The National Football League is reportedly in the final stages of planning to insert advanced data chips into footballs to accurately measure where the ball goes. Officials intend to determine how close footballs come to the goal posts and record how many kicks would have been missed this season if the posts were narrowed in the future.
According to ESPN, the football data chips have already been tested for preseason games. Now, the NFL only has to decide if these custom-made computer chips will be inside every football in all official games. If this season’s data suggests a significant number of field goals would have been missed with a smaller space between the uprights, the NFL will presumably shrink the regulation distance between goal posts. If the football data chips reveal that the vast majority of field goal kicks would have scored regardless of narrowed goal posts, it’s likely the NFL will make no changes to the field goals.
These football data chips have arrived along with another major change to field goal attempts to make the game of football more difficult. Last season, kickers were required to attempt conversions from 33 yards, slightly further back than the previous regulation distance. This did reduce the number of successful field goals, however, professional football teams still managed to maintain high numbers of total season field conversions.
According to Tech Crunch, only 15.5 percent of all field goal attempts failed last season. Players are reportedly doing better than ever, on average, at getting the ball between the posts, so the NFL hopes the football data chips will help them add a new layer of difficulty.
Surprisingly, many players actually support the idea of inserting data chips into the footballs as long as the devices don’t change the weight or feel of the ball. The technology could potentially provide a lot more data to professional football teams than simply how they pass through goal posts. Veteran quarterbacks are interested in the idea of seeing how the ball behaves during certain plays for the purpose of refining and adjusting football strategies.
Football data chips could also help officials record more precise information about when the ball crosses the first down line or when it crosses into the end zone. NFL players have already been equipped with similar data chips to keep track of their exact movements on the field, but football data chips have proven to be unreliable up to this point. When the ball becomes buried in a pile of players, data chips are often unable to provide accurate information. But it seems that the football data chips tested this year could be advanced enough to withstand the onslaught of impacts within the game and may be implemented for at least one season.
All of the professional football teams have already been informed of the possibility of football data chips. So far, no one seems outraged by the proposition. Unless it turns out that the data chips do actually tamper with the weight and balance of the football or are still too unreliable in a pile-up, it seems the NFL will go through with their plans. Come next football season, you could be seeing far fewer conversions.
What do you think? Should football data chips be inserted for data collection purposes? Do you like the idea of the goal posts being narrowed to make the game slightly more difficult? Does it matter if every team will be aiming at the same size field goals anyway? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.
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