The yellow first-down line has become such an integral part of football telecasts that it’s almost difficult to watch games on television without it. The line, of course, cannot be seen on the field, but that may change in the coming years.
The First Down Laser System, developed Alan Amron and backed finincially by longtime NFL broadcaster Pat Summerall, has the ability to project a first-down marker on the field that can been seen both at the venue and on television. This system is still several years from implementation, but it has piqued the NFL’s interest, according to an Associated Press report.
“We have not been convinced that it would work for us,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said, “but we are open to further discussion after the season.”
The system would involve a pair of laser sensors attached to the markers currently used to mark first downs on each sideline which project a visible line across the field that could be seen by both the players and fans. Amron says that the line — which would reportedly be light green rather than yellow — will allow officials to make more accurate calls regarding potential first downs.
Again, don’t expect to see this innovation in action for at least a few years, but it’s an intriguing idea for the league office to consider.