NFL uses advanced tech to track 1st downs in games.

March 1, 2024


  • The NFL tested technology to track first downs during games, including the Super Bowl.
  • The use of optical technology could potentially replace sideline chain crews in the future.

In a recent NFL Scouting Combine, reports surfaced that the league had experimented with technology to track first downs during games, with the Super Bowl LVIII being one of the games tested. This technology, while not yet ready for the upcoming season, could revolutionize the way first downs are determined in the NFL.

The potential implementation of this technology could mean the end of the traditional chain crews on the sideline, which have been a longstanding feature in NFL games. Given the importance of first downs in football, using technology to eliminate human error in these determinations could be a significant advancement for the sport.

While the specifics of the technology remain unclear, the NFL already has tracking systems in place at every stadium for their Next Gen Stats. However, this technology is currently used for analytics purposes and not for in-game decisions like determining downs or player positions on the field. The introduction of technology to determine the position of the football accurately could be embraced by players, coaches, and fans alike.

It is still uncertain when this technology will be ready for regular-season use, but it is a development worth keeping an eye on as the NFL continues to adapt to modern advancements in sports technology.