These Smart Footballs Will Be Used for the NFL's 'Thursday Night Football'

By: Joey Haar - Jul 18, 2016
References: torontosun & techcrunch
'Thursday Night Football' games in 2016 will be implementing some new and potentially game-changing technology by inserting custom data chips into game balls. The chips will not be used to measure tampering -- rather, they will be inserted into field goal balls, known as K-balls, to track the precise location of the balls as they pass through, over, or outside of the posts.

Until this season, gauging a successful or missed field goal was the exclusive responsibility of the referee at the goal. Though usually a simple binary of "good" or "no good," the decision could be difficult when the ball passed directly over one of the posts. With the new data-chip implementation, tracking data will definitively answer whether the game winner will be successful or wide right.

The Thursday Night Football K-balls will also be used to more accurately track overall accuracy, potentially providing insight into whether the league should tighten or widen the goal posts to limit or increase the success rate for field goals.