Football Official

Football Official


Somewhere in, NJ

Male, 62

I've officiated football for over 30 years, now in my 26th on the college level. I've worked NCAA playoffs at the Division II and III level. In addition, I've coached at the scholastic level and have been an educator for over 35 years. I have no interest whatsoever in being an NFL official! Ever!

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474 Questions


Last Answer on January 23, 2021

Best Rated

Can football referees wear glasses?

Asked by brikhaus over 8 years ago

If they want to see, it's a big help. Seriously, yes. Whether they wear glasses or contacts, the important thing is they see the game properly. I wear glasses and, on average, I would say that maybe half the people I work with wear corrective lenses in some form. Years ago, while working high school, I had a pair of photo-grey glasses that changed to dark lenses in the sun. One day, a fan wasn't totally enthralled with my call and yelled out, 'Take off your sunglasses, you'll see the game a lot better'. I hadn't even thought about it until then. Needless to say, the next game those glasses stayed home.

1st down at 9...QB sacked at 25.
2nd down at 25, 20 yd gain, but holding downfield on O at 10.
Decline P: 3rd down at 5
Accept P: 2nd down at 20(or 15?)
Is that correct? Sorry to need to clarify, just seems odd that O can gain yds and not lose down.

Asked by J.Best almost 8 years ago

Everything is dependent on where the foul occurs.  In this scenario, the hold is at the 10, behind the basic spot (where the run ended).  Enforcement is from the ten if the penalty is accepted.  So if it is accepted, it is 2nd and goal at the 20.

How does the NFL decide who gets to ref the Super Bowl? Is it purely seniority, or are the refs "ranked" in some way?

Asked by cannonball! over 8 years ago

Appropriate that there would be a question on the eve of Super Bowl XLVII. There is sooooo much on the line in these contests that the NFL - any league and even the college conferences - has to have its best on the job. There are rankings and the best get to the top games. As I understand it, though, there is a rotation among the top officials so that the same referee (white hat) or other positions don't get the game every year. I mentioned the colleges. In one conference, for example, crews are assigned games up until the closing few weeks when games are more critical in deciding championships. For those late games, merit is the criteria for assigning the officials.

Why do football referees have numbers on their jerseys?

Asked by Kappy.13 over 8 years ago

It's a simple identification process. Granted, the NFL has a pretty limited number of officials, but the idea is to accurately identify who is making the call. It isn't done on the college level or the high school level. There are numbers used in other sports, e.g. In New Jersey, high school wrestling officials have identifying numbers.

Can refs get fined or penalized for making bad calls?

Asked by sungod todd over 8 years ago

In the NFL, as well as all the major college conferences, officials are evaluated on every game. They are graded on good calls, poor calls, good no-calls, and bad no-calls. Those evaluations go into their ranking and, ultimately, into their promotion, retention, or release. In the case of egregious mistakes (e.g. giving a team a fifth down, blatantly mis-enforcing or interpreting a rule) an official -- or even an entire crew -- could be suspended or lose game assignments. Since that means no paycheck, I guess you could say they do get "fined".

When do football refs typically retire? How old were the oldest refs you've worked with?

Asked by Chip Shatz over 8 years ago

Does the phrase "drag them off kicking and screaming" sound familiar? To answer the second question first, I worked with a guy who was 72 when he left the field. He was still doing Division 2 and 3 college ball. He was sharp, in great shape, and he was just plain good. But it was time. And I guess that's the best answer; each official knows when it is time to step down. It is very much like retiring from your regular job - when is the right time? But doing this is a labor of love...and a little glory and ego. And I would say that in a lot of cases it is the camaraderie and bonding with fellow officials that keeps people on the field. And you don't want to give that up easily. On average, I would say that most high school and college officials step down in their late 50's up to their mid 60's. Guys are in better shape these days and work hard at it -- they aren't leaving without making sure it is the right thing for them.

If a punt touches a receiver but does not gain possession, hits the receiver's end zone, then he grabs it on a bounce and takes a knee, should that be a touchback or a safety?

Asked by JF about 8 years ago

There's an old saying: A kick is a kick is a kick.  What you're describing is a kick.  The kick is what put the ball in the endzone (since there was no possession by the receiver).  And a kick in the endzone is a touchback.