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Field goals in the NFL may get a little harder thanks to sensor-stuffed footballs

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Think making field goals in football is too easy? Apparently, you’re not alone. In an effort to make those extra-pointers or three-point kicks a bit more difficult, the National Football League is toying with the idea of placing data chips in footballs during both preseason and Thursday night games to determine whether or not those famous yellow goal posts should be narrowed. The Toronto Sun reports the NFL and its associated competition committee “continue to look at” increasing the difficulty of field-goal kicking.

“The discussion has really revolved around narrowing the uprights,” said Dean Blandino, the NFL’s senior vice-president of officiating. “That would be one way to affect both the extra point and the field goal. (Success rates) have continued to climb over the years as our field-goal kickers and that whole process has become so specialized, from long snapper to holder to kicker.” Indeed, over the course of the last three seasons, NFL kickers have made 85 percent of their attempts, leading many to believe that this part of the game is simply too straightforward.

“We’ll do some studies this year,” Blandino said, referring to the insertion of computer chips into each ball kicked during preseason. Technology associated with these high-tech pigskins will help the NFL decide how far inside the posts successful field goals and extra points are kicked, the Sun reports.

No changes are slated for the extremely near future, with Blandino noting that the competition committee will decide after the 2016 season “if we do decide to shorten the distance between the uprights, what is the right distance, and where should it be to make it a more difficult kick.” But the 2017 season may be fair game for … well, a new game.

“You never know,” Blandino said. “We’ll see what the data tells us. The committee will discuss it and then make a recommendation for 2017 if they feel that we need to go that route. But I wouldn’t know at this point, without seeing how it goes this year.”

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