USFL Controversy - Tracker Chip in the Game Day Football
Updated: Apr 26, 2022
With the conclusion of the inaugural week of the 2022 USFL Season on Monday night comes with it a new controversy that is threatening to hurt the leagues' reputation.
You may have plenty of questions regarding the special teams' performances that we received through week 1 of the USFL Season, such as:
Why did kickers only make 38% of their field goals?
Why did a kickoff sail wide out of bounds?
Why did almost all misses swerve left of the goalposts?
Well, I am here to answer them and though it may be tough to believe, it may not have been the kicker's fault.
Kickers attempted 13 field goals over the four games played and they only connected on 5 of them. There were only 2 kickers who did not miss a field goal and one of them (Brandon Aubrey BHAM) didn't even attempt any. This ends up being just under 40% of all field goal attempts, which would lead to the questions stated above, but, as I mentioned, I might have an explanation for your queries.
Information has come from numerous sources now that there is a tracker inside the Game Day football that is not found in the normal football used for training. This tracker is about the size of a golf ball and weighs approx. 4-5 ounces. That is the weight of a baseball! Supposedly this tracker is used to determine where the ball is on the field for the implementation of the virtual, chainless downs system.
There are new reports (as of April 20/22) that the tracker is not fastened to the bladder of the football, but is suspended in the middle of the ball by string fastened to each nose. The tracker is roughly 3-4 inches long by 1.5-2 inches wide and can move inside the ball. Rossi (@FrankRossi) reckons that this could be the reason the ball seemingly "wobbles" once it is in flight. I have also seen photos of some pretty irritated ankles after the week 1 games.
Many players are upset concerning this issue as they were not permitted to practice with this Game Day Ball throughout the 3 week training period. Some have even reportedly threatened to quit the league because of it. Unfortunately, a contract agreement that players signed stating they are not allowed to open up publicly regarding league issues means all of this is coming from anonymous sources, but as Rossi states, players are "Pissed".
The Bottom line is that the low quality of play from the specialist units in the USFL may not be because there is a skill gap, it might be because of a classic one-step forward, two steps back situation that happens when a young league tries to innovate.