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NFL reportedly planning on embedding data chips in footballs to gauge field goals

ICE Graveyard 18/07/2016 Mark Lelinwalla

Hey, Tom Brady — deflate this football at your own risk.

According to the Toronto Sun, the NFL is planning on inserting customized data chips into game balls for the 2016 preseason, beginning next month, and for Thursday Night Football regular-season games. The Sun reports that narrowing the goalposts could be one of the results from this experiment. Our emails and calls to the league for confirmation weren’t immediately returned.

With a data chip embedded in the game balls, the league’s front office could gauge how close each made field goal measures through the uprights. The NFL could also estimate how many kicks would be missed if the uprights were closer together. This comes after kickers made a whopping 84.5 percent of their field goal attempts last season, seemingly spelling that the extra three points might be too easy for teams right now and thus prompting a change.

ESPN additionally reports that veteran quarterbacks actually want computer chips in game balls. Their only ask is that the footballs feel the same in the hand as those without chips.

The data chips in game balls would have NFL players carrying a wider tech load. In each of the past two seasons, the league has embedded RFID chips in players’ shoulder pads, tracking their GPS location on the field, velocity and distance ran. At this rate, we wouldn’t be surprised if the NFL devised a plan to track its players off the field, too.

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