Mike Pereira: Putting a chip in the football wouldn’t help with spotting

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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.

57 responses to “Mike Pereira: Putting a chip in the football wouldn’t help with spotting

  1. that’s a terrible argument from pereira — bad job by him.

    the only time the chip would come into play is on a challenge. on the challenge, the replay official could easily stop the replay at the exact moment he determined the knee touched the ground and just read the real-time chip telemetry on screen.

    1) watch video
    2) push stop when official determines knee hit the ground
    3) read on screen where the ball was when the knee touched
    4) pick up ball and put it there

  2. always thought it comical that they go running across the field with accuracy of 4″ at best, and then look at the nose of the football against the last link trying to determine within an inch if a first down has been made. And the chains location were initially determined by eyes looking halfway across the field, ridiculous.

    Once the ball is spotted, use the laser to determine the first down marker position and if the first down was made.

  3. You can take it one step further on why it wouldn’t work. You would need a chip in knee, both hips, both thighs, etc.. Then where on the knee, thigh and hip would you put it. Actually, the officials are the ones that need to be updated, be it eyesight, etc., etc.. That is where an improvement(s) need to be made.

  4. Mike Pereira doesn’t understand the basic logic here. Right now, spotting the ball is based on TWO potentially fuzzy determination: when the player is down, and where the ball is located at that time. As anyone who has ever tried to statistically model something before knows, the fewer factors that you include/need to be included, the more accurate the results will be.

    Nobody is claiming that a chip would solve everything, but it seems like a simple thing to do that at least at some times (such as the example scrappler gives above) would provide ABSOLUTE clarity regarding one of the factors in play. Maybe it wouldn’t be worth the effort, but it WOULD be useful.

  5. No one is looking at the technology to eliminate the human factor but it is ridiculous not to take advantage of it to augment it. The chip isn’t going to determine if the ball carrier was down but putting a chip in the ball would make it easier for the official to concentrate on that knee or elbow. Not to mention determining whether the ball broke the plane of the goal line.

  6. Ridiculous –

    Why not just have all officiating take place via replay camera’s and technology.

    Forget human refs too, just use AI to do it all.

    Next, go ahead replace the players with AI, so they can be programmed to eliminate all personal fouls, fighting, off sides, roughing.

    Better yet, for each NFL game, just have two kids play Madden Football using each teams schedule, then broadcast it.

    Sheesh, Cmon man.

  7. The most accurate location sensing technology that exists right now is advertised as accurate to within a few centimeters in an indoor controlled environment. Given that football is a mostly outdoor and completely uncontrolled environment, the degree of accuracy likely decreases tenfold. That said, the NFL needs to seriously consider any measure that can speed up the pace of play. Just as important as accuracy, if technology can shave 10 minutes off the length of a game, it would be an investment that would pay off 100 fold for the NFL.

  8. What happens when a chip doesn’t work at all or malfunctions?

    Do the coaches now throw the challenge flag for ‘defective chip’… then have it analyzed during a ‘Chip time out’ to determine it’s level of defectiveness?

    Hey, maybe it’s a revenue opportunity for different sponsors – This ‘Chip Check Time Out’ is brought to you by… DORITOS!”

    Do they use different balls for kicking FGs and punting, than they do for passing/running, so chips don’t get damaged or displaced?

    I can see it now… Joe Buck provides the explanation: “The Ref couldn’t confirm the correct spot of the ball because they spotted a ‘kicking ball’ instead of a ‘chip ball’… and Del Rio is FURIOUS”

  9. Cant they artificially remove the other players in the pile from the screen shot video to see the ball carrier only? They do it with skiing to superimpose one skier over another. Same principles isn’t it?

  10. Yes it would help. If you sync the location of the ball with the game clock, you can have someone visually say ‘This is the exact second his knee touches, where’s the ball at that point?’

    Is it 100% perfect and automated? Nope. But hey, these guys LOVE the human element, right? It keeps a human element in there. Its not gonna help when there’s a huge scrum or pile, but for things like ‘did he get the first down when the corner tackled him? Did the ball pass the goal line before the knee touched down?’ this would help immensely.

  11. Human officials could replay the same play a dozen times and the spot would still be a coin toss between short by a link and ahead by a nose. It’s difficult to translate a picture on the screen to an exact point on the field.

    I’m not old school, I just don’t believe that the current technology is accurate enough or that its use alone is good enough. When we get there, humans can’t be involved in any of the measurements.

  12. There needs to be a major impetus to move this forward,

    for example, AFCCG 2017, let’s say NE vs Pittsburgh, 2 seconds left, 4th & goal from the one and Pittsburg doesn’t get in on a hard to see, razor thin replay call.

