I find myself doing and I bet a lot of others do as well. It’s 3rd and 6 and your team’s wide receiver caught the ball on a screen behind the line and sprinter up to the sticks and stepped out of bounds. And there it is. Fourth and 1. Didn’t he see it? That huge yellow line that is stretching across the screen? Oh. He can’t.
The first down marker has become such a part of televised gridiron that most cannot imagine the game without it. Even fans who had that trained eye that could sense the ten yard mark find that the skill has been dumbed down due to the advent of this television special effect. And it has grown. It will turn red when it’s fourth down. They will put a line in to represent the outside range of a place kicker.
SI has done a piece on it’s berth and place in the game. Check it out here.