NFL Mulls Putting Microchips in Footballs

Paul Lilly

It's fourth and inches on the goal line and your team is down by 6 with just seconds to go. Naturally, they're going to go for the touchdown. The running back gets the ball and dives over the linesmen where he's met by a pile of bodies keeping him out of the endzone. However, all he needs to do is reach the football out and break the plane. Did he make it?

It's not always easy to tell, and even instant replay is at the mercy of camera angles and how many big bodies are in the way. Getting the wrong call in this situation could determine whether a team makes the playoffs or goes home early, and this is just one of many scenarios that referees can get wrong in the course of a game. To help eliminate what often boils down to guesswork, the NFL is reportedly in talks with German manufacturer Cairos Technologies to implant microchips into pigskins.

"Yes, we are talking. There is a demand in American Football," Cairos sales director Mario Hanus told Reuters in a recent interview.

Predictably, the NFL was pretty tight-lipped about the possibility of employing chip-in-ball technology, but a league spokesman did say they are looking at ways of expanding their use of technology on the field.

"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.

If implemented, the chip would likely only be used to help determine contentious first-down and touchdown decisions, and could even be reserved for red flag challenges, of which each team gets two opportunities per game to challenge a call on the field with a video replay, with an additional challenge awarded if the first two are won.

So what do you think, football fans, would you like to see this technology come to fruition, or do NFL games play out just fine the way they are?

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