NFL considers embedding chip inside ball for more accurate calls

The National Football League (NFL) is in discussions with Cairos Technologies, a German manufacturer, about using chip-in-ball technology to help rule on contentious plays.

Cairos embeds a sensing device inside the football. Thin cables installed at specific locations in the field are connected to a computer, which precisely tracks the ball. The referee is alerted via a message to a special watch any time the ball crosses the goal line or first down marker. The system is designed to be useful in making calls when players cover the ball and officials cannot see it.

"Yes, we are talking. There is a demand in American Football," Cairos sales director Mario Hanus told Reuters in a recent interview on the sidelines of the Soccerex Asian forum in Singapore.

The NFL wouldn't comment, although a spokesman for the league said it is looking at expanding the use of technology in helping make referee calls more accurate. Currently NFL team coaches are able to use video replays to challenge two contentious calls a game.

The debate over bad calls was reignited during the World Cup in South Africa after a shot from England midfielder Frank Lampard, in a second round match against Germany on June 27, landed a meter over the goal line after hitting the bar. The play was not spotted by the referee or his assistant.

So far, the International Football Association Board has rejected the use of the technology.