passing play,Manning to David Tyree in 2007 and then Manning to Mario Manningham in 2011.

9. In each Super Bowl, Manning vs. Brady was the quarterback matchup. In fact, Super Bowl XLVI marked only the third time in history that quarterbacks who had won previous Super Bowls faced off. Pittsburgh’s Terry Bradshaw and Dallas’ Roger Staubach met in 1976 and again in 1979.

10. Tom Coughlin of the Giants and Bill Belichick, each of whom served as assistants to Bill Parcells when the Giants won Super Bowl XXV, matched wits in both games. Super Bowl XLVI marked only the fourth time in history that coaches who had won previous Super Bowls met, joining Bill Walsh (49ers) and Don Shula (Dolphins), 1985, and Chuck Noll (Steelers) and Tom Landy (Cowboys), 1976 and 1979.


LIN-stant stardom is a rare gem

Jeremy Lin made a huge jump, graduating from Harvard to achieve NBA celebrity status.

In less than two weeks, Jeremy Lin has gone from the Erie BayHawks in the D-League to LIN-finity and beyond.

He’s burst upon the scene like a supernova, eclipsing out-of-the-box scoring records legends like Bird, Magic, Jordan, Kobe and others in the process. Jeremy is a LIN-ternational celebrity.

This kind of breakthrough is extremely rare in professional sports, where  prospects are pampered, primed and projected before they’re old enough to shave.

Very few athletes slip through the cracks and become household names as quickly as Jeremy Lin.

And no, Tim Tebow doesn’t qualify. Tebow was a Heisman Trophy winner from the University of Florida, a football powerhouse. That’s a lot different than undrafted Jeremy Lin from Harvard.

Another invalid compare is Steve Nash, the veteran 16-year point guard for the Phoenix Suns. Nash, like Lin, thrived in coach Mike D’Antoni’s system. But unlike Lin, he was a first round pick in the NBA draft.

Here are some other rising sports starts through the years, LIN-instant hits so to speak. Some went on to long and glorious careers, others flamed out as suddenly as they appeared.

NBA

John Starks bagged groceries for a time after high school and played for three junior colleges. He went undrafted out of Oklahoma State, and like Lin spent one year at Golden State before signing with the Knicks in 1990,

Starks, right, broke his arm in practice attempting to dunk over Patrick Ewing. Eventually he became a starter at shooting guard and made the NBA All-Star team in 1994.

That year, the Knicks made the NBA Finals, where they lost Game 7 to the Houston Rockets when Starks shot  2-for-18.

Long-time Boston Globe sportswriter Bob Ryan, who recently announced he is retiring following the London Olympics, compared Lin to Billy Ray Bates.

A third-round pick from Kentucky State in the 1978 NBA draft, Bates was cut by the Rockets, but emerged two years later with the Portland Trailblazers.

Bates went on to have two solid seasons with Portland, but by 1983 his career was finished.

NFL

Considered one of the best undrafted players of all time, Kurt Warner was cut by the Packers in 1994 and wound up stocking grocery shelves for $5.50 an hour in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Warner also played Arena League football and was a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Northern Iowa, before joining the St. Louis Rams in 1998.

One year later, Warner passed for a record 414 yards and was named Super Bowl MVP when the Rams beat the Tennessee Titans.

Warner was a two-time NFL MVP (1999 and 2001) and was named to the Pro Bowl four times. He still holds the top three passing yardage records for the Super Bowl.

MLB

Several pitchers achieved instant star status, including Mark “The Bird” Fidrych of the 1976 Tigers and Fernando Valenzuela of the 1981 Dodgers. Valenzuela won both the National League Cy Young and Rookie of the Year awards, and finished his career in 1997, 173 victories later.

Fidrych, left, won 19 games and was named American League Rookie of the Year. He would win just 10 more times before he career ended in 1980.

That same year, Joe Charboneau broke in with the Cleveland Indians, and was voted AL Rookie of the Year  after belting 23 home runs and batting .289. He wound up playing just 70 more games in the majors, his career finished in 1982 before his 27th birthday.

Kevin Mass made a big splash with the Yankees in 1990 when he hit 10 homers in his first 72 at bats, the best start in baseball history. Clearly a one-hit wonder, Maas was shuffling between the majors and minors two years later, and wound up playing in Japan.

Another Yankee outfielder, Shane Spencer, “The Home Run Dispenser,” had a brilliant September in 1998 for a World Championship team. However,  Spencer never lived up to the promise of that meteoric start.

Bob “Hurricane” Hazle had an amazing start with the 1957 Milwaukee Braves, hitting .403 as a late call-up to help his club win the National League pennant. A year later, he was out of baseball.

NHL

Don Murdoch scored eight goals for the Rangers in his first three games, including five in one game. He was on a pace to set the single-season rookie goal-scoring record when an ankle injury ended his year. During the off-season he was busted for cocaine possession, and suspended by the NHL.

Murdoch played 320 career games, but never came close to living up to the promise of  his first season,


LIN-sanity: Top 10 Jeremy LIN-isms

New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin has quickly become one LIN-credible story.

