Imagine trying to watch a football game on television without the helpful yellow marker denoting the first-down line.
If you’re old enough – ahem – you don’t have to.
But if not, you might be interested to know Thursday marked the 20th anniversary of what is officially called the Virtual Yellow 1st & Ten line.
Created by 2018 National Inventors Hall of Fame inductee Stan Honey, the yellow graphic, which only appears on the television broadcast and not the field, itself, was introduced during a National Football League game on ESPN between the Baltimore Ravens and Cicinnati Bengals on Sept. 27, 1998.
“Now ubiquitous in football, the superimposed yellow line has been hailed as one of the most important developments in sports broadcast technology since the debut of instant replay in 1963,” stated a press release from the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Honey was also the mastermind behind NASCAR’s tracking system, baseball’s strike zone and the virtual Plexi-glass ads. But it all began with the shortlived FoxTrax system, which superimposed a bluish glow around the puck, leaving a blue comet to signify a pass and a bright red streak whenever it was shot hard enough.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: edmontonsun