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Encyclopedia > Official (American football)
NFL officials (striped shirts) and guests prepare to toss the coin to start the 40th annual Pro Bowl.
NFL officials (striped shirts) and guests prepare to toss the coin to start the 40th annual Pro Bowl.

In American football, an official is a person who has responsibility in enforcing the rules and maintaining the order of the game. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (880x880, 166 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Official (American football) ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (880x880, 166 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Official (American football) ... NFL redirects here. ... In professional American football, the Pro Bowl is the all-star game of the National Football League (NFL). ... United States simply as football, is a competitive team sport that is both fast-paced and strategic. ...


During professional and college football games, seven officials operate on the field. Arena football, high school football, and other levels of football have other officiating systems. A college football game between Colorado State and Air Force. ... Arena football is a sport invented by Jim Foster, a former executive of the United States Football League and the National Football League. ...


American football officials are commonly referred to as referees, but each has a title based on their position. They consist of: Referee, Head Linesman, Line Judge, Umpire, Back Judge, Side Judge, and Field Judge. Because the referee is responsible for the general supervision of the game, the position is sometimes referred to as head referee. [1][2][3]

Contents

Equipment

An official (right) watches Navy's Shun White (#26) score a touchdown. Visible on his belt are his yellow penalty flag and an orange bean bag.
National Football League officials pose with United States Navy officers prior to the 2005 Pro Bowl.

American football officials generally use the following equipment: Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (3008x1960, 1416 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Official (American football) Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added from the digital camera or scanner used... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (3008x1960, 1416 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Official (American football) Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added from the digital camera or scanner used... Head coach Paul Johnson 6th year, 42–29 Home stadium Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium Capacity 34,000 - FieldTurf Conference Independent First year 1879 Website NavySports. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (2100x1500, 2686 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Official (American football) Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added from the digital camera or scanner used... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (2100x1500, 2686 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Official (American football) Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added from the digital camera or scanner used... NFL redirects here. ... USN redirects here. ... The 2005 AFC-NFC Pro Bowl was played February 13, 2005 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. ...

  • Whistle
    Used to signal that the down has already ended.
  • Penalty Marker or Flag
    A bright yellow colored flag that is thrown on the field toward or at the spot of a foul. It is wrapped around a weight, such as sand or beans (or occasionally bb's, though this is discouraged (especially after the Triplette-Brown incident), as it can injure a player), so it can be thrown with some distance and accuracy. Officials typically carry a second flag in case there are multiple fouls on a play.
  • Bean Bag
    Used to mark various spots that are not fouls. For example, it is used to mark the spot of a fumble or where a player caught a punt. It is typically colored white or blue, depending on the official's league, college conference or level of play.
  • Down Indicator
    A specially designed wristband that is used to remind officials of the current down. It has an elastic loop attached to it that is wrapped around the fingers. Usually, officials put the loop around their index finger when it is first down, the middle finger when it is second down, and so on. Instead of the custom-designed indicator, some officials use two thick rubber bands tied together as a down indicator: one rubber band is used as the wristband and the other is looped over the fingers. Some officials, especially Umpires, may also use a second indicator to keep track of where the ball was placed between the hash marks before the play (i.e. the right hash marks, the left ones, or at the midpoint between the two). This is important when they re-spot the ball after an incomplete pass.
  • Game Data Card and Pencil
    Officials write down important administrative information, such as the winner of the pregame coin toss, team timeouts, and fouls called. Game data cards can be disposable paper or reusable plastic. A pencil with a special bullet-shaped cap is often carried. The cap prevents the official from being stabbed by the pencil while it is in his pocket.
  • Stopwatch
    Officials will carry a stopwatch (typically a digital wristwatch) when necessary for timing duties, including keeping game time, keeping the play clock, and timing timeouts and the interval between quarters.

For other uses, see Whistle (disambiguation). ... Jeff Triplette, B.A., COL, USAR (Ret. ... Look up fumble in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Josh Miller of the New England Patriots punts the ball. ... In American and Canadian football, a down refers to a period in which a play transpires. ... An incomplete pass, is a term in American football which means that a legal forward pass hits the ground before a player on either team gains possession. ...

