The NFL has been testing an emerging technology for tracking players’ movements, ampoule which could result in a computer chip inside footballs so viewers could see every down measured virtually, the NFL confirmed to ESPN.com on Thursday.
Four companies were allowed to install cameras in a handful of NFL stadiums this season — concluding with the Pro Bowl last Sunday in Miami — where each play of the game was optically tracked and the data sent to servers. The information was processed in real time, allowing for mapping the time players spent on the field as well as their overall speed, among other things.
“This is a priority for us,” said Hans Schroeder, vice president of digital media for the NFL. “What exactly that means for next [season], we’re still trying to work through that.”
The NFL Players Association told ESPN.com on Friday that it was not aware any testing had occurred.
“We’d like to know,” said George Atallah, the assistant executive director for internal affairs for the NFLPA. “We believe that any data that’s collected on players should be shared with the players.”
While placing computer chips in footballs is not on the immediate horizon, the NFL is actively allowing companies to determine a way to track every play, including the location of the ball and where players specifically step out of bounds.