Before they began putting chips in footballs, why didn’t they ask the fans. I wonder…

(Last updated: February 2, 2020)
Chip Ball
by D.R. Wolfe

{From “The Dirty Little Secret About Transparensee” Series}

(Includes some strong language.)

“Braxton’s going deep. He’s wide open. Can you believe it? Looks like it’s going to be a touchdown for the Dogs. There’s not one player within twenty yards of him! OH! Wait! OH MY GOD! Can you believe it! The ball went right off his fingertips and is incomplete. Can you believe this?” He shook his head, as though the radio audience were watching.
“I’m sorry, but that was a catchable ball. There wasn’t even one of our boys within fifteen yards of him. Oh, my, goodness, let me take a breath and re-start my heart-”
He shot a quick look down the row to his left toward a man he knew well, sitting near the bar, wearing both a dark. black suit and an extremely large diamond. The man caught his glance and winked back, tapping his jacket pocket.
His broadcast partner took over. “Joe, that brings up a forth down. And with only a minute and twenty-four seconds left on the clock and the Dogs have no time outs left, we can just run this one out,” The burley, ex-defensive lineman to his right added, excitedly.
“Brilliant,” Joe thought to himself, as he quickly looked back at his partner.

“Better grab your cell phones and get your speed dial ready to order tickets, cause in twenty-four seconds we’re going back to the playoffs!” The big man screamed as he jumped out of his seat, taking a couple slaps on the back from the boosters sitting behind him.
“Calm down,” Joe interrupted. “Let’s wait until that clock gets to triple zeros before we start celebrating, partner.” 
“Sure Joe, good advice, because we know anything can happen. But this is a good time to remind the fans that you can order next year’s season tickets right now, online. And keep your cell phone handy,” he added, quietly, with a grin at Joe.
He continued, “And I can promise you that next year’s team is going to be even better than this one, with all the key guys on the offense coming back, and with our All American running back Willy Wilson getting healthy, and all the excellent defensive backs and other commitments we got signed up already this year. It’s gonna be even better I promise.”
“Yup, looks like we got some real good kids coming in on the defensive side of the ball who know how to bust a head and draw some blood. As good as the offense has been, the defense has been kind of soft today, in my view. Other than Carrigan, it just didn’t seem like anyone else on the D came ready to hurt the Dogs.”
So let’s all take a deep breath and see what happens here. The offense can take a few snaps and kick it away, and that should be enough to run this one out, and with no time outs, take this four point victory. Remember, the Dogs are ranked in the top twenty, so that’s gonna help us a lot come Monday morning when the last rankings come out. But as you said partner, anything can happen in this crazy game,” he added, glancing off to his friend sitting at the bar again.
With another victory, Joe signed off in his usual way, turning it over to his broadcast partner. The two had been working together for nine years now, and had a good relationship. But his partner didn’t know everything.
As he thought about what the victory meant, he fixed his view on the departing crowd behind him. The colorful, blurry masses continued to swarm onto the field. He clicked off the microphone and got to his feet. Then he slapped his partner’s shoulder, who was grinning wide as he described to the fans the missed catch, one more time. Silently, they shook hands and bumped knuckles, as they usually did when they parted.
Then he turned in the other direction, and headed toward where his friend and clandestine financial advisor was sitting. He noticed
a small ruckus crowd had already gathered in front of the bar, located near the end of the private, exclusive booth where the broadcasters and other special guests watched the home games. It comfortably seated about eighty people, and it was full.

The booth was surrounded by one-way glass on all sides, from floor to ceiling. It was a spectacular view of both the field and the south side of the city. From the booth, you could watch the partiers on the boats docked along the river and from time-to-time you could see the sparkle of water in the sunlight as a swimmer splashed into the slow moving current.
He carefully Wedged himself into a narrow space between his dark suited friend and another stool, which was already occupied by one of the security people. The bar could seat about thirty people and was already completely full. He knew in another fifteen minutes or so the crowd at the bar would be standing three rows deep.
“Hey, good to see you Joe. Say, sure was a great game?” the security guy said. Joe couldn’t remember the blond-headed, stocky man’s first name, and wasn’t absolutely positive about his last name.
“Decker?” or “Deckley?” He thought. He had probably called it out dozens of times while he played ball for the home team. But, it was over twelve or thirteen years ago. So instead, Joe did what he always did with any other familiar face, and gripped his hand and gave him a couple firm shakes, and smiled big.
Joe knew the burley security guy had been a regular figure in the booth this season when is friend was around, which pretty much was every single home game and every single away game. He ought to know. “What was his name,” he thought to himself one more time.

