The 1st Down Line
The 1st down line is a special yard line that shows the distance the team with possession of the ball needs to travel to to get a new set of four (4) scrimmage downs. It is always placed ten (10) yards away from the line of scrimmage.
PRO TIP: You can see the 1st down line as a yellow line on TV.
The Down Cycle
The 1st down line resets when the team with possession of the ball reaches it or goes beyond it. A group of referees known known as the chain crew will set the new 1st down line after this happens. We'll learn more about scrimmage downs and the down cycle in future chapters.
The Goal Line
The only exception for the 1st down line being placed 10 yards from the line of scrimmage is when a team is within 10 yards of the opposing team's goal line. In this case, the goal line becomes the 1st down line.