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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510 Questions


Last Answer on January 23, 2021

Best Rated

Do you think it's ok for NFL refs to play fantasy football?

Asked by Madden-ing over 11 years ago

Oooh, getting down and dirty with fun and games. OK, I'll be frank - I can't figure the attraction of FF. That being said, I have a slew of friends and family who are in multiple fantasy leagues, some with entry fees in four figures. Not me. Now, is it OK? I don't think so. Despite the fact that the NFL's vetting process for replacements was rather shaky (a professional poker player as a ref is not an issue? Really?) I don't think anyone in that situation should be involved in fantasy leagues or any form of gambling, legal or not. When you are put into a position of trust, as the protector of integrity in a very popular and financially lucrative endeavor (the NFL), you have to be above reproach. There can't be any questions about your character, your honesty, or your decisions. Being in a fantasy league, where you can be financially rewarded for the performances of players you are judging, is not a healthy situation. Even at the college level, we are required by the leagues we service to sign non-gambling statements; our honesty and integrity are on the line even when there isn't a betting line. The NCAA will be doing background checks on officials working the football playoffs even at Division II and III. Fantasy football is a fun distraction (I guess) but not for professionals who are expected to be above question in their judgements.

Why do you say you wouldn’t want to be an NFL ref? Isn’t that a promotion to the highest level of your profession?

Asked by PaolDeigo over 11 years ago

Fair question. For whatever reason, I just never thought about the NFL. Many others do. I did want to do higher level NCAA games, but things happen -- being shorter doesn't always help. I've worked the former Division 1AA (now FCS) and that was great. For some it comes down to the "big fish in a small pond" mindset. Why move up if I am getting great games and am respected for my work where I am currently? And there are other considerations that will keep people at a certain level: the impact of travel, family commitments, and the like. There's an analogy used in the movie "The Right Stuff". The pyramid gets narrower towards the top. It gets tougher and tougher as you move "up"; sometimes it just doesn't seem all that important.

Assuming most football refs are big fans themselves, do the leagues deliberately have refs officiate games where they have no allegiance to a team?

Asked by Colin over 11 years ago

The NFL doesn't prohibit their officials from working their "home" team. I've seen NFL officials I know from the NYC area working the Jets' and Giants' games. I'm pretty sure that none of them have much, if any, Giants or Jets apparel in their wardrobe, or have a Facebook page with photos of them wearing it. However, if an NFL official has a relationship with someone on a specific team, they will not assign him to that team's games. For example, one official has a brother who coaches in Arizona, so he won't work their games. I do know that at the college level supervisors of officials will try to avoid assigning an official to a game if he is an alum. I am asked by my supervisor where I went to college and whether there are any issues with any other schools (e.g. a son or daughter attends a school on your schedule). At one point, the story was that only SEC-grads worked in the SEC, so....

Are there certain star players (past or current) who you think get special treatment from the refs?

Asked by Henderson Hammer over 11 years ago

Does Justin Verlander get a little larger strike zone than a rookie pitcher? Does Derek Jeter strike out looking very often? My answers to those questions are yes and no, respectively. And I think the answer to your question is likely yes in baseball (at least for balls and strikes) and perhaps basketball (does ANYONE travel any more?). Football? I doubt it. In football. the action comes out you too fast to really be thinking whether the "star" is involved. It's also, in my opinion, too clear and open to see, even on judgement calls. The films show what happened and they are reviewed by supervisors. You're graded on each play; that doesn't happen in other sports. Play favorites with the stars? Not likely.

How much do you get paid to ref NCAA D-2?

Asked by BartBaugh over 11 years ago

The fee varies from conference to conference. Remember that at that level you don't have big TV contracts or high ticket prices supporting the athletic program. Fees should be higher (in my opinion) but schools pay what they can afford. Where I am in the northeast the game fee is $190.

Ignoring the blatant offensive pass interference, would you have made the same call as the refs in the SEA/GB game, or would you have ruled that a GB interception?

Asked by Mark J. over 11 years ago

I HOPE I would have called for a conference!! Communication is key between and among officials. When you watch the NFL or a good college crew officiate a game, you see them talk to each other. I'm not referring to the 4 or 5 man conferences that we all hate. I'm talking, as an example, about a linesman and a side judge conferring on a play at the pylon with "What did you see? Was he in, did he step out". Or two deep officials conferring over a catchable pass on a possible pass interference. Regardless, the key is to get it right. When you watch the replay from Monday night, you see the two officials look at each other - that's the good news. They should have been talking, saying something like "I've got an interception" and, as it appears, "I've got a touchdown". That's a concern! And it should have immediately generated a conference with the "white hat", the referee. Now here's the bad news: they didn't. The referee should have been in there to mediate. Former NFL referee Jerry Austin was on ESPN at the end of the game and he said the same thing. Okay, I really haven't answered your question. So what would I have called? This was not, in my opinion (and apparently 99.99% of the rest of the world outside of the state of Washington), a simultaneous catch. The Green Bay player had possession of the ball (first and continuously), but it isn't a catch until they return to the ground. When they do hit the ground, the Seattle player cannot be seen "in possession". By any standard I'm familiar with, it is an interception.

Is there a particular bad call you made that still haunts you to this day?

Asked by Big Rich over 11 years ago

Oh no! True confessions. Haunt may be a strong word. Bother. Never forget. Shake your head in disbelief that I made that call. They may be better descriptors. I think every official has made a call that he felt was right at the time but that when replaying it in his head later questions it. And we all cringe a bit when an observer comes in after the game and asks that wonderful question, "What did you see on that play?" Which in officials' circles means, "I can't wait to hear your explanation of THAT call". The one play that I still shake my head about occurred probably a dozen years ago in a college game. I was having an off day. The first half was not going well for me and I was getting flustered. There was a pass into the endzone that clearly hit the ground before bouncing up into the diving receiver's hands. I saw it clearly; I knew it was an incomplete pass. And yet I still put my hands up signaling touchdown. Well, it took about two milliseconds before three of my fellow officials were surrounding me, asking me what I saw (and, I'm sure thinking that I was crazy!) We corrected the call - and we didn't need instant replay to do it - and moved on. I don't know what happened or why I did that. Brain freeze? I regrouped in the locker room at half time and the second half was much better. Haunting me? No. Wondering what the heck I was thinking? Oh, yes!

Do NCAA and NFL refs typically hold other jobs, also?

Asked by A-Train over 11 years ago

Yes. As far as I understand, the only major sport in the US that has "full-time" officials is baseball. While the salaries the NFL officials make is significant, they are employed full time elsewhere. They are lawyers, educators, finance people, and a host of other professionals. College officials, even in the highest level conferences, don't come close to the income of the NFL officials so they definitely have regular jobs.

Do you think the replacement refs ARE actually worse than the regular refs? Or are the coaches and players going overboard in trying to intimidate and incriminate them?

