The NFL first-down line has become a staple of football broadcasts, giving fans at home an easy way to know if a team has crossed the line and converted.
Now that first-down line might be seen in real life, too. Alan Amron has taken financial backing from the NFL and broadcaster Pat Summerall to develop what he calls the First Down Laser System. This would allow NFL fans to see the first-down line both inside the stadium and in front of their television sets.
Amron pushed the idea to the NFL in 2003 and again in 2009, taking the league’s suggestions and improving the first-down line.
The NFL is interested in the first-down line idea, but not yet fully convinced, The Associated Press reported.
“The NFL is our prime customer at this point,” Amron said, “and if we can make something that they like, maybe the NCAA and Canadian Football League will follow suit.”
Amron noted that the league took years to implement a replay system, so innovation doesn’t always move at a fast pace in the NFL.
The new NFL first-down line would be able to make on-field spotting more accurate, The Associated Press noted:
“The laser system would be attached to the first-down markers on both sides and project a contrasting light green line across the field. The system would work in accord with the chain gang, but is designed to provide a more accurate focal point in terms of measurements. When a player hits the turf, by theory, it would become immediately apparent whether he made a first down.”
Once the system is worked out, the NFL first-down line is expected to be implemented, notes NFL.com. The system would also help the league address the difficulty of selling tickets in an HDTV era.