Precision (OR Department of Good Ideas)

July 13, 2009

I must be going through major sports withdrawal… I check the Tour de France standings each morning, I’m actually a little sad that I won’t be able to watch the British Open this weekend, and I check ESPN.com for some piece of interesting sports related news much too often.

Today, my search for interesting sports related news was found on cnnsi.com as Chris Cooley (TE for the Washington Redskins) filled in for Peter King in his MMQB column. He calls it “Smart Football”:

The system begins by placing sensors in both tips of the ball and then it works with a laser or GPS system. At that point, the possibilities are endless. Technology is so advanced that determining anything that happens on the field with the ball is possible. The sensors indicate the instant the ball crosses the goal line, or any line for that matter. This eliminates officials having to slog in from the sideline, peer over 22 enormous men and try to determine from memory where the ball may have reached.

It doesn’t have to stop with the end zone, the league can sensor the first-down markers, as well.

This sounds like a really good idea to me. I’ve long mocked the contrast between the apparent precision of measuring for a first down and the inherent imprecision of the ball placement. Adding some computer aided precision could only improve matters.

Sure, there could be some issues, but it would have to be better than the human eye. Plus, we could eliminate challenges to the spot of the ball.

All in all, this sounds like a good idea to me… as long as Fox doesn’t get ahold of the frequency of the chips in the ball and superimpose a CGI tail onto the football.