Asked by Go LeSean!!! over 11 years ago

In the spirit of full disclosure, I know officials on both sides. I've worked with some at the high school and college level. I believe the replacements were put into a very difficult situation. They are officials - at some level - but are unfamiliar with the intricacies of NFL rules, the speed of the players at that level, and the nuances of what goes on at the line of scrimmage and downfield in the pro game. Like so many others have said, I think the replacements did the best job they could. I do feel that as the pre-season and then the regular season got underway, coaches and players saw what they could get away with (perhaps more than they could with the regulars) and pushed the envelope.

All of the talking heads on TV were droning on about how much FASTER the NFL game is than other levels - how much truth is there to that? Is it really that much harder to officiate?

Asked by carryon over 11 years ago

The talking heads love to talk. But some of them have bodies below those heads that actually played the game. And they're right. Go to a local high school game and watch the players, not necessarily the game. Then go to a college game - doesn't have to be "big time" - and compare. Take that up one more level to the NFL and the difference is staggering. I still work high school games, and I do it primarily with other college officials. It is, comparatively, much easier than doing a college game. Why? The skill, size, and speed of the players. There aren't many calls to be made in the average high school game that a decent official can't make. It gets a bit more challenging at the college level, and I'm only talking about D2 or 3. I've also worked as a practice official for a nearby D1 program. Bigger than high school players? yes. Faster? yes. More skilled? yes. And there are more of them with talent. A top high school program might have maybe 1, 2, or 3 kids who could play D1 (and not necessarily in the SEC). A college team at D1 has, well, everyone who can play there. And the very top D1 programs might have 4 or 5 players who will be drafted into the NFL. NFL teams have....uh, you get the picture. With the increase in the size, speed, and skill of the players comes a commensurate need for an increase in the skills of the officials. Talking heads droning? Yeah, but this time they have a point.

Do a coach's yells and pleas have any effect on a ref's decision-making? Or are you immune to it?

Asked by Georgia Dame over 11 years ago

Regardless of the level of play, officials are human. We actually do have feelings, and no one enjoys getting yelled at. That being said, if you are really doing your job properly, you have to turn off the outside distractions, including coaches, players, and fans. And you'd better develop a thick skin and leave your emotions in the locker room. You have to try to be objective and "call what you see". Officials don't care (or shouldn't care) who wins or loses. Now, as a young official who is human (see first part of answer) can you be influenced? Sure. Are there "make up" calls? There shouldn't be. But as an official, a big part of your job is communication with the coach. You need to establish a relationship, especially the officials who work the sidelines, with the coach. He wants answers to questions, he wants and needs information (ask Bill Belichick) to do his job. And that means giving him both good news ("Coach, it will be your ball if you decline the penalty") and bad news ("Coach, your right tackle was holding; that's gonna be 10 yards"). The good coaches, and most of them are decent, know you have a job to do; if you communicate with them and do your job to the best of your ability, the yelling and screaming just become background noise to the game.

I read this a.m. that NFL refs will make, on avg, $173K/yr starting 2013. Am I missing something, or does that seem insanely high for like 20 days of actual work? Or is there a lot more work that goes on behind-the-scenes?

Asked by Big Rich over 11 years ago

It always comes down to money. What is anyone worth for their labor? Is A-Rod worth $240 million? Is any performer worth the money they get for a movie or a concert? What will the traffic bear? As you watched the first three weeks of the NFL season, I'm sure there were a few times when you thought that whatever the NFL paid the regular refs wasn't enough. The big questions here, and in any profession, is what is your expertise, your skill, your time worth? Your question notes 20 days of work. Well, it's a bit more than that. As an educator, I would get similar comments like 'you only work 10 months' and you only work from 9 to 3. Not exactly. Go to the answers on this site about teachers. The woman writing does a good job explaining the hours/days that teachers put in well beyond the "9 to 3". Same for officials. For starters, all of us started out doing Pop Warner, midget leagues, and JV games. And we got a lot less than $173K. The first high school JV game I ever did I earned $15. There are tests to take, clinics to attend, conditioning to do - and that's on "your time". NFL officials have to be at the game city the day before, where they do film study together. That's in addition to film and rule study during the week on their own. Yes, the behind-the-scenes work is pretty extensive, and it also reflects years of work leading up to the ultimate assignment. A quick comparison: I can work a Division II game and get $195 for the game. But I have to arrive there three hours before the game and I'm usually there an hour after, what with game reports, hearing from an observer, and cleaning up. So I've been on site for about 6 hours for $195. That's just over $32/hour. That doesn't include the weekly pre-season study groups I attended, the two-day rules/conditioning clinic I attended, and all the other preparation I put in before I even stepped onto a field. Is it a lot of money? Sure. But I feel they've earned the right to make that. And you have something to compare it to the last three weeks.

Do you own up to bad calls after games?

Asked by shtcray over 11 years ago

More true confessions. This is an honesty, trust, and integrity thing. Who am I owning up to? I can, and will, admit to my fellow officials that I blew a call, and not waiting until after the game. And truthfully, if you miss a call, you're going to hear it from the coach right then and there. That is when you own up to a bad judgement. There are different situations regarding a "bad" call. An example: I had a game in which there was an interception by the team on my sideline - and right in front of the coach. The defender went up, caught the ball, and then came to the ground -- ALMOST. I thought I saw his knee hit and I blew the whistle. In replaying it in my head, I know he didn't touch, and he had clear sailing down the sideline to a score. But he wasn't scoring once I blew the whistle. We set up for their offense and as we did, the coach came over and courteously asked, "Was his knee down?" He knew and he wanted to know if I was going to tell him the truth or lie, which would have created a major rift for the rest of the game between him and me. I said, "I think I might have missed that, coach." He said thank you and walked away. In other situations, you might miss something, such as a hold or pass interference. Maybe you aren't sure, and you get "questioned" by the coach. The best you can do is say you'll watch it, or that you might have missed it and you'll watch.

Do you take players’ body language reactions into account? eg if 4 def. players IMMEDIATELY start waving their arms "incomplete", I say that's real evidence that you should take into acct. It's MUCH harder to fake immediate reactions than ppl think.

Asked by howard over 11 years ago

Defenders ALWAYS signal incomplete. Receivers ALWAYS signal catch. If they think they were held or interfered with, they ALWAYS wave their hands as if throwing the flag. They react very quickly, because they believe there was a foul. And there is the big difference between a player and an official. Officials don't BELIEVE there was a foul, they KNOW it. Four defenders waving their arms "incomplete" to me says four defenders blew their coverage.

How can the NFL say unequivocally “Golden Tate should have been called for offensive pass interference, which should have ended the game”, and not reverse the game result? Has the NCAA ever reversed the actual result of a game after the fact?

Asked by 1time over 11 years ago

To the best of my knowledge, that has never happened. And I don't think it should. If you open that can of worms and set a precedent for changing results after the fact from what occurred on the field, there would be no end to the challenges. It would call into question every decision, every call, every outcome. The old saw goes, 'It's a game played by humans and judged by humans'. You have to live with certain things. And as a side note, the official who made the call apparently is publicly saying he was right. Heard that on the radio this morning.