“That whole offense is catching everything our quarterbacks are throwing Joe!” He exclaimed. “You gotta admit, those backs are amazing, catching the ball without having to turn around and look!” The security guy said, laughing aloud. “I’ve never seen anything like it!”
Joe answered, stepping a little closer and pulling his drink toward him, as the crowd began to close in. “I’d like to see a little more push out of the D line, but I think we’ll do fine in the playoffs, since this win means we’re definitely in.”
“Sure nice to see how things have turned around here. It’s been a great decade! You remember, back when I played center, the best we ever did was when we won seven games my junior year. And a couple of those wins could have gone either way, but we got lucky and went over 500 that year, which was a big improvement from that winless season we had two years earlier.””

“Too bad, we didn’t have receivers and backs, like this back then Joe.” He said, as he took a big swig.

“Damn, I can’t believe some of those balls those guys were catching out there today. It was a regular human circus” He yelped and slapped the counter, and took another drink.

The blond-bearded guard was smiling big and laughing pretty loud. A few fans stopped talking and looked. Joe noticed the attention they were suddenly getting, and waived. He also noticed, the center was drinking some clear liquid over ice, on the job, that Joe suspected wasn’t just water.
Giving the Ex-O-lineman a gentle slap on the arm, Joe turned back to his right and saw that his mentor had hung up the phone, and was looking at him and smiling. And in that moment an understanding was passed between them and it probably couldn’t ever be put into words.

The understanding was that everything in their world had changed completely. It felt like they were giants living among helpless blind termites, who had no idea what was happening deep inside the mound…

“Hope you were able to get your order in, Joe. Like I said, sometimes we don’t get the exact number, especially when we need to keep it close, but we haven’t missed in awhile on the spread, as far as making sure we end up on the right side of things. But a lot goes into it.”

Joe nodded. The wealthy man continued, “As we expected, there are more and more hands looking for a piece of the action. So we have to spread the wealth around a little more than we’d prefer, like having to let a couple more of the suits at the networks in on it. But don’t worry Joe, I can assure you our boys here will always, always get a little help from their friends in the booth-” He chuckled and took a pull on a cigar and tapped his jacket pocket and smiled.
“Yes sir, got it in. Thanks for asking. Things haven’t been better, as far as the finances go. What’s funny,” Joe began, leaning over toward the grandfatherly figure and whispering. “Is how much the winner and loser thing matters to everyone else. And to tell you the truth, I don’t give a damn any more about it, at all. Only the score matters, isn’t that funny?” Joe asked cautiously , as if he were in deep thought.
They both chuckled and took a large swallow from their drinks. The tall glass in front of Joe was almost empty. The bartender always knew to have a couple of Those Long Island ice teas ready the instant he signed off. Joe noticed his favorite bartender was already putting together another one for him. Joe gave him a quick nod and smile.
“when I’m doing the games now. It’s like reading from a script. So I make the best of it and pretend to care-” he said as he took another sip. “But I don’t give a shit any more about the game. I just look forward to the after game party, and then the after party, after the game party.” His friend chuckled.
He thought back, before he had met his new wealthy friend he was spending about forty minutes every week doing the complete post-game show. ‘It sucked’, he thought to himself.

