USFL announces technological innovations for games, including new first-down measuring system


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The USFL’s inaugural season debuts next week, as the league is seeking to revitalize spring football while the NFL goes through its offseason. For the USFL to have staying power, new innovations to the game have to be a part of the product — and that’s what the league is committed to as the games are a week away. 

Like the XFL in 2001, the USFL has some technological innovations that will enhance the game and give the NFL something to consider. The league had its preseason games over the weekend and introduced a first-down measuring system that doesn’t involve the chains the NFL has been using for decades. 

The measuring system is similar to the replay system tennis uses to determine if a ball is in or out. The league has a chip placed in every football and a virtual yellow first-down line that will measure if the ball crossed the first down line or not via the virtual replay system. (The NFL uses a chip in its footballs, which are used to track Next Gen stats.)

In addition to the virtual replay system, two players from each team will be wearing helmet cams throughout the game — similar to the “Ump Cams” Fox used in the early 2000s for games (officials wore a camera in their hats that showed an alternative view of the play). The league will also use drones for alternative camera angles, showing some of the plays live with a “drone cam.”

The league will also provide access to the locker rooms at halftime (which has been done before) and have players mic’d up during games to showcase raw emotion after plays. All eight USFL teams will play next weekend, including the inaugural game between the New Jersey Generals and Birmingham Stallions on Saturday, April 16 at 7:30 p.m. 



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