Uniform

For ease of recognition, officials are traditionally clad in a black-and-white vertically striped shirt, white knickers with a black belt, black shoes, and a peaked cap. A letter indicating the role of each official appears on the back of the shirt at college and NFL levels. Shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks, an American flag was added to the shirts of NFL officials. In 2006, the NFL completely redesigned the shirts, going to a sleeker-looking uniform which, however, no longer identified a given official's position from the front. The officials are also colloquially called "zebras" due to their black-and-white striped shirts. A sequential look at United Flight 175 crashing into the south tower of the World Trade Center The September 11, 2001 attacks (often referred to as 9/11—pronounced nine eleven or nine one one) consisted of a series of coordinated terrorist[1] suicide attacks upon the United States, predominantly... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see Zebra (disambiguation). ...


For several decades, every NFL official wore white hats. In 1979, NFL referees started to wear black hats with white stripes, while every other NFL official continued to wear white ones. Finally, in 1988, the NFL switched to the high-school and college football style: the referee wears a white hat (which now includes the NFL logo, first added for Super Bowl XXXIX), and the other officials wear black hats with white stripes. Also: 1979 by Smashing Pumpkins. ... A college football game between Colorado State and Air Force. ... Date February 6, 2005 Stadium ALLTEL Stadium City Jacksonville, Florida MVP Deion Branch, Wide receiver Favorite Patriots by 7 National anthem Combined choirs of the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and U.S...


Officials' hats are also occasionally used as additional equipment. If a player not carrying the ball steps out of bounds (a wide receiver running a deep passing route or a player running downfield on punt coverage, for example), the official will drop his hat to mark the spot of where the player went out of bounds. The hat also is often used to signal a second foul called by the official on a play (by those officials that may carry only one flag); to indicate unsportsmanlike conduct committed against the official himself (as when a player shoves an official); or when some other situation requires a physical mark and the official has already used the ordinary item on the play. Some conferences discourage the use of the hat in these situations, and the bean bag will be used instead. The wide receiver (WR) position in American and Canadian football is the pass-catching specialist. ... Unsportsmanlike conduct is a term used in most professional sports to refer to a particular player or team who have acted inappropriately and/or unprofessionally in the context of the game. ...


Positions and responsibilities

The NFL and College Football primarily use a seven-official system. NFL redirects here. ... A college football game between Colorado State and Air Force. ...


Referee

A referee (foreground) follows the action of a play between the Texas Longhorns and the Rice Owls.

A referee (R) is responsible for the general supervision of the game and has the final authority on all rulings. Thus, this position is sometimes referred to as head referee and is considered to be the crew chief. He can be identified by his white cap, while the other officials wear black ones. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (3456x2304, 4120 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Official (American football) Selvin Young Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added from the digital camera or... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (3456x2304, 4120 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Official (American football) Selvin Young Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added from the digital camera or... Head coach Mack Brown Ninth year, 93–22 Home stadium Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium Capacity 85,123 - grass Conference Big 12 - South First year 1893 Athletic director DeLoss Dodds Website mackbrown-texasfootball. ... Lovett Hall William Marsh Rice University, commonly called Rice University and opened in 1912 as The William Marsh Rice Institute for the Advancement of Letters, Science and Art, is a private, comprehensive research university located in Houston, Texas near the Museum District and adjacent to the Texas Medical Center. ...


During each play from scrimmage, the referee positions himself behind the offensive team, favoring the right side (if the quarterback is a right-handed passer). He also counts offensive players. A football play is the activity of the games of Canadian football and American football during which one team tries to advance the ball or to score, and the other team tries to stop them or take the ball away. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into American football positions. ... Navy quarterback Aaron Polanco sets up to throw. ...


On passing plays, he primarily focuses on the quarterback and defenders approaching him. The referee rules on possible roughing the passer and, if the quarterback loses the ball, determines whether it is a fumble or an incomplete pass.


On running plays, the referee observes the quarterback during and after he hands off the ball to the running back, remaining with him until the action has cleared just in case it is really a play action pass or some other trick passing play. Afterwards, the Referee then checks the running back and the contact behind him. P.J. Daniels was a star running back for Georgia Tech from 2002-2005. ... A play action pass is a type of American football play. ...


