Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Chains

A fan of the blog reminded me that it is that time of year...

I have been doing my annual "chains" post for probably a half decade now and lets just say that the technology used to measure a ten yard distance in a football game hasn't improved since then. Could anyone imagine an Iphone five years ago? The world of technology speeds ahead with the pedal to the metal, but football still stays in the Bronze Age.

We still use two sticks and a ten yard length of chain to "measure" first downs. Sigh. This medieval measuring tool is used in the NFL, a multi billion dollar industry that invests heavily in online score keeping, and streaming video.

This same technology of two sticks and a hunk of chain is also used on campuses all across the nation, where just down the street they are curing cancer, splitting the atom and doing God only knows what else.

Garmin much? Anyway.

Here is a video about the life of a chain guy.

Ugh. Complete with the "Chain Gang" song that they play when they do a measurement at Soldier Field. And I always put my head in my hands.

It always hurts so bad, but lets recap.

On a kickoff, a guy is tackled and the ball is RANDOMLY put down "here" by the ref. The chain guy EYEBALLS it from the sidelines and puts the chains down "here". First down and a run goes out of bounds, once more the ball is put down (by a side judge this time) "here". Second down and another run, and third down. But it is close to the ten yard marker so we need to "measure" to see if they made it from the original EYEBALLED random spot, after there have been five random events in between. Ah, f*ck it, you all know the rest. Just remember me with my head in my hands when you see the chains come out this fall in all of their random glory.

1 comment:

Gerry from Valpo said...

Chains don't bother me much. It's probably the last quaint football tradition left in the NFL for us old-school fans.