Tech-tackling success: how the Dallas Cowboys are revolutionizing football

One of the most innovative franchise in sports continues a history of excellence with tech partner Lenovo.

The Dallas Cowboys teamed up with Lenovo in a collaborative technology partnership that is sure to push the game of football forward, marking a new age for the world’s biggest sports team, and continuing a long history of early adoption and innovation at the Texas franchise. 

As the first team in the NFL to leverage computer technology, the Dallas Cowboys have been leaders in tech innovation throughout their 60+ year history. That leadership continues today through the organization’s hardware tech partnership with Lenovo. There’s no limit to what they can accomplish together, but looking back at the Cowboys’ storied legacy of technological advancement can offer plenty of insight into how the fan-favorite franchise plans to stay ahead of the game.

Lenovo’s track record of collaborative ventures with leading global brands shows that they have what it takes to offer the team everything they need and more. Together, they aim to leverage cutting-edge tech solutions, for everything from redefining the fan experience to revolutionizing operations on and off the field. 

Early Adopters

The Dallas Cowboys are one of the largest, most successful, and most popular sports teams in America, and ever since the franchise began in 1960, The Cowboys organization has had a strong record of innovation, both on the football field and off.

“The Dallas Cowboys is an iconic team,” says Cowboys CIO Matt Messick, “but most people don’t know that they were the first team to use technology in sports.”

The team has been challenging preconceptions from the very beginning, fighting to bring an NFL team back to Texas after the shuttering of the Dallas Texans in the 50s. When the Cowboys joined the NFL, it was the only professional football team south of Washington D.C. Later, the team became the first to incorporate computer technology into its business and game-time strategy. Coaches and trainers also began taking a data-driven approach to player performance, becoming the first team to track player performance data in training as well as games.

“It started with simple things,” says Messick, “like timing: How fast can a player run forty yards? Back in the 60’s nobody was tracking forty-yard times. It started that trend of innovation.”

Dallas Cowboys' field with microchip and technology overlay

The data-driven strategies paid off, as the 1970s saw Dallas win more games than any other team in the NFL, and in 1971 they became NFL champions in their first of five Super Bowl appearances that decade.

The results spoke for themselves, and the message was clear: Technology and innovation make sports teams better, and the changes Dallas made quickly became standard practice for all teams in the NFL. Today, the Cowboys are still the juggernaut team they have always been with an avid fan base of more than 8 million people. In 2002 the team began a streak of 109 consecutive sold-out games. Today America’s Team is valued at over $9 Billion, still holding the title of ‘most valuable team in sports’.

As Jason McKay, Cowboys Director of Football Administration and Technology puts it, “We are the most recognizable, and most valuable franchise in sports!”

But, according to McKay, the Cowboys are never content resting on their laurels, and team leaders continue to explore the potential of new methods and technologies.

“When you work in football, the most exciting thing is getting to the point of playing games, but there’s a whole lot of preparation that goes into the process before you get there. As technology continues to evolve, so do the Cowboys.  It becomes the backbone of what we do.”

Now the team is pushing its technological prowess to new levels, with its new hardware technology partner, Lenovo.

Lenovo PC with data readouts

Two powerhouses

As they say, everything is bigger in Texas, and only one of the largest and most innovative global technology companies could stand up to the giant-sized technology requirements of America’s team. As one of the largest and most trusted technology providers in the world, Lenovo was well positioned to tackle Dallas’s hardware technology needs head-on, with power and drive like the Cowboys’ own defensive line.

McKay explains how once the organization had done its due diligence looking into partners, the choice was clear. Lenovo’s technological expertise and powerful reliable devices fit perfectly with the Cowboys’ drive for improvement.  

“Draft time is always a critical time,” says McKay. “Evaluating and getting the right people on your team is crucial. We’re the experts in football, Lenovo is the expert in technology. To have someone like that on the ground with us has become more and more important.”

The Cowboys rely on Lenovo’s expertise to ensure their team has the highest-performing hardware, extensive security, and consistent quality. With Lenovo as a partner, the Cowboys don’t need to worry if the technology they employ works to the highest standard and can instead focus on using that technology to improve their game. Two teams with two winning track records joining forces can only mean more big things are coming.

Lenovo PC with Dallas Cowboys' logo

Improving performance, on the field and off

Today, Lenovo intelligent devices ensure that offices and administrators at the Cowboys headquarters are operating at the highest standard of performance and security. Lenovo ThinkStations and ThinkPads can bring the same power to the sidelines, the practice fields, and anywhere else the team needs them. The team utilizes Lenovo tech in their talent scouting, in coaching analytics on the field, in processes tracking and maintaining inventories for all the team’s stores, as well as fan engagement off the field.

Fan engagement and interacting with more than 8 million fans around the world as personally as possible is a major priority for the organization, but so is facilitating interactions between the fans themselves. Nourishing the Cowboys’ fan community is vital to the organization’s success, according to Messick.

“Listening to the passion of the fans gives you perspective on how impactful [football] is to people. We want to connect with our fans, but we also want our fans to connect with the outside world and share their experiences.”

Taking tech outside of their offices and on the road with scouts is a priority for the team as well. One of the key advantages Messick sees in the Cowboys’ partnership with Lenovo is the versatility of Lenovo’s device offerings. Lenovo’s desktops and laptops  offer advantages for every different use case. Messick mentions his excitement by the prospect of keeping talent scouts seamlessly connected to the Cowboys infrastructure, even while out on the job.

High-tech room in Dallas Cowboys' facility.

“Every minute counts in football,” Says Messick. “Our scouts are across the country in hotel rooms, in stadiums, in colleges. Their technology needs to be squared away – needs to be perfect. Everybody needs to be operating in sync, just like a computer. With technology, there are so many different components, and they all must know what each one is doing at any given time. That’s the same way team sports work.”

And having Lenovo as the partner ensures that seamless coordination is a source of confidence, says Messick. “Having Lenovo handle the right machine builds for the right positions means those are things you just don’t have to worry about.”

The future of tech and Texas

The Cowboys’ past innovations have made a lasting mark on the game of football, and their unparalleled success has made a lasting mark on the world of sports. Even still, the team has never stopped pursuing the next big idea, and the next incremental improvement, that can push their game even further. Now with Lenovo as a trusted hardware technology partner, that pursuit can continue with even greater results. With a history of greatness behind them, the Cowboys organization never stops looking ahead to the future.

Says Messick: “This partnership with Lenovo, working together, means providing the right technology for the future, and always looking ahead.”

“That’s what I love about working with Lenovo,” says McKay. “They’re as passionate as we are.”

As this partnership between two powerhouse organizations grows, The Cowboys don’t need to spend time and energy worrying about the technology they choose to rely on. Instead, the team can focus on using that technology to change the game of football for the better…again.


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