Ever since they started winning, his new contract guaranteed that he would never be on the air after the completion of any home games, and only one extra segment when they were on the road.
He thought about where he was going to take the wife and kids this winter. It needed to be somewhere really, really special. Maybe the South Pacific, like New Zealand. Ironically, he always wanted to swim with the sharks. He smiled, and glanced at his friend.
Because of his deposits and investments, his Cayman accounts had more than doubled over the last three months. And if everything played out right in the playoffs, he predicted it would double again over the next month.
It was so funny, he thought, and the fans believed the playoffs were created for them…to decide things on the field! What a hoot!
The two men stared at the eight foot tall computer screen. A quarterback was launching a football toward the end zone, where another player was running down the field. As they watched, the scene was being played back in super slow motion, as a digital clock slowly ticked away. They stared closely as the arcking ball traveled perfectly along a bright green computer generated line.
The young scientist began, “That green line represents the ball’s path from beginning to end, based on a mathematical equation which predicts its entire path along with the point where it will most likely reach the nearest obstacle, usually a player or the ground. It’s 99.97% correct, withstanding any outside forces.”
“We’re able to obtain the information by monitoring every aspect of the ball as it travels, including its surrounding environment. In other words, everything that’s happening, both inside and outside of the ball.”
“For our test, we have also placed similar sensors throughout the playing field that will track all the players and all of their movements, along with all other atmospheric conditions that may effect the ball’s trajectory, such as rain, snow or wind.”
“Now watch closely, as I re-direct the ball.”
As the older man watched the ball closely, the trajectory of the football slowly began to change its path, gradually moving away from the green line as it approached the receiver.
At the same time, a caricature of the same young scientist sitting next to him could be seen in the lower left corner of the screen holding a small device.
The younger scientist began, “The footballs are made with two mini-micro chips, which are located at each tip, so as to not change the weight or balance of the ball.” Even though the chips weigh almost nothing. The ball’s leather covering is imbedded with crystalline silicon core fibres, which weigh less than the chips.”

“The chip allows us to not only access it’s exact location on the field at any given moment, to a tenth of a centimeter, we can also determine the ball’s current temperature, speed, velocity and therefore, its trajectory.”
“It’s pretty basic science. We know the temperature outside the ball, barometric pressure and the wind speed,, all of which effect the flight of the ball. As you can see from the green line, At the very instant the ball becomes airborne we can fairly accurately determine the pressure placed on the ball by the thrower or kicker, and predict the balls exact point of location at any moment into the future. And we can predict when and how it will reach the next player, based on that player’s location, speed and direction. Like I said, we’re over 99% accurate, not withstanding an outside force, like the player falling down or if there’s a gust of winds.”
Smiling at the older man’s intense interest in what he was saying, he continued, “Knowing exactly where the ball is going to land may also prove useful to the receivers and defenders. I have some good ideas about how we might be able to instantly and secretly send the data to our players using the back of the jersey as a tactical grid, but I’m still working on that.”
“They’re already using this same tactical technology combined with cameras for some of those blind people who can’t see. Of course, this means the players would have to know some of what we’re doing here in order to practice wearing the jersey and accurately interpreting the tactical data we’re providing.”
“That’s amazing,” the older friend of Joe’s responded to the younger scientist’s detailed explanation. “And there’s something else about this chip, I understand you wanted to share with me personally, and nobody else?”
“Yes sir, there’s something else, real important.” The younger man answered, nervously.
The older man recognized the young, attractive man’s nervousness, and touched his arm. He calmly responded to his concern. “I can assure you this will only be shared with a few of my most trusted people. And that’s why I’m here on behalf of the entire group, to listen and see what we can work out. I already suspect you’ll have a very bright future working with us-” They both smiled.
Then the smaller man eagerly went on, as though needing to unburden himself with some well-guarded secret he didn’t want to keep to himself a second longer.
“You see, the chip also has another special ability. Using wireless technology, the chip and the crystalline fibres can be used to alter the ball’s path wile in flight, as like is done with a miniature drone that’s transporting a missile, five or ten times it’s size, but even simpler than that.”

“What happens,” he continued. “Activated by a remote control device, the chip generates a magnetic field along any side of the chip we choose. The two chips in conjunction with the crystalline silicon core fibres act like small engines.”

“And gravity is our best friend,” he says with a nod. “Working with gravity we can cause the ball to pull in one direction or another direction, if we choose. If we want the ball to move left or right or down, it’s easy, since gravity acts as the major force on the ball. And if you want to know how strong gravity is, jump off a ten story building with a football in each hand!” They both laughed.
“We simply give the ball a little nudge.”
They both nodded, as though they already had an understanding about what this meant. “To get the ball to move up, like for a field goal, is not impossible, but a whole lot less predictable, but the other direction changes are easy.”
“You should also have the targeted outcome at least eight or ten yards down field to best assure success for the objective your seeking. In other words it takes time to set up the change you want. Does that make sense?” He asked the older, handsome man, who was still touching his shoulder.
“Yes, I can see how it works. But okay, let me ask. How will no one notice it, especially the player? I mean, if people start noticing the ball is changing direction for no reason, especially the players on the field, seems like it would be pretty hard to keep this a SECRET for long. And I prefer secrets, you know.”
“Yes, me too. If they even noticed. But, no, no one will notice, not even the player. We’ve tested these balls all around the country during live games. No one knows. First the fans could never tell, the change is so gradual, you can’t tell. And you see, the player’s brain can only measure and react to an object, depending on its speed, when it is more than a few yards away. So any change that occurs closer than that will be completely unnoticed by the conscious brain.”

