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Video: Football’s ‘Chain Gang’ Could Be Replaced By Lasers

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Credit: First Down Laser System.

Credit: First Down Laser System.

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By Sam Zuba-

(CBS) Imagine this scenario, if you will.

The Bears face a fourth-and-inches late in the fourth quarter of a tie game. Jay Cutler hands off to Matt Forte who runs directly into the the pile at the line of scrimmage.

Did he earn the first down? Is it a turnover on downs? No one knows until the referee spots the ball and calls for an official measurement.

The ball is then moved and the chain gang comes out to the field to measure the spot and determine the fate of the game.

“It takes an average of three minutes for the referees to bring out the chains and measure the spot, and you usually lose an inch,” said Alan Amron of First Down Laser Systems.

Amron is a founding partner of a group that has come up with a better solution to judging first downs than the antiquated chain system. His technology shoots a green laser across the field for the entire stadium to see, telling officials exactly where the first-down marker is.

There’s no waiting and no opportunity for an inaccurate measurement.

“Our system does this in four seconds,” Amron said.

First Down Laser Systems debuted their technology at the NCAA track and field championships in June, and have interest from the NFL, CFL and college football.

Amron said the NFL wants to see the technology in action in an football game before moving further, similar to what the league did with the skycam.

The green line pasted across the field can be used during the entire game, in between plays or when the referees need it.

“This will enhance the fan experience in NFL games,” Amron said. “The NFL’s No. 1 competitor right now is the couch. This will give fans a reason to come out to the games. They’ll be able to see the first down line on the field, just like they see the yellow line at home.

Amron said his company will begin testing with the CFL in the near future.

“We feel like our time has come,” he said.

Check out the video demonstrating First Down Laser System’s technology below.

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