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NFL Stadiums Could Get Laser First-Down Markers

NFL fans could see laser first-down markers like those currently visible on television broadcasts also used in stadiums in the future. (Insert bad Dr. Evil impression saying “lasers” here) The First Down Laser System, developed by Alan Amron and underwritten by former player and broadcaster Pat Summerall, projects a first-down line across the width of the football field that would be visible to fans inside the stadium, as well as those watching the broadcast.

Here’s a brief clip of what the First Down Laser System looks like in use:

Amron has twice met with league officials to get feedback on his laser technology. The league is not ready to implement the laser at this time.

“They tell me it took them years and years to implement replay and the overhead cam. The NFL right now has made it very clear to us that they didn’t want to eliminate the chains, but augmenting them wouldn’t be a bad idea,” Amron said.

A separate technology, first used on NFL broadcasts in 1998, is used to generate and display first down lines during televised games.

If the NFL does begin using the lasers inside stadiums, it will join other sports leagues around the world which have augmented human officiating with technology. Several tennis organizations use an electronic eye of horizontal light beams to determine exactly where a ball hits on the court. Some international cricket matches also use technology to make officiating decisions.

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