One of the most controversial games of the NFL season came in November, when the Raiders beat the Texans 27-20 in Mexico City in a game that was filled with controversial officiating. 

During that game, the refs blew two spots against Houston and arguably cost DeAndre Hopkins a touchdown on a play that was blown dead because a ref thought he stepped out of bounds, even though replay showed that he probably didn’t. 

Whenever a ref gives a bad spot to a ball carrier or whenever there’s a question about whether or not a player crossed the plane of the goal line in the end zone, one question always seems to come up: Why not put a chip in the football and take the close calls out of the hands of the officiating crew?

Well, apparently, it wouldn’t be that simple. 

During a podcast with Peter King of MMQB this week, former NFL vice president of officiating Mike Pereira explained why the putting a chip in the ball wouldn’t really solve any of the league’s problems. 

“You can put a chip in the ball, but then you better put a chip in the guy’s knee, too,” Pereira said, via Pro Football Talk. “The ball is one thing, but it’s not over until the knee hits the ground or the shoulder hits the ground. So how accurate is that going to be?”

Basically, it’s very possible that a chip might create more problems than it actually solves. If a guy’s knee is obscured in replay, then it doesn’t matter what a chip tells you because you would have no idea when he’s actually down. 

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Chips not likely coming to the NFL anytime soon.  USATSI

The other problem with the chip is that it would have to somehow account for the whole ball by creating a 3-D map, which could get expensive when you’re talking about doing that to 24 footballs per game. If you don’t 3-D map the ball, and you only have a chip on the nose of the ball, the chip could give an inaccurate reading if the nose is backwards instead of forward. 

After the Raiders-Texans debacle, the man who replaced Pereira as VP of offciating, Dean Blandino, admitted that there were a few close calls in the game. However, Blandio doesn’t think that technology would’ve necessarily solved any of the problems. 

“There’s certainly new technology we can explore,” Blandino said on NFL Network, via PFT. “We just have to be careful with these technologies because it’s not as simple as the football being at a certain spot. When was the elbow down? When was the knee down? You have multiple things we have to look at. In tennis it’s the ball on the line. There is no other factor. So you just have to look at the new technologies and does it make sense for our game, and that’s something that we’ll continue to explore as we move forward.”

It seems that what Blandino and Pereira are trying to say is that you should get used to yelling at your televisions, because the NFL won’t be putting chips in their footballs anytime soon.  

That being said, Pereira does believe there is something the NFL could do to make officiating crews better: add an eighth official. 

The league has been experimenting with this for awhile; however, in those experiments, the eighth official has been on the field. Pereira would like to see the eighth guy be put up in a booth. 

“Put an [eighth ref] upstairs. Put him in a booth, by himself, with replay equipment,” Pereira told King. “He’s not the replay guy, he’s the peanut butter and jelly guy, the PBJ, the press box judge.”

Under Pereira’s plan, the press box judge would have the power to overturn or fix calls that are obviously wrong. 

“After seeing a quick hit on the video, without interrupting the game and calling for review or even a coach having to challenge the play, let him make the call, quick down through the system that they have now, and say, ‘Hey, that wasn’t a facemask,’ or ‘Hey, that pass was incomplete,’” Pereira said. 

The NFL might actually like that idea, if only because it would presumably be a lot cheaper than outfitting hundreds of footballs with chips.