NFL looks at Chip in Ball

NFL looks at chip in ballBy PATRICK JOHNSTON, Reuters

.SINGAPORE -- The National Football League is in discussions about employing chip-in-ball technology to help rule on contentious touchdown and first down calls, German manufacturer Cairos Technologies has told Reuters.

"Yes, we are talking. There is a demand in American Football," Cairos sales director Mario Hanus told Reuters in a recent interview on the sidelines of the Soccerex Asian forum in Singapore.

The NFL would not deny or confirm the talks. However, a spokesman for the league said on Tuesday that they are looking at expanding their use of technology.

"We are always exploring ways in which we can be innovative with technology to improve our game and our fans enjoyment of the game," spokesman Michael Signora said.

Currently NFL team coaches are able to use video replays to challenge two contentious calls a game.

Cairos have been bidding to have their technology used in soccer to help rule on dubious goals when there is doubt about the ball crossing the goalline.

The debate was re-ignited during the World Cup in South Africa after a shot from England midfielder Frank Lampard, in a second round match against Germany last June, landed a metre over the goalline after hitting the bar but was not spotted by the referee or his assistant.

So far soccer lawmakers, the International Football Association Board, have rejected the use of the technology leading Cairos to look at other sports who could use their expertise.

"There are other sports more open to the topic maybe than soccer at this time but the requirements are different and the development was in first placed to solve that particular issue (in soccer)," Hanus said.

However, he said that the technology could easily be adapted to rule on debatable first down decisions, especially when a scrum of players block the view of the officials.

"In American Football you have the same situation, you need to cross a line and the ball needs to be over the line 100% and they (the players) are always above the ball (covering it)."

Hanus demonstrated the technology which uses a soccer ball, made by German sporting goods company Adidas, capable of holding a small chip in the centre and, should it fully cross the goalline, would send an alert to an officials' watch.

Cairos say their system, which they have been working on for nearly a decade, is not as expensive as many forecast and would prove cheaper than soccer employing two additional referees in matches, as they will use for some European games this season.

Wow I remember talking about this..

Seems like a great idea on technology for sure. However it states in the article that the ball has to be over the line 100%. I thought the ball just has to break the plane on first downs and touchdowns. Am I missing something?

…Hanus is confused and you are correct backer…in futbol (soccer) the ball has to completely cross the line for it to be a goal, in gridiron football the ball has to only break the plane of the goal line or first down line to achieve that mark…

…I’ve known this technology has been around for awhile, it is only a matter of time before it’s accepted…the only quirk to sort out is where the chip is located in a football versus a soccer ball…in a soccer ball centring the chip at the core makes sense as the ball is round, a football isn’t, but a chip in both end of the football will provide the necessary coverage to identify where the ball is relative to sideline and endzone sensors…

…I had an idea once that would do away with supermarket checkout attendants…all products are chipped, and you simply wheel your cart through an airport security sensor, it automatically scans and tallys your purchases in a second, interact to pay and voila, done in a minute rather than the individual scan-each-item process that is currently in place, but I digress…

This would never work in football. They would have to have sensors over the complete surface of the ball, as any point of the ball touching the goal line signifys a touchdown. In soccer and hockey, the entire ball (or puck) must be completely over the goal line to score, which would be much easier to quantify electronically (where a goal line laser beam could signal a goal when dead space was detected behind the ball crossing the goal line. This dead air space laser system would not work in football.)

I would think its not a bad idea... T.O. already has a chip on his shoulder... :?

who would want to play with a chipped ball. wouldnt that make it harder to throw a spiral. and what would it do to the kicking game?

Uh, FYB, chips can be microscopic and have no effect in such regard.

Also to answer the concerns of the prior commenter with the notion that the entire ball would have to be chipped, they'll figure out a way to cover the points of the ball with at least two chips for sake if it crossing the plane of the goal line.

An official's view however will trump all in case a chip malfunctions or otherwise.

apparently my use of the word "chipped" went over your head 8)

they'd likely have to have 3 or 4 in the ball.

one at each tip so that it can register.

and then you'd have to have at least 2 in the middle of it. on the outer edges like near the strings and on the bottom so that if the ball goes over the line sideways, it will still register.

it's definitely possible but you'd have to have a referee with a device that he can test the ball regularly during the game to make sure the chips are still working.. you don't want to have the chip malfunctioning in the middle of a big game and the final play and you can't tell because the chip dies.

I suggested using a chip in the ball in a post 3 - 4 years ago. I still think it is a good idea. I don't think there is a need for laser. I believe a sensor strip could be laid along the sidelines and endzones, plus the goal line. You would need probably 10 chips in the ball - one one each end and others around the circumference if the centre of the ball.

I don't know of a practical way to have the chips work for first down markings - unless a GPS type of technology would work, but the U.S. government who owns the GPS tracking satellites controls how precisely measurements are calculated and I think this falls outside what is currently in place. Mind you, they use this type of technolgy in golf, so?

They would need to have a laser-type device on the forward marker to create the "line". They do this in curling for hog-line violations and it works well.