CBS and NFL Network ramped up the production value for this year’s Thursday Night Football package, bringing it up to one of the top levels in sports. More than 30 cameras capture the action on a weekly basis. And yet, there are no cameras where the NFL needs them most.
On the goalline.
The issue of goalline technology has been a major one in soccer the last few years with its advent finally coming to fruition on some of the sport’s biggest stages. Its use in the EPL and World Cup has brought clarity to what would have been impossible decisions in the past.
While we aren’t at the stage of instituting something resembling the Hawkeye system in football, improvements can easily be done to solve one of the remaining quandaries when it comes to scoring plays going under review. Even NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino admitted as much during last night’s Bears-Cowboys game after a touchdown review.
On TD ruling in #DALvsCHI it wasn't indisputable as to whether ball broke plane or not. Ruling has to stand. Needed shot down the goal line.
— Dean Blandino (@DeanBlandino) December 5, 2014
Some of the responses to Blandino’s tweet were rather self-explanatory…
@DeanBlandino Honest question…no snark…why aren't there cameras at every possible angle there?
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) December 5, 2014
— trey wingo (@wingoz) December 5, 2014
Here’s another example from earlier this season on a Thursday night that crystalizes the issue at hand:
It's amazing that networks still havent put a camera into the goalline pylons. How hard can that be? pic.twitter.com/VSkZJtEXmA
— Dr Cork Gaines (@CorkGaines) November 21, 2014
How can you tell where the ball is and whether it crossed the plane when the knee is down in that shot? It’s actually not a rhetorical question. There’s a simple answer – goalline cameras!
Amazingly, this solution was actually before the league earlier this year at the NFL’s annual meetings. The Patriots brought a proposal that would mandate six cameras to be placed on the goallines, sidelines, and endlines. And the NFL owners neglected to pass it!
For a league that literally takes in billions of dollars, billions!!, from its television contracts – how can something so simple and so important not be in place? Especially for something that, as Trey Wingo says, is such an easy fix it’s hard to comprehend why the NFL hasn’t taken this step. Furthermore, when there are over 30 cameras at use throughout the stadium why aren’t there at least two stationary cameras placed at the goalline? Couldn’t one of those cameras following around Rob Ryan every week be put to better use?
The NFL probably does have the money for any kind of technology they want to have in their stadiums around the country. They could put a chip in the ball or do GPS or have drones patrolling the field or do anything they please. The networks would be willing to do whatever the league would ask when it comes to improving production and finding someway to better capture goalline action.
Advances in goalline technology is an idea that would not only be beneficial for fans, it would have a postiive and tangible effect on the game. It would help the NFL do its job and drastically improve the ability to get scoring plays right. But the fact that they’ve had the opportunity to implement a more comprehensive system and have failed to do so is quite inexplicable.