the Change I Wish to See

...and whatever else it takes to find my pants



The Detroit Lions finished the season at 0-16.  0 and 16.  Way to show up, guys.

In honor of their professionalism,  I went searching for a professional sports idea worse than having bought season tickets to Detroit's sideshow.

I had only three rules:
  1. had to have been "born" in 2008
  2. must be about sports
  3. must suck.

I didn't have to try that hard.

It turns out, some Carnegie Mellon engineering students are developing technology to stuff GPS systems into game-official NFL footballs and gloves.

Andrew Rush                          
They're also pushing to figure out how to equip them with motion sensor capability and an accelerometer to gage the speed of the ball.

According to the brainchild, aside from the "obvious" officiating advantage it would offer in games, it would also help with scouting:
"Suppose you've just lost your second-string quarter back.  You'd love to be able to find out who can replace this person.... you could have whoever you're scouting wear these gloves and... ask, well, does he throw the same way under the same defensive schemes or does he run the same way and make the same kind of cuts as a terrific running back does?"

Uh huh.

You see, sometimes we think beyond our means.  This sounds harsh, I know, but there are limits to our imaginations and boundaries for our talents.  We see it all the time.  Like when this happened:*

I learned that you really just can't party all the time when I thought my greatest idea of 2007 was finding a way to already have the ketchup injected inside the french fry by the time it got to my mouth.  Culinary professional friends and family turned and walked away in silence (actually, even non-professionals thought it ridiculous).  And I've come to understand why.  Because it would be gross.  Because you'd have deep-fried ketchup, or at best some congealed goo wrapped in potato.  And so my best laid plans were actually the crayon markings of an idiot.

I understand the worth of innovation.  I do.  But while instant replay was a step forward, auto-location services for footballs is a step into madness.   I'm not a drone for tradition, but GPS-stuffed footballs -- like they're pregnant with Tom Toms -- just aren't enough of the change I can believe in to make me abandon the status quo.  I like the old guard.  It's fuzzy and familiar.

When I was a kid, I thought I was gonna be the next Jerry Rice.**  Sometimes I slept with a football next to me -- kind of like how we'd sleep with a book under our pillow when we hadn't studied enough, hoping to absorb some knowledge (except I slept with the ball out of love and not fear).  It would have been freaking creepy if that ball was transmitting my location and how fast I rolled over in bed via satellite to anyone who wanted to know.

And since that extended analogy makes no sense in the context of game-used footballs, just wait until it rains and electrocutes someone.

And since that scenario is subject to being readily avoided by waterproofing, just know I don't have anything left other than an appeal to decency: I just don't want to watch a game with GPS footballs.

*Fair enough.  That was awesome.  But an exception.  I probably should've chosen something more in line with the rule.  Like Karl Rove doing what someone told him was rapping:

**Ignore the fact that mom refused to let me play football but let my little brother start playing when he was still in elementary school.


Nina said...

this was interesting even though i only watch football for "aesthetic" purposes only...

Sara said...

Does that mean your mother loved you more or your brother more? Because, not matter what they say...parents always love one kid more.

Liebchen said...

GPS in the football? Really? Methinks we're a little too technology-happy these days. There are plenty of things wrong with the NFL, but nothing that a GPS football will fix.

Anonymous said...

In defense of technological improvements to the beautiful game of football, I will suggest that the speed of the game has increased dramatically in the last twenty years or so, yet the ability of officials has remained relatively constant. That being said, GPS laden footballs are a bridge to far especially when simply inserting a microchip ala a hockey puck would suffice in endzone situations.

f.B said...

nina: then you must've loved the full frontal on the Minnesota Vikings player that made live TV a couple Sundays ago.

sara: i used to think his dreams were more important to her. until i realized that meant she let him risk them by engaging in violent body collisions. then it sort of evened out

liebchen: absolutely nothing. like not fining someone for making a snow angel in the endzone

refugee: maybe i could handle a baby-step. but this one giant leap into a galaxy far far away just isn't settling