What Is The Yellow Line In Football?

football 1st down line

The yellow line in football is the digital representation of the spot of the first down marker. It is used on television broadcasts to make watching a game easier for fans at home. The line is a near exact measurement of the 10 yards needed to gain for a new first down. Read on to learn about the origins and history of the yellow line in football.

Yellow Line Origin

The yellow line officially made its debut during an edition of Sunday Night Football on September 27th, 1998. It was not ready during the first week of the season due to ironing out one final bug, so it was not until week four when it was first aired. Stan Honey is credited with the invention of the yellow line, working with a company called Sportvision. The technology was called First and Ten and generated an overwhelmingly positive reaction from football fans.

Yellow Line History

Sportvision is still the company in charge of the yellow line seen in football today. It beat out rival company Princeton Video Image to remain the premier yellow first down line company. Since its creation, the equipment necessary for the yellow line has drastically decreased though. At contemporary games, only one person is necessary to operate the technology. Although the design still remains the same, the accuracy of it has improved significantly.


Can the players see the yellow line in football?

Players are not able to see the yellow line on the field when they play. The line is generated by computers and projected onto the television broadcast as a special effect. It may look like it is part of the field because players look like they are standing on top of it when they run past on television. That effect occurs because the technology only displays the yellow color on top of the colors green (grass) and brown (dirt).

What is the blue line in football?

The blue line in football is a digital representation of the line of scrimmage. This line is projected onto the field in television broadcasts to help viewers see where the line of scrimmage is located. It is one of two lines that is projected onto the field on every scrimmage down along with the yellow first down line.