The National Football League in the US is planning to insert microchips into footballs, according to reports in the media.
ESPN says the data chips would be used for research, which in turn would be used to improve or at least modify officiating in games.
The data may also lead to literally moving the goalposts at some point in the future, as the sport’s authority is considering reducing the distance between the uprights for some reason.
The main immediate change would be that officials can be more precise about where the ball landed during first-downs or whatever. In the past, this was left to the judgement of the referee.
The chip would also help officials determine whether the ball crossed the “touchdown” line or not. In American football, the ball does not have to be literally touched down on the ground and can be in mid-air when it crosses the line and can be counted as a touchdown if the official deems it crossed the line.
In the past, chips were not used by the NFL because the technology had not been considered reliable enough. But now, it is thought that the system is sufficiently advanced to be usable.
Moreover, NFL players and officials have for the past two years worn RFID chips to track their location and exertion levels, among other things, says ESPN.