Football

Football

Calm on Broken Plays

Coaches, players and fans are allowed to panic when a play goes awry. Officials, on the other hand, must react to broken plays as if they're routine...

Coordination, Communication Key to Measurements

One of the oldest sports clichés is that football is “a game of inches.” When a measurement is involved, it might be a fraction...

Plays Not Seen Often Challenge Officials

No one has ever attempted to rank fouls in the order of the difficulty in calling them. However, it’s clear there is pecking order....

It’s OK to pick up a flag or put one down late

Back in the day there were two commonly accepted officiating axioms: Don’t pick up a flag once it’s put down and don’t put one down late. The idea...

Focus on Free Kicks

You are the referee for tonight’s game. You have completed the pregame conference with your crew, met with the head coaches and conducted the coin toss. Now you hustle...

What Happens When the Neutral Zone Expands?

The neutral zone is one of the basic tenets of a football game. In practical terms it’s the space between the offensive and defensive...

Yawner? Blowout? Guess Again

By Jon Bible Iremember sitting at the breakfast table on the morning of a late-season game between two cellar-dwellers. One official, a garrulous person whose...

Judgment Necessary at Line of Scrimmage 

Judgments are a large part of football officiating. All rules require some degree of judgment. Perhaps the simplest application is determining whether a team has too many players on...

Critical Rules for Umpires to Know

The umpire is in charge of the line of scrimmage and all the action that takes place in and around it. There are some...

When to Throw Flags, When Not to (and When to Pick ’em Up) 

The idea of a flag being waved off brings to mind an overbearing referee trumping the decision of a younger crewmate. That has happened on occasion but picking...

When in Doubt, Solved

Several years ago rulemakers began putting “when in question” guidelines in the rulebook. They say that in certain cases, if a ruling could go either way, it should...

Rare Rulings Well Done

No one has ever attempted to rank fouls in the order of the difficulty in calling them. However, it’s clear there is a pecking...

Things No Official Has Ever Accomplished

There are a few things that no official has ever accomplished. By fully understanding the following feats cannot be accomplished, officials will gain a better understanding of how to...

The Best Games Include These Three Elements

Safe, fair and fun. That phrase — that triangle, if you will — contains the ingredients to the best game you’ll ever have. And there...

Now You’re Talking

What to Say to Whom and When to Say It Assuming a basic knowledge of football rules and mechanics, communication is arguably the greatest single...

Police the Pile

How does the runner usually react when he’s been tackled? The norm in college and pro football is that runners lay patiently after they...
ball-watching football official

Ball-Watching Afflicts Veterans and Newer Officials Alike

Two huge mistakes that officials can make are ball-watching and officiating air. The former means watching the runner to the exclusion of what’s happening around him. The latter means focusing...

Stay Cool, Calm, Collected and “On” Message

Have you ever heard that phrase "Was it something I said or the way I said it?" How we say something is as important...

A Strong Case for Keeping a Steady Pace

An important part of officiating a solid football game is maintaining a good pace of play: neither too slow nor too fast in getting the ball spotted and...

More Than a Dozen Intentional Acts Are Possible 

When the word “intentional” is mentioned, the first thing that springs to the mind of most football officials is intentional grounding. However, intent plays a role in many more...

Early Movement By Either Team May Call For Flags

O ffensive players are prohibited from committing a false start before the snap. There are two movements that are illegal for all team A players:...

Formation Consternation Demands Concentration

Defensive players can align themselves anywhere for scrimmage plays as long as everyone is on the proper side of the neutral zone. There is...

Hold(er) Everything

When thinking of players associated with the kicking game, the usual focus is on those who kick the ball and team R players attempting...

Aptitude Vs. Attitude

The attitude officials have when they walk onto the field will determine in part the success they may or may not enjoy in officiating...

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