Do you find yourself acting as a referee OFF the field? Meaning, are you the natural mediator when it comes to arguments between friends, family, etc?

Asked by Anthony (BK, NY) over 11 years ago

I don't get paid enough to mediate my family's problems. I don't get paid enough to officiate football, either, but I WANT to be there.

Do you think there should be some equivalent of a technical foul, like in basketball? You guys seem to take an awful lot of abuse without really being able to do anything about it.

Asked by nelsonhaha over 11 years ago

Well, if you judge abuse by what the replacement refs were taking, then yes, we take a lot. But look at baseball. Kicking dirt, going nose-to-nose with an umpire. I know coaches/managers can be ejected, but umpires take a lot, probably more than in any sport. A lot of this goes back to communication and control. You need to communicate with the coach about what is going on. They have a job to do and so does the official. The coaches will say a lot, usually about a missed call. But eventually they have to coach. Sometimes they'll keep going and then communicating with them is the key. "Coach, I'll watch for that", or "Coach, I'll find out what the other official saw as soon as I can". If they keep harping, the best thing to say is something like, "Coach, I know you're upset, but if we keep going back to that play, you're going to cause me to miss the next one" or, ultimately, "Coach, we have to move on. that one is over". Many coaches, especially as you move up in level, are pretty smart. They'll come over to you and more quietly say something on-on-one so no one else hears it. And contrary to popular opinion, they really don't question your heritage or parentage. The rule of thumb for officials: if no one else hears it, then it's just between you and the coach. But if he really goes off, and your mom, who you invited to the game and is sitting right behind the team, hears it, then you can flag him for unsportsmanlike conduct. But truthfully it doesn't happen very often.

Do you think the replacement ref debacle in the NFL gave comfort to refs in other major sports about their own job security cuz they're now thinking "my league will never risk a PR disaster like that, so we've got more leverage now"?

Asked by kaliko over 11 years ago

Good question and very interesting. There is no question that the Monday night game with the controversial ending was a catalyst to get the deal done. But I think the NFL was in a unique position. It is, with some contrary notions, the most popular sport. There is heavy gambling on the NFL (not that the league "worries" about Las Vegas books), so it garners a lot of attention. But not every call made during the lockout was in error. And not every replacement official was bad or didn't belong at that level. You can find very competent replacements - the NFL, as I noted in another posting, did not use highly competent Division 1 officials who MIGHT have done a better job. If the NHL locked out its officials, what kind of outcry would there be? With all due respect to hockey fans everywhere, if an NHL game was messed up by a replacement official, how much would you hear about it? Take it a step further: Major League Soccer?

Are refs given "scripts" for announcing calls to the crowd, or are you free to phrase a call however you wish?

Asked by Go Bolts! over 11 years ago

Short answer: no. Referees have to know the rules, the enforcement, and need to have the ability to speak clearly and extemporaneously. Every situation is a bit different so you can't have a script. The easy stuff is natural: "Holding, on the offense, number 75. Ten yard penalty, repeat second down". But you can get a bit involved, too. "We have multiple fouls on the receiving team on the return. Block in the back, number 29; that foul is declined. Holding, number 43. That foul is enforced at the spot of the foul. First down." You can't script all that. There are some things that supervisors want and don't want said in the announcements. For example, with the current concern about concussions, there are more fouls for helmet-to-helmet contact. But you shouldn't be hearing the phrase "helmet-to-helmet". The national college supervisor does want the term "targeting" used, as in the head, or the player, was targeted by the hit. But don't use helmet in the announcement. Noted NFL referee Jerry Markbreit tried to prepare for the unusual. In his book, he recounted how he would create crazy plays and their related fouls. He would then "announce" the foul, practicing announcing it while looking at himself in the mirror. As the story goes, one game he had a weird, wacky, and very convoluted foul. He gets on the mike and announces it clearly and concisely. He later gets a call from someone who says what a great job he did explaining the foul and its enforcement. They asked Markbreit how he could explain that play so well and on TV no less. His answer: "I practiced it".

The NFL refs' salaries are a rounding error compared to those of the athletes and the league's other operating costs. Why was the NFL so stubborn on this issue when it barely makes a dent in their bottom line?

Asked by Confused COO over 11 years ago

This was, as I understand it, a simple management versus union matter. I heard, as I'm sure you did, that it would cost each team about $100,000 to settle it. The union wanted protections and the NFL wanted to make some significant changes in long term costs and control of the process of putting officials on the field. Roger Goodell set out an open letter to season ticket holders in which he wrote: "While the financial issues received the most attention, these negotiations were much more about long-term reforms. For example, beginning with the 2013 season, the NFL will have the option of hiring a number of officials on a full-time basis to work year-round, including on the field. In addition, the NFL will have the option to retain additional officials for training and development purposes, and may assign those additional officials to work NFL games." The second part is important in that it lets the NFL add officiating crews so that "underperforming" officials can be replaced during the season. The union counters that there are crews not working some weeks now, and those officials can be used to cover such situations. Bottom line, in my view, is that this was a control issue for the NFL; they didn't want to lose any.

If refs absolutely cannot agree on a call no matter how much they review a play, what happens then?

Asked by JSB over 11 years ago

Uhh, you do agree. There are no "do overs" because officials can't agree. And when push comes to shove, that is why the white hat is there. There will be plays (need I remind you of Seattle-Green Bay) where two officials see it differently (e.g. catch-no catch on a pass that is close to the ground). You confer. Someone has to convince the other. And, as I said, the referee is there to mediate and guide the discussion. On a pass play, for example, the college axiom is 'when in doubt, wipe it out'. But that assumes there is no replay (it's not available at Division II or III) or that there is no clear opinion from both officials. Be assured, there will be a decision.

How do I get into officiating? I love baseball, but realistically I’m never going to play in the majors, but being an umpire is like my dream job.

Asked by aaron5 over 11 years ago

A couple of thoughts. First, I believe that most officials start out in officiating because they love the sport. You're on the right track. As for how to get started, often local officiating organizations put ads or list meetings in the sports section or in public notices in the paper. Another way is to contact your state's sports governing body to get the name/address/phone of the secretary of the officials group. Contact them for an application or to find out about the process. If you happen to be in season, go to a local high school game and talk to the umpires. That, for the record, is how I got into football officiating.

Have you ever been offered a bribe to favor a team in a game you were reffing?

Asked by howard over 11 years ago

No. And if I was offered, I certainly hope I would have the character and integrity to say no. And then to turn the person in to the appropriate authorities.

How in-shape do you have to be to ref football effectively, and what's your regimen?

