Football’s Yellow Line Explained

How do they get that yellow line to show up on-screen in a football game? The one the offense has to cross to pick up a first down?

Will the day ever come that the players will see that line? Probably not, but here’s an interesting video about the making and implementation of the yellow line we’ve so come to love in watching NFL and NCAA football on TV.

What on earth did we do before this? Guess where the first down line was based on where the orange stick-holding chain gang was on the sideline? That is so 1995.

The technology was unveiled in 1998 by Sportvision and adopted first by ESPN, landing the network an Emmy for technical innovation. It was aptly named 1st and Ten.

“That yellow line has become such a staple in U.S. football that no self-respecting network would think of televising a game without it,” according to the IEEE Spectrum article.

This despite the hefty $2 million pricetag for development.

Thanks Twitter, for pointing me in the direction of this and many of the most interesting articles/videos I’ve seen in the past few months.

Further reading: HowStuffWorks.com

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Filed under broadcasting, college football, NFL, sports

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