There is a Hi-Tech soccer ball. Can a Hi-Tech football be far behind? Photo courtesy of http://www.fareastgizmos.com/other_stuff/hitech_football_to_end_constant_griping_by_managers_over_disputed_goals.php
There were several very long lags in the Baltimore Ravens vs. Denver Broncos game where the referees seemed to be clueless in what they were doing. It was bad enough that the fans had to sit there in temperatures that were below 10 degrees, but the players were in the same boat.
It's one thing to run around to stay warm, but when you have to stand there for five minutes waiting for a decision from the replay booth, that is crazy.
The first change we want to introduce has to do with making use of more hi-tech applications. If there are opportunities where new innovations in hi-tech could be used to improve the game, we are all in favor of that. If the end result is that it speeds up the game or helps referees to get the calls right, all the better.
Specific hi-tech improvement suggestions
1) Insert small sensor devices into the football that would allow for lasers from the sidelines to intersect with the ball. This would allow the referee to see if the ball had broken the goal line or broken the first down chain marker. There are other applications, as well. When the quarterback threw the football, was he over the line of scrimmage or not?
You could have a replay official monitoring the hi-tech screens and could then buzz or announce to the referee instantly if the ball broke the line or not. It takes confusion out of the equation and eliminates human error since the lasers would be extremely accurate.
Before you start dismissing this as lunacy, note that there is a push for the same thing in soccer. You can read about the new hi-tech soccer ball in more detail here.
2) Using technology to identify where the football is when it is blocked from almost every camera angle.
What is the best way to go about this? Good question. Put your CSI hat on and let your imagination run wild. It could be a new application with the cameras or applying some kind of chemical substance to the ball (blacklight or fluorescent) that would still show up when the player's body is blocking the ball on the replay.
If this could be created, it would allow for faster replay booth decisions, as the replay officials could determine where the ball was when a player's knee hit the ground. You could see if the ball was still in a player's hand when he went out of bounds. There would be a number of practical applications here.
3) Hi-Tech uprights. Enough playoff games are decided by a field goal, that you would hate to have the fate of a team decided due to a judgement call on whether the ball was inside the uprights or not.
Some field-goal attempts soar well over the top of the uprights that make it hard to determine if the ball truly went through the uprights or not. So, if the ball goes directly over the top of the uprights, is the kick good or not?
What if you could have a laser extending up from both uprights? If the ball goes through the extended lasers (via the replay booth), the kick could be ruled as either good or no good based on whatever the NFL Competition Committee feels is the fairest way to treat the play.
Maybe the NFL isn't ready for all of the above now, but I wouldn't mind seeing a little more hi-tech in the games that makes life easier on everybody and keeps things moving along.