Asked by Wanna be zebra over 11 years ago

Once upon a time, in the world of football officials, the umpire (the one right behind the defensive line) used to be referred to as being in the "rocking chair". Just like an old man, he could sit back a rock on the front porch. He was often the heaviest and slowest on the field. Not any more. The game, even on the high school level, is much faster and the players more athletic. The spread offense and no huddle teams are across the board. While you don't have to be ready to run a marathon, you'd better be able to move quickly and make judgements on the fly. An interception at the 1, run back 99 yards? You better be at the goal line pretty much with that defender, to call the TD! I don't know of any physical testing at the high school level, but just about all college conferences require officials to have pre-season physicals and to undergo physical testing of some sort. Being able to run (jog) at least a half mile and to do interval sprints is pretty common. Everyone is different as far as training. If you don't do a winter sport, where you would be staying in shape, I usually get out of hibernation in March or April. That coincides with the start of our local study groups on the new rules (still think it's a 3 or 4 month job?). You hit the treadmill, you stretch, you do sprints. I try to get to the gym 2-3 times per week from the start to about June 1. Then I start the outdoor segment (warmer weather, conditions similar to what you'll get in the early part of the season). By the way, the weekly study groups have been going on at least into May, and once we get final interpretations on the new rules, those sessions are more important. The conferences' pre-season clinics, often two day affairs, are in early August, so you're trying to peak with your training with those dates in mind. You continue with the running and stretching; I'm doing at least 3 times per week. And after the clinic, where we get rules tests as well as the physical testing, I'm still running twice a week and at the gym with strength and stretching another two. And I think my workout is light compared to some others. During the season I cut back. A three hour college game on a Saturday (often after a two-plus hour high school game on Friday night) is a pretty good workout. Usually it's stretching and some strength training during the week. Does that help?

Why didn't the NFL just get NCAA D1 refs to fill in, given that they've probably officiated games of at least similar intensity, crowd size, etc?

Asked by Bones_11 over 11 years ago

That would make a lot of sense but it would have been a very dicey situation. Many of the D1 conferences use NFL officials as their supervisors of officials (e.g. Big East, Big 10, Big 12, C-USA). If the NFL used officials from those conferences, the officials would be replacing their own supervisors and their supervisors' colleagues on the NFL games. Can you say UGLY?

What changes would you make to NFL instant replay if you had free reign?

Asked by DreamyHochuli over 11 years ago

It seems that every time you have a controversial call, you learn some other wrinkle about instant replay (they can't review this or that). I've never worked with instant replay, although I know a lot of officials who like it because they know the call will be corrected. Odd, you say, that they are okay with that? Bottom line is, officials want the call to be right, so they know that if a call is tenuous, it will be corrected. What would I want changed? I'm really not sure. I think a lot is going right, recent activity not withstanding. Sometimes I think they've gone too far with things like catches (having to maintain possession throughout the entire action - the only way you could possibly see it is with super-slow motion replay - takes away the human element). I'm probably not giving you anything too juicy here, but if I think of something, I'll add it -- if the NFL doesn't do it first!

How many bad calls does it take before a college or pro ref gets fired?

Asked by Finding Dykstra over 11 years ago

One of the issues in the NFL lockout involved adding crews. The reason was that the commissioner wanted to be able to have the extra bodies to replace "under-performing" officials during the season. The number of "bad calls" isn't a black-and-white matter; it's a lot more complex than that. Officials at the higher levels are judged on a range of actions including correct calls, correct judgements, incorrect judgements, incorrect calls. It also takes into account working with the crew, communicating with coaches, and test scores, among other things. I don't believe a supervisor has a set number in mind when he critiques an official. So there isn't a number of "bad calls" that decides an official's fate.

Do you ever experience any significant ref-on-ref friction? Like if you and another ref just have very different outlooks on what constitutes fairness etc?

Asked by Colin over 11 years ago

While for most of this is an avocation, it is no different than any other job. You are going to have "professional differences". Your example of "fairness" might not be the right example, but there will be officials who have different views of holding or pass interference. Some sideline officials will give a coach a bit more leeway in comments or "dialogue" about a call than others. If you are on a crew, you try to be as consistent as you can, That's why, on the college level, we get there three or more hours before a game so we can review the little things that make the game run well. If there are serious issues - and I'm probably talking personality more than actual officiating - it needs to be addressed (the referee - the white hat - needs to intervene) and that might mean moving someone off the crew.

If it were up to you, would you put an end to endzone celebrations, or do you think this is something the NFL should be more lenient about?

Asked by Sticky Ickey over 11 years ago

Guess I'm old school. I'm a big believer in the axiom, "Act like you've been there before". Everyone is trying to get on Sports Center.

It is a bit silly. Personally, yes, cut the nonsense. I don't think it takes away from the college game to have some "youthful exuberance" but eliminate celebrations that draw attention to you. Why have all the carrying on as the pros do now? The college rule changed so that any sort of unsportsmanlike act (high-stepping into the end zone, for example) causes the foul to be live, meaning no score and the foul is enforced from the spot - maybe the 5 or 10 yard line. That might stop some fools from spiking the ball on the 5 yard line by mistake. Cutting back on celebrations also might stop guys from trying to dunk over the cross bar and breaking their wrist, or landing funny, breaking an ankle. I'm waiting for someone to do a back flip and break his leg on the landing. Think that will get a coach's attention?

Do players or coaches physically threaten you? Have you ever actually been worried about them following through?

Asked by 94949494 over 11 years ago

The simple answer is no. I think I can honestly say that I have never been or felt threatened on the field. There was a college coach who once violated the "unwritten" rules and confronted us after the game in the locker room. I guess he figured it was our fault that his team blew a two touchdown lead in the fourth quarter. In that situation, we maintained our calm as best we could, left the campus quickly, and contacted our supervisor. That, however, was a single occurrence and I never experienced anything like that again. There has been only one time in my career where I received a police escort off the field. It was a high school game and there were back-to-back defensive pass interference calls against the home team. It allowed the visitors to kick the game winning field goal with the clock expiring. We got off the field without incident. And the calling official on those fouls stood by them. If the foul is there, you make the call and throw the flag. For the record, in New Jersey assaulting an official (and I believe that would include making threats of harm) is a crime.

Do players ever accuse you or your colleagues of being racist when a call doesn't go their way?

Asked by McD12 over 11 years ago

Football is an emotional game, and things get said in the heat of the moment. Interestingly, and I would add fortunately and happily, such situations are very rare. Will kids think that, based on their own histories and backgrounds? Maybe. But coaches can stop that sort of thing, and we, as officials, can diffuse it, too. How we interact with the players can let them know that such comments are a) inappropriate and b) a bit misguided. There are far more minorities - and women! - in officiating across the board, including football. The NFL had a woman as a replacement and I am aware of another who is in line for a spot down the road.

Do refs ever have off-the-field friendships/relationships with coaches? Or is that an absolute no-no?

Asked by Dr. G. over 11 years ago

As with any occupation, you get to know people, and you might actually be friends outside of work. That being said, I'd say it is a bit harder to do, and probably less likely, on the college and professional level. When I started doing high school officiating, I was also in education. I knew coaches from teaching and even coaching other sports (as I did), and you tended to work in the same area so you saw them more frequently. On the college level, and certainly in the NFL, you travel a lot to get to your games, and coaches change jobs moving to other areas. It is far less likely that you would be socializing with a coach.