During punts and field goals, the referee observes the kicker (and holder) and any contact made by defenders approaching them. Josh Miller of the New England Patriots punts the ball. ... A field goal (formerly goal from the field) in American football and Canadian football (collectively called gridiron football) is a goal that may be scored during general play (from the field). Execution of a field goal A field goal may be scored by a placekick or the very rare drop...


In college football, the NFL and other professional leagues, and in some high school games, the referee announces penalties and the numbers of the players committing them (college and professional), and clarifies complex and/or unusual rulings over a wireless microphone to both fans and the media. A college football game between Colorado State and Air Force. ... NFL redirects here. ... Microphones redirects here. ...


During instant replay reviews in the NFL and college football, the referee confers with a replay official, who is stationed in the press box above the field, on the play and then announces the final result over the wireless microphone. For replays in the NFL, the referee also views the play on a monitor stationed near the sidelines and makes the final decision; the replay official makes the final judgment in college football. For other uses of the term Instant replay, see Instant replay (disambiguation). ...


In addition to the general equipment listed above, the referee also carries a coin in order to conduct the pregame (and if necessary, overtime) coin toss. Overtime is an additional period of play specified under the rules of a sport in order to bring the game to a decision and avoid declaring the contest a tie or draw. ... Coin flipping or coin tossing is the practice of throwing a coin in the air to resolve a dispute between two parties or otherwise choose between two alternatives. ...


Umpire

An umpire watches a play from behind the defensive line during a game between the UCLA Bruins and the California Golden Bears.
An umpire watches a play from behind the defensive line during a game between the UCLA Bruins and the California Golden Bears.

The umpire (U) stands behind the defensive line and linebackers, observing the blocks by the offensive line and defenders trying to ward off those blocks — looking for holding or illegal blocks. Prior to the snap, he counts all offensive players. ImageMetadata File history File links College_Football. ... ImageMetadata File history File links College_Football. ... Head coach Karl Dorrell 5th year, 30–20 Home stadium Rose Bowl (stadium) Capacity 92,542 - Grass Conference Pac-10 First year 1919 Team records All-time record 514–345–37 Postseason bowl record 13–13–1 Awards Wire national titles 1 Conference titles 17 Heisman winners 1 Pageantry Colors... The Golden Bears football team is the college football team of the University of California, Berkeley. ... A defensive lineman is any of the down positions on the defensive side of American football. ... The defensive team or defense in American football or Canadian football, is the team that begins a play from scrimmage not in possession of the ball. ... A diagram of the linemen, with defensive linemen (in 4-3 formation) in red and offensive linemen in green. ...


During passing plays, he moves forward towards the line of scrimmage as the play develops in order to (1) penalize any offensive linemen who move illegally downfield before the pass is thrown or (2) penalize the quarterback for throwing the ball when beyond the original line of scrimmage. He also assists on ruling incomplete passes when the ball is thrown short. This article does not cite its references or sources. ... Navy quarterback Aaron Polanco sets up to throw. ...


As the umpire is situated where much of the play's initial action occurs, he is considered by many to hold the most dangerous officiating position.


In addition to his on field duties, the umpire is responsible for the legality of all of the players' equipment.


Head Linesman

The head linesman (H or HL) stands at one end of the line of scrimmage (usually the side opposite the press box), looking for possible offsides, encroachment and other fouls before the snap. As the play develops, he is responsible for judging the action near his sideline, including whether a player is out of bounds. During the start of passing plays, he is responsible for watching the receivers near his sideline to a point 5-7 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.


He marks the forward progress of the ball and is in charge of the chain crew in regard to its duties. In addition to the general equipment listed above, the head linesman also carries a chain clip that is used by the chain crew in order to properly place the chains and ensure an accurate spot when measuring for a first down. In American football, the chain crew are assistants to the referee who handle the first down measuring chain and the down indicator box. ...


Line Judge

The line judge (L or LJ) assists the head linesman at the other end of the line of scrimmage, looking for possible offsides, encroachment and other fouls before the snap. As the play develops, he is responsible for the action near his sideline, including whether a player is out of bounds. He is also responsible for counting offensive players.


