Any football historian could attest to the fact that spying and football are no strangers. But modern technology, specifically drones, might just take that to a whole new level.
A column published in the Contra Costa Times recently raises this notion by pointing to the past, present, and future of the National Football League and positing that the sports organization–which is one of the leaders in cutting edge technology–could soon be incorporating drones into their world.
Right now, there is no rule against the use of drones in the NFL. And an interview the Times conducted with a top executive at the San Diego-based 3D Robotics group suggests that there are many possibilities as to how the NFL could make use of these flying gizmos and potentially air-borne spies.
“At practice, you could have the camera follow the coach around, or a player, above and behind him so everything he sees, the camera would see,” said Colin Guinn. Including the potential to do a little investigating on an opposing team, which the Times notes has already happened by citing the Belichick “Spygate” scandal of 2007 in which the NFL disciplined the New England Patriots for videotaping the New York Jets’ sideline coaching signals.
Or another incident in which former San Diego Chargers’ coach Harland Svare looked up at a light fixture in the ceiling at the Oakland Coliseum’s visiting locker room and yelled “Damn you, Al Davis, I know you’re up there!” Al Davis was the coach for the Oakland Raiders. When Davis was asked if he had bugged the Chargers, he responded, “the thing wasn’t in the light fixture, I’ll tell you that.”
Recently in a World Cup game in Brazil, the Times noted that police were asked to investigate a suspicious drone which hovered over France’s team practice at a training facility in Sao Paulo; they feared espionage in the form of an opponent who was trying to snoop on them. It turned out to be a loyal soccer fan who was checking out his favorite team, writes the Times. But incidents such as that one lend themselves to endless possibilities.
When the Times asked San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh about his opinion on drones and the potential for their use in the NFL, he said “Uh, I’m OK with what we have now…I think it doesn’t need to be fixed.”