If a QB throws the ball out of bounds "throwing the ball away" from their own endzone, is that intentional grounding (where a safety would be awarded to the other team) or just an incomplete pass?

Asked by George A. over 11 years ago

This question appeared back in November but, unfortunately, I didn't get notified that it was here. I'm seeing it now the day before the Super Bowl. Can it be intentional grounding? Yes, and if it is then it is a safety (it's a "spot foul", meaning it is marked off from the spot of the infraction). But just as on any other part of the field, the QB can throw it away under certain circumstances (e.g. out of the pocket) and it goes as in incomplete pass.

Do female football refs have a markedly harder time earning the respect of male refs and players, or are we past that point?

Asked by Kirbo82 over 11 years ago

That's a great question with answers on a lot of levels. I have worked with a female official on the high school level. She was knowledgeable and she hustled. You can't ask for much more than that. One of the issues that creeps into the conversation, though, is a person's knowledge level and their "feel" for the game. If you never played it, can you understand it? The answer is, of course, yes; you just have to work harder at it. I know a male official who said he was a better lacrosse official because he never played the game; he had to study and think more. He couldn't assume he knew the game "because he played it" as he did in football. I believe women are in the same situation. Today, there is more equity and both players and coaches, being younger, have different, more open views. That doesn't mean they don't have their issues with female football officials. But like anything else, you earn your stripes. If you can't cut it, being a woman isn't going to get you very far. And I feel women, in a "man's world", just like men working in a predominantly female area (e.g. field hockey), have to understand the game better and get inside the players' heads to figure out how they think. An example: as an official, I've patted a player on the back saying, 'good play' or 'way to stay off the pile'. And it's been done to me (believe it or not). Players have said 'good call' and patted me. Well, a story was passed on to me about a female official who flagged a player for unsportsmanlike behavior. When the referee (white hat) asked for details, she said that the player patted her on the butt -- and told her good call. As it was told to me, the referee refused to enforce the penalty. To me, that was a mistake on her part, misjudging or being overly sensitive to a player's actions. Was it disrespect to her by the ref or was she trying too hard to get control? You earn respect, and I think most players, coaches, and other officials will give a female official the opportunity to make it. After that, it's up to her.

Can football referees wear glasses?

Asked by brikhaus about 11 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.

Do you think someone who's never really played organized football (beyond Pop Warner leagues) can still be a good ref at the college or pro level, assuming he knows the rulebook backward and forward?

Asked by aspiring zebra over 11 years ago

I think the answer is yes, with this caveat: You really need to work at it. That may seem obvious, but having played a sport, you have a "feel" for how it works and flows. Knowing the rules, mechanics, and philosophies is an absolute, whether you played the game or not. Applying them, interpreting them, that's where you need to work. It's like the law: there is the letter of the law (what the legislature created) and there is the spirit of the law (how it is interpreted and applied by the police and the courts). I believe you would need to be a true student of the game in order to do the job well, and that would take some time. In an earlier post, I noted that I knew an official who does both football and lacrosse. He felt he was a better lacrosse official because he didn't play the game. The reason: he had to work at it more.

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! about 11 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 about 11 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.

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 about 10 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.

Can refs get fined or penalized for making bad calls?

Asked by sungod todd about 11 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 about 11 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 over 10 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.

I am following up on a question you answered regarding "pushing the pile." Just to be clear, were you saying no penalty, but forward momentum should be ruled stopped? Or were you saying that the pushing can advance the ball?

Asked by over 10 years ago

Pushing can move the pile.  But at some point you have forward progress stopped.  In close line play it is a massive scrum; you aren't calling helping the runner.  The wing officials - head linesman and line judge, the two on the line of scrimmage - are going to rule on that.

Is "pushing the pile" a form of assisting the runner and therefore a penalty (or at least should forward momentum be deemed stopped)? Our referee this past weekend decided that it was not a violation even though it was clearly being done.

Asked by over 10 years ago

Different rules in high school and college, so let's first look at that. NCAA changed the rule this year to take out any reference to pushing the runner. NCAA Rule 9-3-2 says no teammate of the ball carrier "shall grasp, pull, or lift him to assist him in forward progress". So you can push him or the pile. The high school rule (9-1) states, "An offensive player shall not push, pull or lift the runner to assist his forward progress". So technically the push is illegal in high school football.

Without having seen the play I would tend to agree with your referee. In my many years of officiating I have NEVER seen helping the runner called.  And I dont want to.   Especially in close line play, how do you really determine that?  Most of my colleagues would avoid the call.  Obviously if a player lifts his teammate and literally tosses him over the pile, that's different. Generally speaking, progress was stopped - no foul.  Don't be too technical.  Next down!

How many players have to line up on each side of a kicker during a free kick in high school football? Please include any rulebook references.
Thank you.

Asked by Coach Loh over 10 years ago

Unlike in college where there must be at least four on each side of the kicker, there is no such rule in high school football.  The NFHS Rules Book shows no references for that under any of the pertinent rules, specifically Rule 6 - Kicking. 

What does it mean when referees give the false start motion to each other before the snap. I've seen the umpire and referee doing it as they are walking backwards. It appears that they are trying to communicate something to each other.

Asked by over 10 years ago

You've hit it - they're telling each other the foul.  It is done in the NFL and in college to save time and move the game along.  On something like a false start, it is pretty straight forward.  Rather than come in to conference, the calling official (the one who threw the flag) will signal and call out (or with indicate fingers) the number of the offending player.  You'll see officials come together on more complex plays or when there could be a question. For example, there might be movement by offensive and defensive linemen; who committed the foul?  The two line of scrimmage officials (and sometimes the umpire) will come in to discuss it; did the defense cause the offense to jump or vice versa?

I'm editing my response as I re-read your question.  You wrote before the snap.  I was responding to officials giving that signal after a flag is thrown.  The "rolling hands" - in college - among officials is given prior to 4th down, and it is a reminder that there are specific 4th down rules in effect for the upcoming play.  If you're writing about the NFL, I'm not sure, but I'll check on that.  Sorry for my mistake in responding the first time.

Has the win 10 rule ever been utilized in selection of playoff standings

Asked by Greg over 10 years ago

Sorry, but I don't know what you're writing about.  Officials have nothing to do with standings and team selections, anyway.

Here is the play in question. During a punt a member of the receiving team touches the ball which eventually gets into the endzone and is recovered by another member of the receiving team and is not advanced out of the endzone. Touchback or safety?

Asked by Rob over 10 years ago

Touchback.  There is an old saying in officiating: a kick is a kick is a kick.  A kick remains that until it is possessed, and what you describe has no possession until the receiving team recovers it in the endzone.  Had the first receiver controlled the ball (possession) and then fumbled it into the endzone, then we have a safety.

In rugby, if the wind knocks the ball off the tee, this is considered a "live ball" until the kicker asks the ref if he can reset the ball. Is this the same in NFL (or any other level of American Football)?

