We can put a man on the moon, but we can’t seem to apply today’s technology to improve the accuracy of the calls made by a football official. I suppose I’m a kill-joy for suggesting such improvements because part of the drama is the debate that opposing fans engage in when a questionable call is made. I think there will always be ‘unclear’ judgments made by those beloved ‘blind zebras’ but when it comes to pinpointing where exactly the ball is on the field I think they can do much better. Hey, this is the sport that gave instant replay a second chance so I think these ideas are worth the commissioner’s consideration.
I’ve always thought the casual toss of the referee’s bag to mark the location of a downed ball or a penalty was laughable. Why not arm him with something that will make this mark more definitive? With an air-powered ‘Officiator’, the referee could load the correct color magazine into this lightweight sidearm and fire directly into the turf with laser-guided accuracy. At least then Joe Running Back might think twice about attempting to snake that ball ahead a few more yards after the ref’s whistle calls the play dead.
Or how about that ‘close call’ on fourth down? You know, where the field officials signal to the chain gang to bring out their ‘highly accurate’ equipment to see how many inches short of the first down the offense’s drive is. Really?! Why can’t we develop a ‘smart’ football whose inner lining consists of a GPS studded polymer mesh ensuring that every inch of the ball can be tracked. The field could also be equipped with a corresponding subterranean GPS grid marking each yard of playable area. With this space-age system in place we wouldn’t have to watch ten solid minutes of slow motion replay footage from every angle to determine whether or not the fullback ‘broke the plane’ of the end zone (let alone watch referees fire colored flags from air-powered pistols).
The fans’ loyalty to these teams ensures that the players make bazillions of dollars. Rather than hike ticket prices further to adopt these changes I would suggest that a percentage of the players’ ginormous salaries be used to invest in these technological improvements. After all, when a ‘bad call’ is made, it’s their stats that get affected by it.