Anytime something new comes to the NFL, be it a technological innovation or a shift in strategic thinking, understanding its true impact requires asking one question above all others: How will the Patriots use this to cheat? Because like the floor of a rain forest, the Pats are shady.
Today, we consider the RFID technology that made a soft debut last season and will roll out to every stadium when the new season kicks off next month. Dubbed MotionWorks, the tracking tech relies on small monitors attached to every player’s shoulder pads and motion-sensors placed strategically around stadiums. The system measures nearly every aspect of player movement, including speed, acceleration, distance covered and, in the case of the quarterback, balls thrown, which is a far more useful number than pass attempts when considering arm fatigue.
The purpose of all of this is two-fold for every team but the Patriots. First, it’s supposed to better inform players and coaches about on-field performance. Second, it’s supposed to be interesting for fans, who can now finally settle arguments over which player accelerates the fastest out of a three-point stance. Rest assured though, Bill Belichick will find a third use for this technology—breaking the rules.
Everyone knows the Pats’ history of living outside the law. The deflating, the spying, the distracting opposing players with a ridiculously good looking quarterback. Add to those the untold number of unrevealed schemes and you can be certain that MotionWorks will only increase the Patriots' machinations.
How? That's a great question, and one I cannot answer. Certainly one can imagine the Patriots sneaking into the opponents' locker room before a game, removing the RFID sensors from their shoulder pads and putting them on the uniforms of Gillette Stadium beer guys. But that's just one idea. Asking me how the Pats will cheat is like asking me how Fetty Wap is going to write his next masterpiece. I don't know how it happens, I just know that it's inevitable.
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