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Why Doesn’t the N.F.L. Use Tracking Technology for First-Down Calls?

The N.F.L. has already put a chip within the ball. As of this season, every recreation ball has a nickel-size chip made by Zebra Applied sciences that gathers knowledge on the velocity and flight of the ball. The chips, that are utilized by coaches and analysts to judge participant efficiency, weigh about four grams. The ball is about 400 grams.

The chips aren’t utilized by referees to identify the ball, which is an even bigger technological problem.

John Pollard, vice chairman for enterprise improvement at Zebra, mentioned “additional improvement could be wanted to tune the extent of accuracy to help wants like first-down measurements and goal-line calls.”

The chips present superior knowledge however aren’t designed to pinpoint the ball’s precise location, Brian McCarthy, an N.F.L. spokesman, mentioned in an e-mail on Monday.

They’re correct to inside six inches of the ball, which wouldn’t assist when essentially the most contentious calls come right down to a lot smaller distances.

“We’re at all times on the lookout for methods to responsibly incorporate the newest know-how into all aspects of the sport,” he wrote. “For quite a few years now we have thought of varied potential first-down measurement applied sciences however haven’t discovered one thus far that we have been comfy with to deploy.”

Different sports activities have used comparable know-how for years. The USA Open was the primary main tennis event to make use of Hawk-Eye know-how, in 2006, and it has largely gained over traditionalists. Most tennis tournaments use it, although the French Open doesn’t, and tv viewers can quickly see whether or not balls land in or out.

The World Cup started utilizing GoalControl know-how within the 2014 males’s event. Fourteen cameras monitor the objective line, and watches worn by referees flash the phrase “Aim” inside a second of the ball crossing the road.

However the N.F.L. has challenges different sports activities don’t face. A Hawk-Eye spokesman advised ESPN in 2015 that the cluster of gamers round first-down and goal-line performs might make its system ineffective as a result of 25 p.c of the ball have to be clearly seen for it to work. Hawk-Eye didn’t reply to a message looking for remark.

For now, the human ingredient will dwell on. Although some Raiders mentioned they thought there was area between the paper and the yardstick, Steratore denied that and mentioned the paper was used to again up his determination.

“Didn’t use the cardboard to make the ultimate determination,” he advised a pool reporter. “The ball was touching the pole. I put the cardboard in there, and as quickly because it touched, it was nothing greater than a reaffirmation.”

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