Seriously, WTF is up with the completely antiquated chain measuring system in football? It’s 2007 people – not 1937. Can’t we come up with a better technology than guessing where to start the chain and then seeing if the first down was made or not? How about a GPS in the ball? That doesn’t sound so hard in this day and age, does it? I fucking HATE the chain! It’s just so ridiculous.
Here’s a little history lesson on the Chain, courtesy of that wonderful tome of semi-correct knowledge, Wikipedia:
In American football, the chain crew (commonly known as the “chain gang”) are assistants to the referee who handle the first down measuring chain and the down indicator box. The members of the chain crew who operate the measuring chain are called rod men and the person who works the down indicator box is called the box man.
The down indicator box is a pole with a sign indicating what the current down is. Before every play from scrimmage, it is placed on the sideline to mark the current line of scrimmage.
The first down measuring chain is used to measure the yards that the offensive team needs to gain a first down. It is a 10-yard metal chain with poles attached to each end. The poles, usually called “the sticks”, are almost always covered in bright orange padding.
When a team gains a first down, one of the rod men places one end of the chain on the sideline parallel to the spot of the ball. The other rod man then stretches the chain out to mark the first down line. To ensure an accurate measurement, a clip is usually attached to the chain on the closest 5-yard mark on the field.
The chains will be brought directly onto the field whenever the referee needs an accurate measurement to determine if a first down has been made. A team may also request an accurate measurement to determine how far they have to reach for the first down.
I love how the word “accurate” is in here mutliple times. It’s not accurate! It’s a damn GUESS. The Chain Crew must have a powerful union or something and refuse to be replaced with GPS devices. Kind of like the robots and car assembly lines.
GET RID OF THE @!#!$%#!! CHAIN ALREADY!