NFL Optical Tracking: Replacing Chain Gang Measurement – Owners React!

Reports suggest that the NFL is edging closer to potentially replacing the traditional “chain gang” method for measuring first downs. Optical tracking was trialed at MetLife Stadium, Hard Rock Stadium, and even at the Super Bowl in Las Vegas, as disclosed by CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones.

nfl optical tracking replacing chain gang measurement
nfl optical tracking replacing chain gang measurement

The league intends to furnish NFL owners with the findings from this season’s testing, as it explores the possibility of integrating this technology, as per Pro Football Talk. While the inclination of owners towards eliminating the chain gang remains uncertain, CBS Sports notes the logistical challenge of equipping all 30 NFL stadiums with the technology by next season.

Troy Vincent, NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, mentioned to the Washington Post that there is some interest from teams and owners. Nonetheless, there’s optimism that the technology could soon see usage, albeit not as the sole determinant, as stated by Pro Football Talk.

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Any adoption of this technology would necessitate approval from the competition committee and a full vote by the owners. The technology, developed by Hawk-Eye, the same system used in tennis for video replay, is designed to ascertain the ball and players’ positions during reviews.

The use of chains for determining first downs has been a longstanding convention in the NFL. However, its efficacy has been questioned with the advancements in technology. Moreover, the NFL is also exploring the use of high-resolution cameras for instant replay decisions and smartwatches to address delay of game issues, which Vincent believes could be swiftly implemented.

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