The very first NFL game to be broadcast on the small screen aired on NBC’s fledgling television network on October 22nd, 1939, when only 500 about New Yorkers owned TVs. It featured the Philadelphia Eagles against the Brooklyn Dodgers (yes, a football team, from 1930 to 1943) at Ebbets Field, in a contest won by Brooklyn 23-14. The game was also aired to a crowd of awed viewers at New York’s 1939 World’s Fair.
The First Game Broadcast in Color
On November 25th, 1965, CBS aired the first-ever color broadcast of an NFL game, which fell on Thanksgiving Day and featured the Baltimore Colts versus the Detroit Lions. The game ended in a 24-24 tie.
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Fox Is the First to Always Show the Score
For the 1994 NFL season, the Fox network introduced the first-ever full-score bug for its NFL coverage. Dubbed the “FoxBox,” it is a small transparent white graphic in the upper left corner of the screen that shows viewers the score and game clock throughout the entire broadcast.
The Virtual Yellow First-Down Marker
For decades, NFL fans would sit in sports bars and living rooms watching their television sets and agonizing over short yardage plays with bad spots by officials that would ultimately result in first downs or 4th & inches. But that all changed on September 27th, 1998, when a company called Sportvision debuted its “1st and Ten” computer-generated fluorescent yellow line that stretched from one sideline to the other, in an ESPN game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens. This showed viewers approximately where the offense needed to advance the ball to in order to keep the chains moving.
Throughout its many decades on television, the NFL has continually found ways to make their games more appealing to viewers. Scroll through DYR's 8 innovations that have changed the way we watch football above.