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The chain may no longer keep us together.

The NFL is moving forward this preseason with an optical tracking system for line-to-gain rulings, sources tell CBS Sports. The system had been tried out in a few NFL stadiums this past season, and it will get a full preseason trial this summer.

If the trial goes well and everyone's on board, the tracking system will be implemented full time for the 2024 NFL regular season, sources say.

In March, the NFL's competition committee quietly approved its use across all teams in the preseason. But before the league fully implements it for the full season, it wants to make sure the system works well enough to be trusted.

The chain gang won't exactly become a thing of the past, though. Sources say the chains will still exist on the sideline, but they'll be used both as a backup for game operations and as a reference point for coaches, players and fans in the stadium.

All game footballs are microchipped and have been for years. But this technology doesn't employ the chip and instead relies entirely on optical tracking. The system, which was used at MetLife Stadium and Hard Rock Stadium last year, would need to be installed across all 30 NFL stadiums as well as any international stadium where NFL games are played.

If the system works, it would make for a more accurate measuring system that reduces the amount of human error. If the league sees there are problems such as latency issues in the preseason, the move can be tabled until 2025 with the chain crew continuing to do the same job as always.