Report of elimination pylons and first-down markers is premature

AP

The item posted Wednesday by CNN Money suggests that a revolution could be coming for the NFL. The truth is far less definitive.

“NFL says it has tech to eliminate pylons and first-down markers,” the headline declares. Contained therein are a series of quotes and assertions from various people that are pieced together to create the impression that major changes aren’t simply possible, but are coming soon.

There’s only one problem. All of the quotes and statements come from a video produced by NFL.com regarding the future of officiating, something the NFL describes to PFT as an “editorial piece” aimed at allowing the imagination to consider the various future possibilities.

Although the article overstates the status of the potential changes to the game, the NFL should seriously consider all technologies now available, not in conjunction with enhancing the current officiating function but as part of an effort to tear down the current system and rebuild it.

If sensors embedded in footballs, shoes, and/or gloves along with fixed cameras blanketing the field can provide precise, real-time information about whether a player has gotten out of bounds or whether the ball has crossed the plane of the goal line or whether the player was down before losing possession of the football, most of the on-field officials — who continuously prove that the naked eye can’t process reliably in real-time events happening right in front of it — could be moved upstairs, with each one monitoring video feeds and helping a small handful of on-field officials with the information they need to make the calls, administer penalties, and otherwise ensure that they are getting things right.

And that continues to be (or at least should be) the league’s overriding goal. As the opening narration to the item at NFL.com asks, “Will technology replace officials and bad calls forever?”

At some point, the first two words of that statement need to be flipped, and the punctuation mark needs to be adjusted.

28 responses to “Report of elimination pylons and first-down markers is premature

  1. remember the old days when we had to spy the first down marker at the end of the play at the top or bottom of the TV? And the official measurement was dramatic?

  2. Tennis has developed and used an electronic line judge since the 70’s. It’s very precise, and would work in the NFL. I still don’t see removing pylons, first down markers, or even many officials from the field. People trust their eyes, and like visual evidence. As for the refs, it takes like 7 of them to get a call right, and the booth hasn’t shown itself to be any more accurate.

  3. I have zero faith that a bunch of league officials in a windowless room will avoid the temptation to alter games. First down markers and pylons are one of the few objective pieces of the game we have left.

  4. The pylons and first down markers are not just for the officials and tv audience. The players eyeball those things too as they figure exact pass routes etc. (I.E. Knowing just where you have to get to on a given play) If they want to use technology to enhance officiating then fine but I don’t think it would be good to eliminate those existing things.

  5. The viewing audience at home will see those super imposed marks on the field, and then realize that when ever the Patriots have the ball the line to gain is 13 yards away… You know, integrity of the game and all of that

  6. Wait…More camera’s?? Technology being used?? Maybe Science can be useful…except in temperature vs pressure….who’s running this league? The Patriots??

  7. Remember the good ole days when it was up to Greg Brady to tell us if a player was inbounds on the winning touchdown catch.

  8. I hope not, they’ve already ruined too much football tradition with moving the extra point past the horizon. What happens when there is the unexpected technical malfunction??? Which happens all to often.

  9. It’s because you reported a story as fact, when the truth of the matter is the story was basically a “In The Future, we will drive flying cars to work!” type piece. Think Bezos and his Drone deliveries, it’s pretty obvious they weren’t saying it’s coming anytime soon.

  10. players regularly use the chains and the markers to judge where to run for. Even if they are there just to guide the players, but sensor technology confirms the spot of the ball, there still needs to be indicators on the field for players.

  11. The markers are for the players.
    They let a player know exactly when to stick the ball out when going out of bounds, and where exactly they need to be to catch the ball.

    Why remove them?
    They aren’t ugly, they are inbobtrusive, and they are useful.

  12. Sounds like some super great tech they have there.. probably really really expensive too… and yet no cameras in the goal line pylons..

    go figure

  13. There’s clearly some things that could benefit from existing and future technology, like, preventing incompetent officials from graciously(or ungraciously) spotting a ball on crucial 3rd and 4th downs when they seem to nearly get it right 99% of the time on 2nd down. They definitely could use technology to eliminate missed field goals controversy, especially when they most definitely determine the outcome of a game. And they could fix their damn clock issues which has been going on forever.

  14. “Why remove them?
    They aren’t ugly, they are inbobtrusive, and they are useful.”
    ==================================
    Perfect reasons for them to be removed.

  15. blackbug99 says:
    Tennis has developed and used an electronic line judge since the 70’s. It’s very precise, and would work in the NFL. I still don’t see removing pylons, first down markers, or even many officials from the field. People trust their eyes, and like visual evidence. As for the refs, it takes like 7 of them to get a call right, and the booth hasn’t shown itself to be any more accurate.
    ————————————————–
    Tennis is exactly what I was thinking as soon as I read this. Although the technology in Tennis has been only on the serve for years and recently they have developed a great challenge (red flag) system where the player can call for a review. I love how it works, it is great and no matter how precise it is, the fans seem to accept it along with the players. I am sure it would be harder on the gridiron just because of the size difference, more moving objects and such…but if they could put this in, we wouldn’t have to worry about officiating performing their own reviews…accept for the dreaded “was it a catch”.

  16. I think the NFL should worry more about fixing the ridiculous definition of a completed pass. Calvin caught it and so did Dez, and until the rule says those are catches, the rule needs to be fixed.

    Plus, the pylons should never go away, ever.

  17. Let’s just get rid of players and build robots.It’ll be like cyberball and we’ll charge 150 a ticket for the worst seats.

  18. Run some led strips down the sidelines to show ball progress. Never any question of spotting, breaking the plane etc.

    I always thought that the “old man making his best guess from across the field” method was pretty bad for games with such high stakes. All those inches add up.

    Pylons are for diving into!

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