An official NFL football sells right now for $89.99 at amazon.com. Seems a little pricey, but that's genuine leather, and it's got Roger Goodell's signature on there. That signature alone is at least $60 worth of integrity and discipline.
If you want to get an estimate of how much a football might cost, say, five years from now (assuming that a major economic collapse doesn't happen, which puts me out on more of a limb than I'd like to be), take that same football ... crack it open, stuff an iPhone and an advanced GPS unit in there and then ring that up.
If one of those things goes into the stands, the league will hire Rae Carruth to go get it back for them.
From Mark Roth at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Dr. Priya Narasimhan of Carnegie Mellon University has her students working on a football that could tell officials:
• Exactly when the ball broke the plane of the end zone (ahem)
• If the ball was caught before hitting the ground
• Who actually possesses the ball underneath a pile
• Whether or not a receiver has control of the ball as he's heading out of bounds
All this is accomplished via a GPS receiver inside the football and an accelerometer that tracks speed and trajectory of the ball. If any of this ever comes to fruition, juiced baseballs and hockey pucks that make the red light go on would no longer be the height of technology in sports.
Now, for the moment, this is just a personal project of Dr. Narashimhan and her students and they've had contact with no one in the NFL. I don't know if anyone in the league has ever even looked into something like this. Myself, I think it would a great thing for the NFL, but who knows what kind of technology they're even willing to consider. Sometimes, I get the feeling that half of the NFL owners would like to go back to leather helmets and no facemasks.
Gracias, Pro Football Talk.