Source: Gettyimages | Jamie Squire

Patrick Mahomes Has A High-Tech Idea To Help NFL Refs


May 24 2021, Published 6:11 a.m. ET

Patrick Mahomes is throwing his support behind an idea that would bring new technology into NFL officiating to ensure that referees get the right calls.

The Kansas City Chiefs quarterback spoke out this week about an idea to insert a microchip into footballs. While this technology would be used in the immediate term to better keep statistics and data, Mahomes believes it could have another application that helps cut down on missed calls and bad spots. This would allow the NFL to follow the example of other sports that have already instituted the technology.

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Mahomes Wants To Help Refs

Source: Gettyimages | Jamie Squire

As NBC Sports noted, Mahomes recently appeared on a podcast when the idea of inserting a microchip into the football came up. Mahomes put his support behind the idea, saying it could help determine when a call has crossed the goal line.

“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. “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.”

Other Sports Utilize Technology

Source: Gettyimages | Michael Regan

While the idea of inserting a microchip into a football would be novel for the NFL, the concept itself is not new. Soccer has already used a similar technology, including balls equipped with chips that were used in the 2018 World Cup.

As Digital Trends noted, this tech also helped increase fan interaction.

“The entire idea behind the ball is to get fans engaged and excited about the World Cup before it starts,” Rachel Furst, Blue Bite’s director of product marketing, told the news outlet. “So, leading up to the tournament, fans will have access to a variety of different challenges — challenges designed to bring them back every week. Some unlock exclusive videos of World Cup players using the ball or showing off their own unique goal celebration while others have users post specific photos with the ball itself.”

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Other Technologies Popular

Source: Gettyimages | Dylan Buell

Some fans and football pundits have pushed the NFL to adopt other technological advancements, including what is known as the "eye in the sky." This replay system would allow officials to get a full view of the field, notifying referees when calls are missed and potentially overturning incorrect calls on the field. Under the current system, it is up to NFL coaches to challenge plays, though officials themselves take a look within two minutes of halftime and the conclusion of the game.

Idea Has Limitations

Source: Gettyimages | Frederick Breedon

As NBC Sports noted, the microchip system would still not be perfect. While a chip inside the football could accurately determine exactly when it crosses the plane of the endzone or exactly where a punt goes out of bounds while in the air, there are other limitations. For one, referees would still need to determine whether a player had possession of the ball or they remained inbounds.

But the idea of using more technology has become increasingly popular,  especially as other sports have adopted them.


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