    Seriously though,

    It sounds like a good idea and I’m not saying it will solve every problem but if we need to see the ball and the knee this reduces that by half. It’s about improvement, not perfection.

  13. justintuckrule says:
    Feb 24, 2017 9:46 AM
    Cant they artificially remove the other players in the pile from the screen shot video to see the ball carrier only? They do it with skiing to superimpose one skier over another. Same principles isn’t it?
    _______________________________________

    Not at all the same principles. In skiing they are taking two separate pictures and overlaying them. In the example you propose the camera does not capture images of the players under the pile if another body is between that player and the camera. The camera is not an x-ray device, so if a player is in front or on top of another the camera doesn’t see the other player at all. Digitally removing the players on top of the pile does not give you a view of what the camera could not see in the first place.

  14. It would still be tough. No matter how much they slow down the replay, it is really tough to spot the millisecond when the knee touches a blade of grass. Or does it have to bend the grass and hit the actual ground? It’s going to be too close, and it will remain the call on the field, as it is now.

  15. Maybe the NFL should contact someone over at WTA (professional tennis) to see how they handle challenges and chips in balls. Works very well there.

  16. Where would you even put a chip? And, how many would you need? If you put the chip in one nose of the ball, but it happened to be carried with the other nose forward, that would throw off the spot. If you put chips in both noses, but the ball happens to be parallel to the goal line, the edge of the ball could break the plane without either nose breaking the plane.

    And, he is also entirely correct in his point about when the runner is down.

  17. One day, football will be fake and everyone will be watching computers play football games that are so realistic, it will be impossible to distinguish them from actual people. Algorithms and forms of highly sophisticated artificial intelligence will generate an entire season that will seem real. Maybe change it to the VFL – Virtual Football League.

  18. RandyinRoxbury says:
    Feb 24, 2017 9:30 AM
    What would help greatly…
    ++++++++++++++++++

    …would be fewer sock puppet id’s.

    Who wouldn’t want to put the chip in a ball and kick it around some?

  19. Competent officials would help. And I believe the biggest concern is whether or not the ball crosses the goaline, which a chip will be able to tell you. Then the officials only have to determine if the knee is down… and anything can happen when the incompetent officials have to make a decision.

  20. corzman69 says:
    Feb 24, 2017 10:24 AM
    Maybe the NFL should contact someone over at WTA (professional tennis) to see how they handle challenges and chips in balls. Works very well there
    ————
    Not the same. There is only one dynamic – the ball. The chip would help in football on plays of breaking the plane, or spotting the ball on non tackling plays (running out of bounds).

  21. waldoampere says:
    Feb 24, 2017 10:16 AM
    OK, so put a chip in the knee pads. It’s not that hard and I’m sure the NFL could scrape up the bucks for it.
    ———
    And elbows, shoulders, butts…..

  22. What happens when a chip doesn’t work at all or malfunctions?

    Do the coaches now throw the challenge flag for ‘defective chip’… then have it analyzed during a ‘Chip time out’ to determine it’s level of defectiveness?
    ————————————————

    Last time I checked we were in 2017, they can make chips that control every single movement you make. I think that they even put chips in golf balls (you know, golf balls that get hit really hard), so I doubt that a chip will fail or maybe chips will have a minimum percentage of failure. Still I will trust a failing chip more than I trust Jeff Triplette’s judgment.

  23. scrappler says:
    Feb 24, 2017 9:20 AM
    that’s a terrible argument from pereira — bad job by him.

    the only time the chip would come into play is on a challenge. on the challenge, the replay official could easily stop the replay at the exact moment he determined the knee touched the ground and just read the real-time chip telemetry on screen.

    1) watch video
    2) push stop when official determines knee hit the ground
    3) read on screen where the ball was when the knee touched
    4) pick up ball and put it there
    ——————————————————————

    Bad argument by you, if you could see when the knee was down you wouldn’t need a chip at all. The issue is what to do when you can’t tell when the knee is down then the chip does no good. It’s obvious if you see the knee down you see where the ball is and place it there – that’s what’s done now.

  24. A chip would also help with determining if field goals and extra points are good or too wide…possibly extending laser fields from the uprights could aaccomplish that too.

  25. Man, I really miss NFL football.

    You know, when men went out and played a game, and whatever happened, happened, and every single second of every single game wasn’t analyzed for the slightest infraction, and the commissioner of the league only showed his face at the draft, and didn’t commit fraud on a regular basis.