During the start of passing plays, he is responsible for watching the receivers near his sideline to a point 5-7 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. Afterwards, he moves back towards the line of scrimmage, ruling if a pass is forward, a lateral, or if it is illegally thrown beyond the line of scrimmage. This article is about a type of football play. ... In American football a lateral pass or lateral, officially referred to as a backward pass, and an onside pass in Canadian football; is a sideways or rearward throwing of the football to a teammate. ...


On punts and field goal attempts, the line judge also determines whether the kick is made from behind the line of scrimmage.


In high school (four-man crews) and minor leagues, the line judge is the official timekeeper of the game. In the NFL, college and other levels of football where the official time is kept on the stadium scoreboard clock, the line judge becomes the backup timekeeper.


Field Judge

The field judge (F or FJ) works downfield behind the defensive secondary on the same sideline as the line judge. He makes decisions near the sideline on his side of field, judging the action of nearby running backs, receivers and defenders. He rules on pass interference, illegal blocks downfield, and incomplete passes. He is also responsible for counting defensive players. He has sometimes also been the official timekeeper. In American football and Canadian football, defensive backs are the players on the defensive team who take positions somewhat back from the line of scrimmage; they are distinguished from the defensive line players, who take positions directly behind the line of scrimmage. ...


With the back judge, he rules whether field goal attempts are successful.


Side Judge

The side judge (S or SJ) works downfield behind the defensive secondary on the same sideline as the head linesman. Like the field judge, he makes decisions near the sideline on his side of field, judging the action of nearby running backs, receivers and defenders. He rules on pass interference, illegal blocks downfield, and incomplete passes. He also counts defensive players. During field goal attempts he serves as a second umpire.


In college football, the side judge is responsible for either the game clock or the play clock, which are operated by an assistant under his direction. A play clock is a timer designed to increase the pace (and subsequently, the score) in American football and Canadian football, similar to what a shot clock does in basketball. ...


Back Judge

The back judge (B or BJ) stands deep behind the defensive secondary in the middle of the field, judging the action of nearby running backs, receivers (primarily the tight ends) and nearby defenders. He rules on pass interference, illegal blocks downfield, and incomplete passes. He covers the area of the field in between himself and the umpire. He has the final say regarding the legality of kicks not made from scrimmage (kickoffs).


With the field judge, he rules whether field goal attempts are successful.


If the official time is kept on the stadium scoreboard clock, the back judge becomes the backup timekeeper. In college football, the back judge is responsible for either the game clock or the play clock, which are operated by an assistant under his direction. In high school (five-man crews), the back judge is the official timekeeper of the game. The back judge is also the keeper of the play clock in high school games, and times the one minute allowed for time outs (only 30 seconds are allowed during team time outs during televised college games to reduce time). A play clock is a timer designed to increase the pace (and subsequently, the score) in American football and Canadian football, similar to what a shot clock does in basketball. ...


Other officiating systems

Arena football, high school football, and other levels of football have other officiating systems. Arena football is a sport invented by Jim Foster, a former executive of the United States Football League and the National Football League. ...

  • A three-official system uses only the referee, head linesman, and line judge, or in some cases, referee, umpire and head linesman. It is common in junior high and youth football.
  • A four-official system uses the referee, the umpire, the head linesman, and the line judge. It is primary used at lower levels of football, including junior varsity and some high school varsity.
  • A five-official system is used in arena football and most high school varsity football. It adds the back judge to the four-official system.
  • A six-official system uses the seven-official system without the back judge. It is used in some high school and small-college games.

Arena football is a sport invented by Jim Foster, a former executive of the United States Football League and the National Football League. ...

History

When the NFL began play, only three officials (referee, umpire, head linesman) were used. The field judge was added in 1929, the back judge in 1947, the line judge in 1965 and the side judge in 1978. Year 1929 (MCMXXIX) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1947 (MCMXLVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1947 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1965 (MCMLXV) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the 1965 Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1978 (MCMLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays the 1978 Gregorian calendar). ...


The practice of having the referee announce penalties or clarify complex and/or unusual rulings over a wireless microphone started in the NFL in 1975. College football and other professional leagues soon adopted this practice. Microphones redirects here. ... NFL redirects here. ... Year 1975 (MCMLXXV) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... A college football game between Colorado State and Air Force. ...