Asked by KFA about 10 years ago

Well, KFA, I know very little about rugby, but as you can see from your first question above, the answer is no.  Since you raise "live ball" vs. "dead ball", in American football, the ball is not live until it is kicked. It isn't in play until foot hits ball.

in ncaa football, what is the specific rule of marching bands playing during the game?

Asked by neal over 10 years ago

If there's an NCAA rule about bands, it isn't coverd in the NCAA Football Rules book (thankfully - one less thing to worry about!).  There might be some rules that universities and their bands follow, but it isn't a concern for officials.  The only reference to bands in the football rules is in the timing rule, Rule 3-4-1-b, regarding making sure half time is over as scheduled and getting the second half started on time. But even that rule states that bands "are under the jurisdiction of home management."  My sense is that the rule of thumb is that the band stops as the offense (home or visitor) comes to the line.

Why in the NFL does the QB come onto the field during a change of possession time out? Is there a rule against staying by the coach until play resumes?

Asked by steve over 10 years ago

I'm sorry, but I don't understand this question.

is there anywhere that fans can get justice for bad or cheating referees in a n f l game, ie, saints at patriots.

Asked by jean morel over 10 years ago

I have no idea what you're talking about.  If you're an unhappy fan, that's the way it goes.  If you're a bettor - assuming, of course, that you made a legal sports bet in Nevada or Delaware - that's why they call it gambling.  Beyond that, I don't know what you're getting at.  How do I get justice for an entire Congress that's lost its mind?

Is it illegal to tackle a player by his dreadlocks?

Asked by Drew over 10 years ago

Well, it isn't illegal as far as I can find.  You aren't grabbing the facemask or the helmet opening.  You aren't horsecollaring him (although I would think the effect is the same). I saw it happen a few years ago in a college game.  The player was asked later, on a scale of 1-10, what was the pain.  He said eleven.

Relating to previous question; assume it was first and goal from the 9 and on 1st down the QB ran backwards and was sacked at the 25.
Since the play "counted" why does the offense get to replay the down AND net gain yards?
Doesn't make sense to me.

Asked by J.Best about 10 years ago

Based on what you're writing now, the Ref will give these options to the defense:

2nd and goal from the 25 (declining the penalty, take the result of the play - the sack) OR

1st and goal at the 19 (accept the 10 yard holding penalty from the previous spot - College rule)

I'm not sure I can explain it any other way.

My son's junior football teams have been penalized 3 times for assisting the runner. I have watched MANY MANY examples of this same thing in D1 college and the NFL and never seen a call. Examples ... first TD for Ducks vs Huskies Oct 12. What is rule

Asked by kc8333 over 10 years ago

I cannot believe the number of questions about helping the runner. In a long career of officiating at the high school and college level, I have never - honestly, never - seen it called. Your son's coach needs to speak with the league and there needs to be clarification on the rule.  In college the rule was changed this year (as I previously wrote) to make it only pulling the runner creating the foul. No one wants to make that call - really, they don't.  I obviously didn't see your son's game, nor did I see the Oregon-Washington game. And based on what I just wrote, there probably wasn't a foul in that college game.

2nd down at opponent 25 yd ln.
Pass play for 10 yds, run for another 10 yds.
Holding by blocking wr downfield at 10 yd ln.

Is it 2nd down at 20
or 3rd down at 20?

Can the offense gain yds and not lose a down, where they committed the infraction?

Asked by J.Best about 10 years ago

First, you don't indicate the yards to go, so I can't know if there was a first down made.  The penalty in this play would be marked off from the spot of the foul since it was beyond the line of scrimmage and behind the end of the run (with me so far?).  It is likely at least 2nd down because if the penalty is accepted, you replay the down. 

Your third point: you could make a first down, have a penalty by the offense at the end of the run, and be pushed back with the penalty enforcement but still have first down.

if the ball crosses the goalline but is knocked out of the players hand and is recovered by the defence is it a touchdown or fumbule

Asked by nsane about 10 years ago

I'm assuming the ball is in player possession when it crosses the goal.  If a runner puts the ball in his possession over the line, it is a touchdown; play is over and the "recovery" is irrelevant.  You use the concept of a "pane of glass"; if you break the glass, it's a TD.  If a receiver catches the ball in the air over the endzone, he must come down to the ground with possession. So if a reception is made in the air, and the ball is knocked out of the receiver's hands before he establishes contact with the ground, it's incomplete.

Team A is kicking off to Team B and attempts an onside kick that before it travels 10 yards is touched by Team A. This is illegal touching, but can Team B pick up the ball and advance it without fear of fumbling due to previous illegal touch.

Asked by Dre over 10 years ago

Yes...more or less.  If there is illegal touching by A, it's going to be B's ball at the end of the play.  Unless B fouls. But basically your point is correct.  If B should fumble, the ball would be returned to the point of the illegal touch.

If the wind knocks the ball off the tee, does the kicker have to ask the ref before replacing the ball?

Asked by KFA about 10 years ago

Generally, no.  A lot of times the official responsible for working with the kicker (the Back Judge) will come over, but the kicker will set it up.  If it blows over a second time, the kicking team has to have someone hold it.

Sorry to beat a dead horse on assisting a runner. As a coach, I want to teach it if it is legal. If it is not legal .... IT NEEDS TO BE CALLED. Get rid of the rule if it's not going to be called and let us coach it.

Asked by kc26 over 10 years ago

Any rule - in the appropriate spot - can and should be called.  The situations that have been described, while possibly helping the runner, just aren't so clear cut as to be fouls (e.g. pushing the pile).  Now, that being said, there may be situations (which I cannot nor do I choose to think of at this time) when a player might be "helped" and that should be called.  To your point about coaching it, I'm not sure what you're going to tell your players to do. And if you coach them to do something and it gets called, that's on you. I'm not sure what is going on that it is being called and is generating such angst.  But it really isn't worth continuing; you're right - the horse is dead; it's time to dismount.

If you intercept the ball on about the 10 yard line and you run a little bit and then get tackled in the endzone, is it a saftey , touchback, or is the ball just place at the spot of the interception?

Asked by Cole about 10 years ago

This was mentioned a few questions ago. If you intercept a pass inside the 5 (at least in college, probably NFL, too) and then go into the endzone where you're tackled, it comes back out to the spot of the interception. That is momentum.  If it is intercepted at the ten, as you describe, and you take it into the endzone, it is your fault the ball is there, and that will be a safety.

Continuation on assisting the runner. I just watched another good example on a 4th quarter Dallas Cowboys TD vs the Redskins. If this is in fact against the rules, why is it never called?

Asked by kc8333 over 10 years ago

There's a saying among officials: Don't make it the call of the game.  Your calls should be solid, clear, obvious. If it's there, call it.  Pushing the runner in a pile of bodies? Not obvious, not clear.  Why is it never called? It just isn't a solid call. And I don't want to make the next week's training film as the guy who called helping the runner.

college football - 20 yard completion for first down and db grabs receivers facemask on catch for a personal foul penalty. team was given a choice of which one to take. i thought this was an add on at the end of the play. Ruling correct?

