Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes wants the NFL to go high tech to improve officiating.
The NFL has a microchip in each football as a feature of its data tracking, and bits of that information are in some cases uncovered to the public through the league’s Next Gen Stats. Yet, Mahomes says the chip ought to likewise be used to make the authorities aware of when a ball crosses a goal line.
“I’ve always thought the chip in the ball has to happen sometime, where if you cross the line, it just tells you a touchdown,” Mahomes said on the WHOOP podcast, via the Kansas City Star. “The biggest thing to me is when they get in the pile by the end zone, there is literally no way to tell if he’s in the end zone or not. It’s like you said, it’s just whatever they call. … I’m sure it’ll happen soon enough.”
The issue, notwithstanding, is that on most touchdown calls, the question isn’t simply, Did the ball cross the goal line? The question is usually, Which happened first, the ball crossing the goal line or the runner’s knee contacting the ground? What’s more, a chip in the ball can’t answer that question. Regardless of whether the NFL utilized an instant replay system that profited by a microchip that told the replay official precisely when the ball crossed the goal line, that wouldn’t really assist the official figure out when the runner, whose knee is obscured by a pile of players, went down.
So a microchip in a football may assist with some replay reviews, yet it wouldn’t really be the significant fix that Mahomes is expecting.