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Microchips are already in footballs on the NFL level. We know that because the data collected from that chip is used for things such as Next Gen Stats. So why does it have to stop at providing people with fancy statistics?
Why can’t those microchips also provide valuable information, such as ball location, to assists officials? That’s not a question coming from me, although I tend to agree that it’s worth asking. This is something Kansas City star quarterback Patrick Mahomes wonders.
During a recent appearance on the WHOOP podcast, Mahomes put forth a solution for controversial goal line calls: why not use a microchip?
“I’ve always thought the chip in the ball has to happen sometime, where if you cross the line, it just tells you a touchdown,” Mahomes said, via The Kansas City Star.
“But it also the human error thing, it’s kind of like baseball, balls and strikes, it’s just part of the game,” Mahomes continued. “The biggest thing to me is when they get in the pile by the end zone, there is literally no way to tell if he’s in the end zone or not. It’s like you said, it’s just whatever they call. … I’m sure it’ll happen soon enough.”
As previously mentioned, there’s already a chip in the ball. The next step would be giving that chip the ability to know precisely where the ball is at any given moment.
There’s just one hiccup though, which former NFL official Mike Periera discussed back in 2017.
“You can put a chip in the ball, but then you better put a chip in the guy’s knee, too,” Pereira told Peter King. “The ball is one thing, but it’s not over until the knee hits the ground or the shoulder hits the ground. How accurate is that going to be?”
That’s fair, but I’m sure the technology can be used in some way to assist officials. Maybe a combination of replay and the chip will provide a clearer — though not completely clear — picture? But to be fair, that might not be something Pereira wants anyways.
“Although I feel like we’re taking the game so far off the field now with technology, I am concerned that we go a little bit too far. I’m also a little bit of a traditionalist,” he continued. “You could put up lasers to replace the chain crews, for example, but I love the tradition of some old guys running out there with the chain.”
I understand the need for the chip and still believe it will ultimately happen at some point, but I also agree with Pereira’s point. Football is a traditional game, and trying to use too much technology could ultimately hurt the product.
With that being said, officiating errors have decided way too many games over the years. Something has to be done about that.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.