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February 11, 2005

The yellow first–down line on TV — John Madden's greatest achievement?

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He's many things, is the protean former Raider coach: Monday Night Football analyst par excellence; multimillionaire grand panjandrum of the most popular sports-related computer game in the world —

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Madden NFL 2005, which sold 1.35 million copies in its first week last fall; author of a number of best-selling books; and the world's most famous bus rider.

Little known, at least by me until I read it in in Don Babwin's Associated Press story this past Monday, is that Madden was the first person to propose placing a virtual line at the first-down mark.

Eleven years ago, he suggested it in a television production meeting.

It then took four years for Chicago-based Sportvision to roll it out.

Now, it's impossible to imagine how we ever did without it.

Often we can see if a play's made a first-down before the announcers are even sure.

I like that: power to the peanut gallery.

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Catchy, what?

February 11, 2005 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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