Why the NFL is So Slow to Advance Technology

Fans couldn't believe when a ref used an index card during a critical play in Raiders, Cowboys game.

Referee Clete Blakeman watches a replay during a game. (Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

After decades of questionable calls, NFL fans have just about had it. They are sick of the slow replay machines and the index cards used to decide first downs. The past few years have seen a technological revolution that could save the league and its fans endless frustrations, while also making football a safer and more dynamic sport. But why isn’t the league actually utilizing that technology? The sidelines now have Microsoft Surfaces, and the pylons have cameras. Plus, the balls, as well as players’ shoulder pads, have been outfitted with RFID chips designed to track position, speed and distance. But these adjustments are just the tip of the tech iceberg, Bleacher Report writes. But there are football-specific issues that have slowed the pace of tech evolution Innovations need to be able to withstand all kinds of outdoor weather, from the extreme heat to the extreme cold, and also needs to be able to withstand extreme players — without causing them any injury. There is no official development league, so testing the equipment offers its own set of challenges. So the NFL continues to take a slow, methodical approach to make sure any new features don’t become a liability.

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