One of the biggest problems football has yet to figure out how to fix is the constant guessing game that is spotting the football by officials. Despite numerous attempts to improve the consistency and reliability of spotting the football and the most accurate position, there may never be a perfect way to spot the ball precisely at the most accurate position on the field, even if you place a microchip in the football.
FOX officiating expert and rules guru Mike Pereira explained some of the concerns he has with the idea of relying on a chip inserted inside the football could pose, essentially smacking down the idea that adding a small piece of technology will make everything better for good.
“You can put a chip in the ball, but then you better put a chip in the guy’s knee, too,” Pereira said while discussing the idea on Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback podcast. “The ball is one thing, but it’s not over until the knee hits the ball or the shoulder hits the ground. So how accurate is that going to be?”
There is a chance Pereira may be overthinking just how far the chip technology would go in being used. Where the chip would appear to have the most use would purely in determining whether or not the ball crossed the goal line or first-down marker. Using the microchipped ball in those circumstances for instant replays would be the most helpful for the officiating in the game, as it would theoretically take the human element out of the guessing game to determine if the ball broke the goal line.
Goal line cameras help this issue, but having a microchip to help make it official certainly wouldn’t hurt. But Periera is right. Simply adding a chip to the ball poses some issues.
Where does the microchip get placed on the ball, and how would that account for a portion of the football breaking the goal line without the chip crossing to make it official? How a player is holding the ball would alter the exact placement of the chip on the ball, and there is the possibility the chip may not be on the portion of the ball that crosses the goal line.
And Pereira is correct in that sometimes the moment the knee (or for that matter, elbow, back, or butt) hits the ground will still be a significant variable the microchip can not solve.
Using technology to make the game run more smoothly and accurately is a good thing, but Pereira is correct in suggesting technology may not be ready to solve some of the issues the sport faces just yet.