Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Exercise Science

First Advisor

Dr. Mark Abel


Despite its popularity, there is a lack of research describing the physical demands of American Football. This is surprising when considering the popularity of the use of global positioning systems (GPS) within this specific sporting environment. The aim of the present study was to utilize a novel methodology to describe the physical demands of American football players by play type (run vs. pass) using a play-by-play analysis of global positioning system (GPS) outcomes. Fifty Division I collegiate American football players (Age: 19.8 ± 1.1 yr, Height: 189.3 ± 4.4 cm, Body mass: 86.1 ± 5.8 kg) wore portable GPS monitors and integrated triaxial accelerometers during competitions spanning two regular seasons. Dependent variables obtained from the GPS included total distance and total distance covered within stratified velocity bands. All movement variables for each play and play types were presented as descriptive statistics (median ± min-max). The total distance covered per play during pass plays tended to be greater across all positions than running plays. Regardless of play type, the majority of the accumulated distances were achieved through walking (5-20%) and jogging (20-50%). Conversely, almost every position, regardless of play type did not accumulate much, if any, extensive sprinting distance (50-72%), intensive sprinting distance (72-90%), or sprinting distance (90-100+%). The results of the present study indicated GPS technologies, when analyzed within a play-by-play approach may be a poor reflection of the actual positional game demands being expressed and rather, more emphasis should be on other variables suitable for the game being playing should be investigated.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)