What is a Down Marker in Football?
A down marker in football is an object used to display which down a team is at. Downs include 1st down, 2nd down, 3rd down, or 4th down; therefore having plaques with the numbers one, two, three, and four in it. The down marker is operated during a game by the "chain gang," and more specifically by the box man.
The down marker is necessary so that players, coaches, fans in the stadium, and officials know at all times what stage a team's drive is at. For that, down markers display their numbers in bright orange with a dark background, making it easy for anyone in the stadium to know what down the game is at.A down marker is not usually seen on television broadcasts, the kind of information it displays is readily available to watchers together with the game's score, but as said before, it is crucial for people in the stadium to know what is going on with the game.
Although down markers are present at football games of all levels (from high school to the NFL), the object itself can vary a little depending on the league. Smaller leagues usually have a "flipping" style down markers, while bigger leagues such as NCAA Football and the NFL have models called "Dial-a-Down", which are more efficiently operated.