Fans who get frustrated by bad spots from the officials, bad spots that can cost a team a first down or a touchdown, sometimes argue that the NFL should put a chip in every football that can show the precise spot where the ball is at all times. But former NFL head of officiating Mike Pereira says that wouldn’t work.
Pereira said on Peter King’s podcast that when officials miss a spot, it’s less about not seeing the ball than about not seeing where the ball carrier’s knee hit the ground.
“You can put a chip in the ball, but then you better put a chip in the guy’s knee, too,” Pereira said. “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?”
NFL V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino said last year on PFT Live: The NFL experimented with putting chips in footballs to measure how close field goals and extra points were to the uprights, to determine how big a difference narrower goal posts would make. But Blandino said that spotting the ball is far more complex than that, and the NFL is a long way from being able to use that kind of technology in that way.
Some in the NFL may have another objection: They’re old-fashioned traditionalists. Pereira acknowledged that’s part of his objection to using chips to spot the ball as well.
“You could set up lasers to replace the chain crews, but I love the tradition of some old guys running out there with a chain,” Pereira said.
That’s not a good reason not to use technology: If the technology can improve spotting the ball, the technology should be used. Tradition be damned.
But Blandino and Pereira are right that for now, anyway, a chip in the football simply wouldn’t solve the problem of missed spots.