Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"The Yellow Line Is Undefeated"

Email of the day. Why do I even bother trying to write anything better than this?


TO: Czabe
FROM: Mike Hoffman
RE: Yellow Line

Dear Czabe,

On the 13th, following another comical loss by the Redskins, you wrote,

"Shame on FOX for badly botching the down situation at the end of the game. They were dead wrong, from the start. I went back on my DVR and noticed that the Fox yellow line was placed incorrectly at the TWO, and not the three yard line. This began the series of screw ups. How is it, that a veteran network announce team, with a PXP man, a color analyst, a sideline reporter, and I am sure at least ONE spotter with binoculars, misses this crucial fact so completely? They had three downs to realize the down marker on the field was out of whack with their own magical TV "lines." Fundamentals, folks. If network TV crews don't get it that telling viewers definitively what DOWN and DISTANCE it is on every play, then none of the other jib-jabbery means a thing."

I took great offense to this post, not because I care about Fox or Moose or your DVR, but because you went after the yellow line. The “magical” (as you put and I agree) yellow line could be the greatest addition to televised football that has ever occurred. I have never seen a time when it was wrong and I have always been annoyed by the commentators need to say that “the yellow line is unofficial” on a close measurement.

In my opinion, the yellow line could and should replace the chain gang and the clown show described as “stretching the chains.” Simply put, the yellow line is undefeated and this case is no different. Actually, I’m shocked that you missed it. Hell, a snowy Soldier field couldn’t even stop the yellow line.

Check out the picture I added that clearly shows where the ball was spotted on the play prior to the questionable first down. To err is human, the yellow line isn’t.

The Redskins did get 5 plays and my $100 bet turned into a push. Boo officials!

A big fan,



  1. By the looks of the pic above, the ball is placed correctly at the 12 and the chain gang is on the near side and out of view. This would make the 2 the correct first down. Also clearly visible is the near chain with their equipment set on the 12, with a 10 yard chain to the two on the near side. It appears the side judges are misplaced on the far side and causing the problem with play...not the yellow line.

  2. While your basic thesis is incorrect as the yellow line is defeated on a regular basis thru-out a season, you are certainly correct in this case. All I've heard all week is about how the first play was "clearly" past the first down marker. Some NFL ref VP of something or other assured us that the refs had it right on the field. Yet until tonight I didn't hear anyone point out where the play started. I did same as here, replayed it and there it is... the ball started on the 12!!! Yellow line is right, the chains were wrong!!!!

    Yellow line < gravity !

  3. My brother worked with a dude that was very smart and ran a bunch of computer-related stuff. He went to a major network (I think it was actually Fox) to be in charge of - yep, the yellow line. He reportedly gets HUGE bucks for doing it; apparently it's pretty complicated.