  26. It could be useful if the ball is obscured from any camera angle. This would not fix every spotting issue. We often see inconclusive replays where the knee (or other determining body part) is down but the ball is obscured. It could help in those instances.

  27. How intelligent would the chip system be? Because you don’t need to know where the chip is but where the furthest forward part of the ball is. If the guy is carrying the ball flat against his body it’d need to be smart enough not to give the exact same coordinates as if the ball was being extended nose-first. It would somehow need to be accurate based on the farthest forward part of the ball no matter how the ball was positioned.

  28. Number one Reason for chips in footballs: PSI

    Number two reason for chips in footballs: tracking down the game -winning championship footballs, after they’re stolen.

    Number three reason for chips in footballs: see number 1.

  29. Yes lets let a bunch of old guys with potentially poor eyesight help determine the outcome of games.

    You kids and your lasers, chips and sciencey stuff. The NFL just can’t have that sort of voodoo and magic involved in the games.

  30. polegojim says:
    Feb 24, 2017 9:37 AM
    Ridiculous –

    Why not just have all officiating take place via replay camera’s and technology.

    Forget human refs too, just use AI to do it all.

    Next, go ahead replace the players with AI, so they can be programmed to eliminate all personal fouls, fighting, off sides, roughing.

    Better yet, for each NFL game, just have two kids play Madden Football using each teams schedule, then broadcast it.

    Sheesh, Cmon man.

    ———–

    I know you thought you were posting ridiculous scenarios, but I’m all for your first suggestion.

  31. metalman5150 says:
    Feb 24, 2017 11:39 AM

    Number one Reason for chips in footballs: PSI
    ————————

    Lol. The NFL certainly doesn’t want that information to be electronically tracked.

  32. Translation ” I want to save my friends jobs”
    Chips and lasers are the answer. You cant tell me we don’t have the technology. Problem solved. Make it happen.

  33. It’s pretty clear officials are lazy about spots. It’s been pointed out that well over half of spots are exactly at a yard line, a fact that indicates that officials simply move the ball to the nearest hash mark a lot of the time. There are exceptions close to the goal line and close to the first-down marker, but, really, the officials don’t care all that much.

  34. More cameras on the sidelines especially in the end zone and at the goal line would be useful too.

    So would better officiating.

    Too bad the NFL would rather spend their money pursuing phony completely fabricated cheating scandals than something that really would benefit the game.

  35. Games played by humans in there are going to be imperfections and part of those imperfections are going to occur from the officials and that is not a problem to me. As long as the officials have integrity it all balances out.

  36. We get it. All of you uneducated fans hate the officials. Yet none of you have ever officiated a game on any level. But yea you know how to improve it.

    Officials don’t line up the chains by eyeballing it. They use the on field markers as a reference point. Lasers are not needed and won’t improve anything. The chip is just a ridiculous idea. There are to many variables when it comes to spotting the ball. The number one reasoning for bad spots are the positioning of the officials. The outside officials needs to be able to keep up with the players. It’s hard to spot a ball when you are 5 yds behind a play. Younger officials don’t have the experience snd the older officials can’t keep up. That’s the conundrum the NFL faces.

  37. Make the chip a replay tool. Line up where the ball is on the field at any given time during the game with the chip and then link that against the game clock. Then when you forward to the moment the knee is down you know the exact yard line too without 5 different camera angles and guys in the way. That would help with TDs too.

  38. They can’t even get sideline headsets and ref microphones to work 100%, how can they implement more advanced technology like chips for location. Knowing the NFL, it’ll probably “malfuction” at the most opportune times (as determined by Goodell) like when a Patriot win is on the line.

  39. Truth is, most of the time we can see when the knee touches down, and chips could be helpful on those plays. Just because we can’t see it on a minority of the plays, does not mean that we should ignore the benefit of technology on a majority of plays.

    Vaccines don’t work for a minority of the population. Does that mean that we should not use them?

  40. Many times at the goal line the issue is whether the ball crossed the plane. But factoring in the knee being down it could be possible to synch the video with the ball location.

    The thing is, having a chip in the ball isn’t the best way to do it. You ideally would have some kind of coating on the football to determine where the farthest point of the ball is. It’s not always the tip of the football.

  41. Speaking of goal posts….I wish they would cut the width by 1/3 or even 1/2 so to promote much more 4th down plays and severely limiting the touchback-15 yard pass-22 yard pass-55 yard field goal with 25-30 seconds left.

  42. kemp13 says:
    Feb 24, 2017 1:07 PM
    The entire ball would have to be covered by chips to spot it, and especially to determine if it crossed the goal line.

    ——————————–

    Maybe make a giant chip in the shape of a ball!

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