It’s LIN-sane.

He’s taken the NBA by surprise, Twitter by trend, and the Giants off the back pages of the New York tabloids.

You cannot stop Jeremy Lin…you can only hope to contain him.

A little over a week ago, Lin was buried at the end of the Knick bench, just up from the Erie BayHawks of the D-League, cut by both the Rockets and Warriors. Jeremy who?

He had never started an NBA game or scored more than 13 points. Now he’s setting records.

Lin doused the Los Angeles Lakers for a career-high 38 points the other night. He scored 89 points in his first three career starts, the most by any player since the merger between the NBA and ABA in 1976-77. That includes Jordan, Bird, Magic, Kobe, LeBron…all of them.

He is the first NBA player to average at least 20 points and seven assists in his first three starts since 1991.

Lin played college ball at Harvard, an institute of higher learning that has produced more U.S. Presidents than NBA players.

Undrafted out of college, he was signed by Golden State and was used sparingly last year. Lin was picked up the Houston Rockets, then waived, and signed with the Knicks as a free agent on December 27. Talk about a holiday present.

One of the few Asian Americans in NBA history, Lin is also the first American player to be of Chinese or of Taiwanese descent in the league.

Headline writers, bloggers and quipsters coast to coast and around the world are having a field day with Jeremy Lin phenomenon.

Here are the SportsLifer’s top 10 LIN-isms.

The Mighty LIN

All he does is LIN

LINcredible Story

He’s a LINtellectual from Harvard

The LIN Dynasty

Oh, the LINsanity

LINderella Story

Knicks Missing LINk

Super LINtendo

LINspiration


Top 10: Giants kings of big game drama

 

The New York Giants have been involved in more dramatic big games than any other team in NFL history. From three classic Super Bowls to overtime NFC Championships to “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” the Giants have given New York fans (and football fans everywhere) a full load of  fantastic finishes.

In the past 25 years, the Giants are 4-1 in Super Bowls and 5-0 in NFC Championship games. Six of those games came down to the final play…..and the Giants won ’em all.

Here are the 10 most exciting big games in New York Football Giants history:

1. Giants 17, Patriots 14, Super Bowl XLII, 2008 — Sparked by an impossible catch by David Tyree, Eli Manning then hits Plaxico Burress for the winning touchdown with 35 seconds remaining as the Giants knock off previously unbeaten 18-0 New England in a huge upset.

2. Giants 20, Bills 19, Super Bowl XXV, 1991 — Scott Norwood’s 47-yard field goal sails wide right at the finish and the Giants, behind backup quarterback Jeff Hostetler and MVP Ottis Anderson, defeat the heavily-favored  Bills in the closest game in Super Bowl history.

3. Giants 21, Patriots 17, Super Bowl XLVI, 2012  — Ahmad Bradshaw backs into the end zone for the winning touchdown with 57 seconds left and Tom Brady’s Hail Mary pass fails to connect as the Giants win their fourth Super Bowl and eighth NFL championship.

4. Giants 23, Packers 20,OT,  NFC Championship, 2008 — Lawrence Tynes, right, who earlier had missed two field goals, kicks a 47-yarder in overtime to beat the Packers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay in one of the coldest games in football history.

5. Giants 20, 49ers 17, OT, NFC Championship, 2012 — It’s a case of deja blue all over again. Following a fumbled punt, Lawrence Tynes kicks the Giants into the Super Bowl with a 31-yard field goal in rainy San Francisco.

6. Giants 15, 49ers 13, NFC Championship, 1991 — Matt Bahr makes a 42-yard field goal at the final gun following a fumble recovery by Lawrence Taylor as the Giants end San Francisco’s dreams of a three-peat.

7. Giants 13, Browns 10, 1958 — Pat Summerall’s 49-yard field goal in a driving snowstorm, below left, gives the Giants a victory and a share of the NFL East title. The Giants beat Cleveland 10-0 in a playoff the following week, but, then lose to the Colts in the NFL Championship game.

8. Giants 13, Cowboys 10, OT, 1981 — Joe Danelo’s field goal — and a Jets win over the Packers the next day — propels the Giants into the playoffs for the first time in 18 years. They go on to beat the Eagles before losing to the 49ers.

9. Giants 23, Packers 17, NFL Championship, 1938 — Trailing 17-16 in the fourth quarter, the Giants rally as former MLB umpire Hank Soar makes a leaping catch of Ed Danowski’s pass for the winning touchdown.

10. Giants 17, Browns 13, 1950 — The Giants trail 13-3 at the half before rallying on touchdown runs by Forrest Griffith and Joe Scott to beat the Browns, who had arrived from the All-America Football Conference to dominate the NFL in their first year..

You Can’t Win Em All

Naturally, the Giants have suffered some heartbreaking losses as well, Setbacks to the Jets in 1988 and the Eagles in 2010 knocked them out of  playoff spots. Then there was an overtime loss to the Cowboys in the final game of the 1993 regular season that cost New York the NFC East crown.

