USFL’s approach to first down measurements looks cool

By Jay Rigdon

A longtime and justifiable complaint about a core tenet of NFL action: no one really knows where a ball should be spotted.

It’s impressive that officials can even approximate it as accurately as they manage most of the time; it’s sort of like how home plate umpires calling balls and strikes are doing as well as humans can do in the face of a very difficult task. But like with baseball umps, there are memorable moments that stand out as an example of humanity’s innate fallibility, which we frankly get plenty of already in daily life.

Then there’s the USFL’s approach, which attempts to use technology to solve the problem. And while automation in many areas is a bad thing, it’s hard to see how giving this a shot would make things worse for football. Last night we got a look at the technology in play, and at the very least it seems cool.

Now, again, the key here is to note that the official making the original spot did a pretty solid job. Their live-action placement looked maybe a bit generous, especially compared to the broadcast angle (which can be deceiving thanks to the perspective, which confounds people who have apparently never looked at a car’s instrument panel while sitting in the passenger seat.)

The sensor, though, confirmed that the ball did indeed reach the line to gain at its furthest point of progress. That’s really cool! It’d be fascinating to see the data over the course of the season, and to see if there are any examples of the sensor delivering a grossly incorrect reading. (Our daily lives also feature plenty of examples of technology compounding rather than solving the innate fallibility of humanity.)

In any case, I look forward to the NFL not adopting this technology in time to prevent the Bears being screwed by a bad spot somehow. (Or adopting it only to see THAT screw the Bears somehow. Basically the Bears are going to get screwed.)

This is the kind of innovation leagues like the USFL should be attempting, though. Kudos to them for trying, and hopefully we get plenty of data that could help prove whether this tech is worth trying elsewhere.

The post USFL’s approach to first down measurements looks cool appeared first on Awful Announcing.