I Have Seen The Future Of Football, And It Is GPS

In the past decade or so, football has become increasingly (and sometimes absurdly) focused on utter minutiae. Is this player 6′ 4 1/2″ or 6′ 4 5/8″ tall? Did he run a 4.43 or 4.47 40? Did the receiver control the ball before he stepped out? Did the quarterback’s arm start to go forward before he was hit and the ball came loose? And where was the nose of the ball?!

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(Plus you know he’s just watching Family Guy in there.)

And yet at the same time, one of the most important aspects of a play is spotting the ball afterwards, and it’s left completely up to two men standing about 20 yards away. Moreover, the spots are rarely challenged or changed, even when it’s obvious to people with an overhead view (like, say, everyone in the announcer’s booth or watching on TV) that the spot was ludicrously wrong. Usually, all that happens is the play-by-play man deadpans, “lucky spot for the Bears on that one,” half the viewing audience gets upset, and what should be a 3rd and 1 is a gift first down that keeps the drive alive.

But according to NPR, Priya Narasimhan, a professor at Carnegie Mellon, is set to change that. Read more…