And who can forget the “The Miracle at the Meadowlands” in 1978 when Philadelphia’s Herm Edwards returned a fumble for a touchdown as the Giants failed  to take a knee and  run out the clock.

Here are the Giants five most dramatically horrifying playoff losses:

1. Colts 23, Giants 17, OT, NFL Championship, 1958 — In “The Greatest Game Ever Played” quarterback Johnny Unitas sparks a fourth-quarter rally and Alan Amache scores the winning touchdown Baltimore prevails at Yankee Stadium. It remains the only NFL championship game ever to be decided in overtime.

2. 49ers, Giants 38, NFC wild card round, 2003 — The 49ers overcome a 24-point deficit to win in the second greatest comeback in NFL playoff history.

3. Vikings 23, Giants 22, wild card round, 1997 — Minnesota overcomes 19-3 halftime deficit and scores 10 points in last 1:30 to win a wild card playoff matchup.

4. Bears 23, Giants 21, NFL Championship, 1933 —The  Bears tally a late touchdown on trick play to win the first NFL Championship game.

5. Rams 19, Giants 13, OT, NFC divisional round, 1990 — Flipper Anderson catches a 30-yard touchdown pass from Jim Everett as Los Angeles upset the Giants in the Meadowlands.


Read this blog before Super Bowl XLVI

It won’t get you a ticket to Super Bowl XLVI, but you’ll amaze your friends and relatives with these football factoids. And may you roll winners in all your pools.

Quarter Century Club: Some 25 years ago last week, the Giants won their first Super Bowl. Over the past quarter century, four teams — the Giants, Patriots, 49ers and Cowboys — have won three Super Bowls apiece. Four others — the Redskins, Packers, Broncos and Steelers — have won two apiece. No team has won more than three. The Pats have played in six Super Bowls in the past 25 years and the Giants five. So the winner of this year’s Super Bowl between the Giants and Patriots will be considered the best NFL team of the past quarter century.

Been There, Done That: For just the fourth time in history, the Super Bowl matches coaches who have won previous Super Bowls.  Tom Coughlin and Bill Belichick join Bill Walsh (49ers) and Don Shula (Dolphins), 1985, and Chuck Noll (Steelers) and Tom Landy (Cowboys), who matched wits in 1976 and 1979.

Parcell Roots: Coughlin and Belichick were both assistants to Bill Parcells when the Giants won Super Bowl XXV in 1991. Coughlin was the receivers coach, and Belichick as defensive coordinator designed the scheme that beat the heavily-favored Bills.

Roger Terry, It’s Eli and Tom: For only the third time in history, quarterbacks who have won Super Bowls — Tom Brady (3) and Eli Manning (1) — are facing off again. Pittsburgh’s Terry Bradshaw and Dallas’ Roger Staubach met in 1976 and again in 1979.  The Steelers won both encounters.

Been There, Done That, Redux: Giants-Patriots is just the sixth rematch in Super Bowl history. Steelers-Cowboys three times, 49ers-Bengals twice. Dolphins-Redskins twice and Cowboys-Bills twice are the others.

Lucky Seven: If the Giants win Sunday, they will be the first seven-loss champion in NFL history.

Coaching Icons: Bill Belichick will be coaching in his fifth Super Bowl, same as Tom Landry and one behind the all-time leader, Don Shula.

Starting QBs: Tom Brady will join the Broncos John Elway as the only quarterbacks history to start five Super Bowls

If I Were A Betting Man: How long with the National Anthem last (over/under 1:36)? How many times will they show Peyton Manning on TV (over/under 5 1./2 times)?; How many viewers will watch the game (over/under 115 million?. And my favorite — where will the coin toss land __ heads $110 vs tails $110. Point spread 3; over/under 55)

Only the Lonely: Four current teams — Lions, Browns, Jaguars and Texans — have never reached the Super Bowl. The Lions and Browns did win NFL championships four times apiece.

Longest Drought: The Jets last appeared in Super Bowl III in 1969 and the Chiefs the following year.

Glass Half Full: The Giants trailed at halftime of all four Super Bowls in which they played, yet managed to win three of them.

Giants-Pats at Harvard: Not counting Super Bowl XLII, the Giants and Patriots have met nine times in the regular season, with the Pats holding a 5-4 edge. In their first meeting in 1970, the Giants beat the Boston Patriots 16-0 at Harvard Stadium. Pete Gogolak kicked three field goals that day, and Fran Tarkenton threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Clifton McNeil. Joe Kapp was the Patriots quarterback.

Three-peat: The Patriots have been to the Super Bowl five times in the past 10 years; the previous four games were all decided by three points.

Streaking: The Pats have won 10 game in a row. The Giants are riding a five-game win streak.

Almost, But Not Quite: The Giants and Patriots came close to meeting in several other Super Bowls. A year after the Pats lost to the Bears in 1986, the Giants won their first Super Bowl, beating the Broncos. And the Patriots beat the Rams to win their first Super Bowl in 2002 — a year after the Giants lost to the Ravens.