Asked by Bob over 10 years ago

You're correct.  That penalty should have been tacked on at the end of the play. Pass play plus penalty: that should have been a 35-yard total for the offense.

From youth fooball - can you intentionally trip the ball carrier? Our running back was tripped intentionally and the ref said that was ok.

Asked by Steve over 10 years ago

The ref is correct.  Most youth programs that I'm familiar with use high school rules, with appropriate modifications for the age of the younger and smaller players.  The National Federation (that's high school) rules book has two points on this.  Rule 9, Section 3, Article 2b: A player shall not block an opponent below the waist except to tackle a runner or player pretending to be a runner.  And specifically on tripping, there's Rule 9, Section 3, Article 7: A player shall not trip an opponent who is not a runner. These are safety issues.  The theory, I would guess, is that a runner is expecting to be hit at any time and from, literaly, any angle.  Blocking below the waist can be very dangerous.  You're hearing a lot about it now with the NFL restricting hits above the shoulder; analysts - many of them former players - are now saying tacklers are going to go low to avoid the head shots, and that can be a very dangerous hit. Tripping is also legal against the runner only in college.

Why is it that toward the end of the half or end of the game, the officials run faster and hustle more when the time is running out to place the ball? I feel like their helping the offense, they shouldn't be helping one team over the other.

Asked by Vilas over 10 years ago

Good point to raise.  Officials try to maintain a steady pace, regardless of how fast the offense is going (no huddle, hurry up).  However, as time is getting ready to expire in a half, officials will use one ball, the same one that was in the previous play, rather than substitute a new ball. There still has to be an opportunity for the defense to "match up", which means if the offense is subbing (even in a hurry up), the defense has to be given the opportunity to match subs (at least in college rules).

Between 3rd & 4th down, what is the proper use of the play clock assuming there is an incomplete pass, no timeouts and no injuries? Is it a 40 second clock that starts immediately after the ball is ruled incomplete? If this expires can it be reset?

Asked by Orange. about 10 years ago

I'm not sure why you reference the 3rd and 4th down interval. In college, and as far as I know in the NFL, when the play ends (in this case the pass is incomplete) the 40 second clock starts. If it expires, it's a delay on the offense.

Does the offense have to allow the defense to come set before snapping the ball? In the Out back bowl the reff said the offense didnt allow the defense to get set a on a quick snap on 4th and 1. It was the worst call I have ever seen and want to know

Asked by about 10 years ago

Didn't see that game and don't know what the ref said.  But....

It isn't that the offense has to let the defense get "set"; the defense has to be allowed to "match up" if the offense makes changes late in the 40 second count. For example, if the offense is running a hurry up offense (or no huddle) and they do not substitute, there's no action taken. But the citation is Rule 3-5-2-e: "....Team A [offense] is prohibited from rushing quickly to the line of scrimmage with the obvious attempt of creating a defensive disadvantage.  If the ball is ready for play, the game officials will not permit the ball to be snapped until Team B [defense] has placed substitutes in position and replaced players have left the field of play. Team B must react promptly with its substututes." The Referee and other officials will hold their arms out to the side ("iron cross") and the Umpire will stand over the ball preventing a snap. 

There's a good deal of interpretation and judgment by the officials on such plays.  And it is used often, but most times the defense makes its substitutions and the play goes off normally. Most games, fans don't even know it's happening.  Obviously that wasn't the case here.

Is it legal for players to wesr hair extensions during games?

Asked by Lyle beck about 10 years ago

I am not a member of the fashion police and, thankfully, it is not a part of the rules.

Is this page still active

Asked by KayTee almost 10 years ago

The guy answering is still alive.  Does that help?

Suppose STL-SEA game is tied 17-17. In OT, STL receives ball and kicks FG. SEA returns kickoff to STL 10. SEA throws interception to STL defender at the 2, who backtracks and is tackled for safety. OT safety ends game, so does SEA win 19-20?!

Asked by John A. over 10 years ago

I can't answer definitively for the NFL, but in college the answer would be no.  In college there is a momentum rule (and a fellow official says he's pretty sure it exists in the NFL, too).  It's to prevenrt cheap safeties on good efensive plays like the one you describe.  Inside the five, if a player intercepts or receives a punt, then goes into the end zone where he is downed, the ball would come out to the spot of the interception/kick reception. That's why you see officials toss a bean bag at that spot. It would be the defense's ball - in this case Seattle - 1/10 at the 2.

When the officials raise their hands before the snap, I notice it from the back judges, sometimes one hand with the thumbs up, sometimes two, what does this mean?

Asked by Allen over 10 years ago

The three deep officials (defenseive secondary area) are the side judge, back judge (in the middle) and the field judge. Most of the time we like to play with only 11 players on each side -- so we count.  And the three deep guys are counting the defense.  That thumbs up you see says they each have eleven. If somebody doesn't have eleven, there's no thumbs up.  The back judge will hold two hands out signaling each sideline.

In trying to run time off the clock at the end of a close game, can offensive player with ball stop short of the goal line and stand there waiting for the defense to try to get to him before he steps over the goal line? Or is that “Taunting”?

Asked by sb about 10 years ago

There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with this. Not much different than the times when a punter takes a snap and runs around in the endzone (I think this was in last yeat's Super Bowl) to kill time before running out of bounds. Defensive teams have allowed offenses to score in order to get the ball back quickly.  It isn't a "mockery" of te game, it's a strategy.  As long as the ball carrier isn't taunting (e.g. waving it in the face of the opponent) it seems to be a legal and a smart move.

If I grab a player by his jersey around where his name is and tackle him I have made a legal play. However if I were to grab for the same place on the jersey of a long hair I would be penalized. Why does the league not require hair with the helmets?

Asked by tommdawg over 9 years ago

That is not a college or high school rule ad I'm not certain of the NFL rule. And I really can't respond to the philosophy that the NFL Competition Committee uses in creating rules.

In Bills vs Packers game yesterday. In the last 2 minutes of the game Aaron Rogers had the ball knocked or of his hands and ball landed in endzone and was recovered by Ed Lacy resulting in a safety. Is that considered a fumble or muff by NFL rules?

Asked by Eini34 about 9 years ago

From what you stated, "had the ball knocked or of his hands", that is a fumble. We are taking the position that he had possession, so there is no muff. A fumble by the offensive team that is recovered by the offense in the end zone, and the recovering player (Lacy) remains on the ground in the end zone, results in a safety. Even it was a muff, if the offense put the ball into the end zone and it remains there in their possession, it is a safety.

If a snap goes over a punters head; the punter retrieves it @ the 1.5 yd line & tries to throw a pass. The defense deflects it and the ball lands in the endend zone, but bounces out-of-bounds.
What's the ruling?

Asked by about 10 years ago

If it is ruled a forward pass (unlike the Patriots' play in the playoffs), it's an incomplete pass. On the other hand, if it is ruled a fumble -- as it was against the Pats -- then you have a safety. If anyone legally throws a forward pass - a punter, kick holder, a halfback - and it's incomplete, then it's, well, incomplete. The fact that it rolled out of the endzone is irrelevent.

