Stan Silliman is
                  ahumorist-public speaker appearing on stage and at
                  over250 events.Stan is willing to go anywhere people
                  wantto hear about the funny side of sports


October 30, 2014



Detroit Lion Calvin “Megatron” Johnson lines up wide left.  Golden Tate is flanked far right. Jeremy Ross sits in the slot. Charles Tillman, of the Bears, gives Megatron a five yard cushion. Tim Jennings faces up Tate at the line. Matthew Stafford looks at the defense, drops five steps. Golden Tate streaks 24 yards downfield in 2.8 seconds with Jennings neck and neck. Megatron runs upfield, fakes an out curl then streaks to the flag as Stafford hits him sixteen yards downfield then advances another six yards before safety Ryan Mundy hits him but doesn’t bring him down until Brock Vereen knocks Johnson off his feet. Megatron covers the 22 yards in 2.6 seconds. Brock Vereen supported Jennings then reversed to assist Mundy on the tackle. Vereen is timed at 3.1 seconds. He covers 24 yards up and back.  And, oh yeah, Vereen’s blood pressure is 132/80 and his heart rate is 78.


Wait a moment. How do we know all this, the exact seconds it took Megatron to advance downfield before he was hit, plus his blood pressure… plus readings on every other guy on the field? We know it because the NFL has gone even more high tech, stuffing Zebra Technology sensing chips into the shoulder pads of each player and then placing motion detection sensors in twenty locations throughout the stadium.


And you thought the NSA was snoopy.  Now the NFL has enough data on each player to know if he’s hustling, loafing, taking plays off, breathing hard, what he had for lunch, if he piled on too much ketchup, and how much space should the corner back give the wideout now that we know the fractions of seconds between their reaction times.


Why don’t we just cyborg these players, wire them with bionic legs and build special made skull covers impervious to concussions? We might as well. We’re taking all the purity, all the guesswork and all the humanity out of the game.  You wanted X-Box played out in front of you? We’re almost there.


Zebra Motionworks probably doesn’t share my dystopian nightmare. They see their RFID chips as helpful additions to the game. Right now they equipped seventeen stadiums with motion tracking equipment. The shoulder pad chips will be zapping signals into a matrix of devices. If you’re Neo and you’ve taken the red pill on your way to the concession stand, you’ll be able to maneuver your way through the mass of invisible lasers bouncing signals back and forth off each other.  The rest of us uninformed will scurry about as radio waves pass through our bodies so we can know the velocity in which Matt Forte hit the hole.


It’s the nerds taking over football.   


Forgive me if I sound like a nostalgic curmudgeon but do you think Dick Butkus would’ve found it acceptable to place motion detecting chips in his shoulder pads? Hell, no. Butkus not only would have ripped the chips out but he would have hunted down the nerd who placed them there and shoved the chips down his throat. Then he would have tied him to a tackling dummy so that he can personally observe the pounds per square inches of thrust he’s getting smacked with when Butkus repeatedly practices tackling. And then, after the broken scientist has downloaded all this info, Butkus will drop kick him through the uprights.


Yeah, I said drop kick. That’s how nostalgic a curmudgeon I am.


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