The NFL Has Been Putting Microchips In Their Footballs For Years, And Many Of Us Are Just Now Realizing It

(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

Andrew Powell Sports and Entertainment Blogger
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Wait, what?

During the fourth quarter of the Baltimore Ravens-Cincinnati Bengals NFL Super Wild Card Weekend playoff game Sunday, Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley (a knockoff Lamar Jackson) came close to crossing the plane before Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson knocked the ball loose. Cincinnati defensive end Sam Hubbard then picked up the ball and returned it 98 yards for a touchdown.

But there’s another part of the play that has people talking, and it’s based on a tweet from the NFL’s Next Gen Stats.

Apparently, there’s a microchip in NFL footballs about the size of a coin, and this has been going on since 2017. But here’s the thing: the league originally used the chip to help it acquire data. On the field, the chip is used to spot out-of-bounds punts — which has me thinking, “Can’t we already do that with our eyes?”

Pretty useless tool by the NFL, but the fact that seemingly everyone is only now finding out about it could open up a beautiful bag of possibilities.

The NFL has put a chip in its footballs since 2017, sure, but the league didn’t exactly blow it out of the water, and that’s obvious for two reasons: 1. Yahoo didn’t publish a piece about the chips until 2021, and 2. Everybody who did know about the chips seems to keep referencing the exact same Yahoo article, suggesting Yahoo is one of the only media outlets to have covered this.

On top of that, why the limited circulation?

It’s almost like the NFL didn’t want anybody to know there were chips in the footballs. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if that was the case. With the cat out of the bag, you’re going to have everybody and their mama demanding that chip fix up every single mistake the referees make, and I don’t blame them: as we all know, referees make a ton of ’em — including during the playoffs.

I mean, holy hell, how many bad calls have we seen over the years in huge games (both in and out of the playoffs) that completely screwed up a team’s season?

Tons of ’em. (RELATED: One Of Greatest Weekends Of Football Has Arrived. Here’s Everything You Need To Know)

Someone actually told me a few people within the league have been saying the microchips in the ball, along with swift refereeing from upstairs, will make challenges obsolete in 5-10 years, which is perfectly fine with me. Why the NFL doesn’t currently have the chips doing the refereeing is beyond me. With everything out in the open now, the league is about to get hammered with demands from unhappy fans who don’t like zebras — and there’s plenty of ’em.

Have fun, NFL.
All you gotta do is turn that microchip into the referee … so do it.