The American Football Alliance has made data analysis an absolute priority, and part of that is putting chips in each football to track the speed and trajectory of the balls that are thrown and kicked. Unfortunately, that means not giving footballs to fans.
Trent Richardson discovered it hard last Sunday.
Richardson, the Alabama star who became the NFL draft, scored two touchdowns on his debut at the AAF, and after the second, he finished off the ball with authority, and bounced off the stands. After consulting for a moment, the officers hit Richardson with a 15-yard penalty.
That would not be a penalty in the NFL, but as FootballZebras.com explains, the AAF wants to keep all its balls for budgetary reasons. Apparently, those chips are too expensive for a startup to afford to fans.
Perhaps a better option than a 15-yard penalty would be to require players who throw footballs in the stands to reimburse the league for the cost of the balls. A penalty of 15 yards is very high for something as small as nailing a soccer ball.