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Xs and Os...the Chain Gang

The three-man Chain Gang stands on the sideline.  Their responsibility is to mark the yard line of the ball on 1st down (the beginning of each new series).  They keep track of the Down (you can see the down marker 1,2,3,4 on the sideline) and the Yardage (distance between the two poles attached to the chain) needed by the Offense to make the necessary 10 yards for a new 1st down.  The 10-yard chain is brought out on the field for any close measurement for a 1st down.  

Click here for The New York Times' in-depth look at football chains

Most chain gangs, also called chain crews, are provided by each team that is hosting the game.  Many are volunteers.

All Xs and Os posts are adapted from the Coach Bass College Football Map.  Coach Bass's maps are a fold out "Beverage and Mustard Proof" {not kidding!} map that defines and explains the game of College Football.  I would bet you might see a woman folding out one of these babies at a game, but a man would not be caught dead doing so.  I think it's an ingenious item that Coach Tom Bass came up with.  Buy them at

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