The XFL wasn’t just a league to help develop players, it also helped with technology. Case in point, the Hawk-Eye camera system was used first by the league, and now – a year later – the NFL has chosen to go with the service.
The NFL will use the Hawk-Eye’s S.M.A.R.T. system. Synchronized Multi-Angle Replay Technology will help officials take less time to decide on calls this year. It provides more in-depth camera angles, and syncs them with what the traditional camera system sees.
According to CBS Sports, last year’s NFL replay system took an average of 2 minutes to determine what call the officials had decided on. Hawk-Eye will shorten that time. Part of the issue is that the system depends on television producers to get the correct angles on challenged plays. Hawk-Eye eliminates that dependence.
Former XFL replay official Robert Yu said this about what Hawk-Eye can do:
“The Hawk-Eye system gives us the opportunity to have every camera feed that’s available sent directly to us and in sync. The other systems available out there are dependent on the TV producers to provide the angles [to replay officials]. It’s a system that’s not dependent on another party to provide you with the video that you’ve been positioned with. It basically eliminates a step.”
The system is known for its tracking abilities and is used in the MLB and many tennis environments. Coaches are to have Hawk-Eye to use in training camp. This is a step forward in the process. One that has taken much criticism over the years.
No doubt that if the NFL couldn’t see it in real-time, in professional football settings, they wouldn’t have signed on this year. But since the XFL tested it, and most of the fans loved the transparency, the NFL is now ready to progress the flawed process. But it remains unclear if the NFL will be as transparent as the XFL was. Nothing has been said as to whether the league will have a live camera and mic in the booth.
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