“As the ball approaches, the player only wants to catch the ball, and nothing else matters.” The young scientist answered, grinning.
He went on, “The player having the ball pulled out of his reach will be unable to comprehend or react quick enough, if the change is very gradual and doesn’t begin to take place until the ball is within this safe range, we call z.”
“Once z is reached, it only takes a change of a few centimeters at most at the beginning of the ball’s path to alter the failure or success ratio of the event.”

“Remember, we don’t need to be right every time to change the outcome of a game. If you haven’t guessed yet, in the test were now watching I’m using this technology to intentionally cause a failed event to occur, because I want the opposing receiver to miss the ball. If the player starts picking up his speed and starts getting closer, I’ll pull the football away a little further by putting a small amount of pressure on the left side of this little joy stick I’m holding.” He first points to the little figure in the corner of the screen, and then hands the man a similar remote control device, about the size of a small cigarette lighter. “Here, you try it.”
“We also wanted to see how much we could help a receiver catch the ball, especially if we predicted he would not be able to catch it without our help. So with the receivers we tested in this way, in 73% of our interventions we were able to cause a successful event to occur, when our projections predicted a failed event would have occurred. The player never suspected anything.”

“Their thinking is, if the ball happens to be a little closer to their hands than they first expected, their inflated egos will only allow them to believe that their superior athleticism and speed was solely responsible for the successful event. They may be able to give a small amount of credit to the quarterback for throwing the ball in their direction, but the receiver will never admit having been given any sort of unfair advantage in making the catch.”
“We figure, the arrogant confidence of most receivers, more than any other player on the field, will help us, considerably, since that’s where I suggest our efforts be primarily targeted. You see, no receiver will ever let anyone get away with saying they were only able to catch the ball because someone else was cheating for them, even if that’s exactly what happened.”

“For this reason, I believe this technology is undetectable because of the human element.”
“So the best predictable outcome, without being suspected, I suggest will be in using it to help our receivers better catch the ball and getting their receivers to miss the ball. the key is, recruit fast receivers with good hands and quarterbacks with strong arms. And with this miniature remote tucked away in a jacket pocket, from up in the press box we can give them all the help they need on every passing play that is over ten yards.”
“Doc, I’ll let you in on a little secret of our own. I think your right, because of the officiating, we know it only takes a couple of adjustments during any game to change the outcome,” the older man added, pulling his cigar out, then remembering the no smoking sign outside the lab, pushed it back into his jacket pocket.
the scientist looked at the cigar with a frown and then continued, “I suggest we test it here in the state first, secretly, for a few years. And when we’re ready we’ll let the fans in on the chip. Of course, we won’t tell them everything these little chips can do…
“You see, I predict the fans will welcome the ability to instantly know the exact location of the ball at any given moment, including after every tackle. I predict the fans will say something like, ‘It’s better than depending on some half blind official to get it right!'” They both laughed.

“the fans will never suspect the chips could do anything else other then what we say it does…kind of like the cell phones and those energy saving light bulbs-” They both smiled-
“Kind of like whatever our friends in the media tell them, no matter how outrageous or stupid it sounds,” the older man added, with a chuckle.
“We’ve already done the studies. Sports fans, especially football fans, are pretty dumb, as you know. Like most Americans, they want to believe their being told the truth and are playing fair, since that’s a lot easier than considering the possibility that their world is not what it seems.”
“And if we need a distraction, we can always use the oldest controversy in the book and say some player went into the bathroom and deflated some game balls!”
The two men roared with laughter, as the older man rested his hand on the younger man’s back, and continued.

“For most football fans it’s about having an excuse to get drunk on the weekend and buy an over-priced Jersey with their favorite player’s number. And poof!” He snapped is fingers. “Just like that, for a few hundred dollars that goes into our pockets the ordinary fan gets to pretend they are the hero! But without the talent or all the trim! And maybe that’s why they pay $20 for a glass of beer, to help them pretend better!” He rubbed the young scientist’s lower back with his hand. They both smiled a knowing smile.

Both the men laughed again, as they watched the ball slowly float away from the fingertips of the desperate receiver’s outstretched hands.