For years, college football referees were prohibited from announcing the number of a fouling player, except in the Mountain West Conference. In 2004, the rules were changed throughout college football to permit the fouling player's number to be announced. “Mountain West” redirects here. ... Year 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Among the various Halls of Fame for major North American sports, the Pro Football Hall of Fame is unique in that it has not inducted any officials; the Baseball Hall of Fame, Basketball Hall of Fame and Hockey Hall of Fame have each inducted game officials as members. Walhalla temple, Germany A hall of fame (sometimes HOF) is a type of museum established for any a field of endeavour to honour individuals of noteworthy achievement in that field. ... The Pro Football Hall of Fame is the hall of fame of the National Football League (NFL). ... The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, located at 62 Main Street in Cooperstown, New York, is a semi-official museum operated by private interests serving as the central point for the study of the history of baseball in the United States and beyond, the display of baseball-related... Basketball Hall of Fame Logo The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame honors players who have shown exceptional skill at basketball, all-time great coaches and referees, and other major contributors to the game. ... Hockey Hall of Fame logo The Hockey Hall of Fame, located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, is dedicated to the history of ice hockey with exhibits featuring memorabilia and NHL trophies (including the Stanley Cup) along with interactive activities. ...


Employment status

Because their regular season spans only 17 weeks, the NFL is the only major sports league in the United States that only pays their officials on a contract basis as opposed to being full time salaried employees. Advantages to this system include being able to eliminate unqualified Officials simply by not offering them a contract the following season where terminating full time employees would require them to show cause. Critics argue that full-time officials would free them from the distractions of a second job, but proponents of part-time officials point out that the NFL would lose a number of qualified officials because many of them are owners, presidents, or C.E.O.s of various companies. Proponents also argue that there is only one game per week and the regular season is only 4 months long, and that having full-time officials does not necessarily guarantee that they will make fewer officiating mistakes. The level of training and review in which NFL officials participate makes additional time redundant. In any event, veteran officials can make quite substantial salaries for their work.


See also

This is a listing of American football officials who have National Football League (NFL) experience. ... The winning Super Bowl team receives the Vince Lombardi Trophy. ... Note: this article is incomplete. ...

References

  1. ^ Markbreit, Jerry (2005-11-23). Jerry Markbreit's answers: The former NFL referee answers readers' quetions each week throughout the season. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved on 2007-03-10.
  2. ^ Pascoe, Bruce. "Grad of CDO finds fame as NFL referee", Arizona Daily Star, 2006-08-14. Retrieved on 2007-03-10. 
  3. ^ Zimmerman, Lisa. "Replay booth: Positively no visitors", NFL.com, 2001-10-07. Retrieved on 2007-03-10. 

Jerry Markbreit Jerry Markbreit (born March 23, 1935 in Chicago, Illinois) is a former American football referee in the National Football League (NFL) for 23 seasons and became one of the most recognizable referees in the game [1]. Markbreit officiated football games for 43 seasons. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 327th day of the year (328th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... // The Chicago Tribune is a major daily newspaper based in Chicago, Illinois and owned by the Tribune Company. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... March 10 is the 69th day of the year (70th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... The Arizona Daily Star is a daily newspaper that serves Tucson, Arizona, and southern Arizona. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... March 10 is the 69th day of the year (70th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... March 10 is the 69th day of the year (70th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
official: Information from Answers.com (2086 words)
In College Football, the NFL and other professional leagues, and in some high school games, the referee announces penalties and the numbers of the players committing them (college and professional), and clarifies complex and/or unusual rulings over a wireless microphone to both fans and the media, including the result of instant replay reviews.
In college football, the side judge is responsible for either the game clock or the play clock, which are operated by an assistant under his direction.
In college football, the back judge is responsible for either the game clock or the play clock, which are operated by an assistant under his direction.
American football: Information from Answers.com (6102 words)
American football is indeed quite physical in comparison to other major American team sports, such as basketball and baseball.
Tackle football is often banned in American schoolyards in favor of touch football, which uses two-hand touching instead of tackling; or flag football in which a player is "tackled" when an opponent pulls a flag off a belt attached to the player's waist.
Both American football and soccer have their origins in varieties of football played in the United Kingdom in the mid-19th century, and American football is directly descended from rugby football.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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