A snap goes over the qb head, dl kicks the ball forward into opposing endzone then falls on it. What is the decision on the play. Touchdown?

Asked by ian about 10 years ago

That's an illegal kick by the defensive lineman.  College rules call for a ten yard penalty against the offending team - in this case the defense. So, no TD and, after accepting the penalty, it's still the offense's ball.

Can the offensive receivers block defensive backs while the pass is in the air? I see Denver do it all the time.

Asked by Mark about 10 years ago

Regardless of level, offensive pass interference (OPI) rules begin at the snap. So what you describe, technically, is OPI and illegal. I went to bed early so I didn't see all of the game.  Is there contact downfield on many, if not all, plays? Yes. Is it always called? No. Depending on the situation, contact initiated by the receiver might be ignored if the QB was looking the other way the whole time and the play (pass) was thrown away from the contact.  Same goes for defensive pass interference. But technically, contact initiated by the offensive player is interference.

A defensive back makes a diving Interception in the Opponents endzone and then gets to his feet and spikes the ball is this a fumble or a Touchback. The one Official was signaling touchback and blew his whistle. But the White Hat over ruled and gave t

Asked by Tim about 9 years ago

In college or hs, the ball is dead when player hits ground so that is a touchback. In NFL, a player can get up and run. It would appear that we have a fumble.

If there is defensive of holding penalty and the offense gets a first down , do you add 5 yards to the end of the play?

Asked by over 9 years ago

There are fouls that can be tacked on to the end of the run.  A defensive hold is not one.  In college, for example, roughing the passer can be tacked on, even on a completed pass.  And on kick plays (punt), if the defense was offsides, rather than rekick - if the team wouldn't get a first down with the penalty - that can be added to the end of the play.  The idea there is to speed up play and also avoid additional fouls - and injuries - that can occur on kicks.

If it is an unbalanced formation and the offense wants to throw to the OT on the end of the LOS. Does the throw have to be backwards or just behind the LOS?

Asked by Tate over 8 years ago

In high school and college, a pass would have to be backwards to be legal. Behind the LOS isn't a factor there. A forward pass to an originally ineligible player (by position or number) is illegal.

In the NFL, the rules are more restrictive. To be eligible to receive a forward pass, an ineligible (lineman's number - between 50 and 79) player must report in to the referee and be announced. In that case, the player can receive a forward pass.

Any backward pass can be caught legally by anyone - that's why those end of game multiple "laterals" are legal.

In a TX high school game, the kicker missed the ball when he was attempting to kick off. Kind of a "Charlie Brown" Anyway, the ref's acted like it didn't even happen and rekicked it. Shouldn't it have been an offside penalty?

Asked by Ray's dad over 9 years ago

No.  Although I undrstand your idea.  On a kickoff, only the kicker may (technically) be in front of the restrainig line. Especially with "soccer sdtyle" kickers, they often approach from the side.  In this case, the generally accepted practice is to pretty much call a do over, which is what they did.  No kick, no play.

Is the wrong ball play unsportsmanlike.

QB comes to line says that the ball is the wrong ball and center hands it to the QB and he starts to walk over to coach but then takes off down the field

Asked by Bchball over 9 years ago

I have to tell you, the play situations that come up here are so strange.  I just don't see this stuff.  Anyway, if it's first down - the team is going under center fior the first time - you change it.  If the QB says somnething and the officials respond.  But if the center picks up the ball to show the ref, you have a foul on the offense.

College rules: Legally snapping the ball (a snap) is handing or passing it
backward from its position on the ground with a quick and continuous motion
of the hand or hands, the ball actually leaving the hand or hands in this motion
(Rule 4-1-4).
b. The snap starts when the ball is moved legally and ends when the ball leaves
the snapper’s hands (A.R. 7-1-5-I-II).

In addition:

Rule 7, ARTICLE 3. Each of the following is a dead-ball foul. Officials should
blow the whistle and not allow the play to continue. After the ball is ready for
play and before it is snapped:
a. Snapper. The snapper:

2. May not lift the ball, move it beyond the neutral zone or simulate the
start of a play

From my perspective, the play you describe should not happen.  If it does, it's a foul. And if all else fails, use Rule 9-2-3-d: An obviously unfair act not specifically covered by the rules occurs during the game since the action is intended to deceive and abuse the rules of the game.

In a youth football game, a ball carrier who has crossed the line of scrimmage tosses the ball in the air to avoid a tackle, and then catches the ball once past the defender. Can he do this?

Asked by Todd Glasenapp over 9 years ago

Most youth leagues use the rules that the state's high schools use.  For most starws, that is the National Federation.  If the ball carrier crosses the line, he cannot legallythrow the ball forward.  The ball carrier can throw a backwards pass. If that occurs, there is nothing that I can find that would prevent the runner from catching his own backward pass. But, as you describe it, and I'm readingf into it, it sounds as if the ball is thrown ahead of the runner to get past the defender.  That is an illegal pass.

Can multiple players wear the same number as long as they are not on the field at the same time and as long as they play within the jersey number allowed for that position. In other words can an offense have two #80 WRs that would rotate in and out

Asked by Bravovictor about 10 years ago

You had a yes answer until you threw in that last line.  I'm going to deal with NCAA rules.  Rule 1-4-2-e reads: Two players playing the same position may not wear the same number during the game. [Italics added] The obvious reason is deception and unsportsmanlike activity.  You could, in theory, have a #80 playing WR and also have an 80 at defensive end.  To take it one step further, if you do have two 80's, for example, they cannot be in the gane at the same time.

On national TV TDay 2015 Panthers routing of Dallas Cam Newton removes his helmet twice on field with 2:30 left with no call (a few weeks after Bryant was schooled on this). Will refs get a earful from the NFL, or "no big deal - Cam's special"?

Asked by Cris Mooney over 8 years ago

The NFL can't determine what a catch is; how can they get this right? I really don't know what they do in that case. I like Newton as a player, but he does get a bit over the top on a lot of the antics.

If contact is made between a receiver and a defender past 5 yards downfield, and the contact is initiated by the offensive player is that an infraction? If not, does that give the offensive player motive to just run into the defender & draw a flag?

Asked by Reese over 9 years ago

You're talking NFL illegal contact beyond 5 yards.  Offensive pass interference (OPI) rules begin with the snap. If a receiver makes contact - not just brushing past a defender or trying to get away - it is OPI.  Defensive pass iterference begins once the ball is thriown.

Do they officiate differently in college than they do in nfl

Asked by Ryan almost 9 years ago

That's too broad a question - can you narrow it or clarify it?

When a QB is behind the line of scrimmage, when is it considered a sack to a minus rushing attempt?

Asked by Turk over 9 years ago

That's a statistical issue, which officials don't really deal with.  My personal understanding is that sacks are rushing attempts.

Why was the pass that was challenged in the Michigan/Rutgers game ruled incomplete

Asked by Bob over 9 years ago

Don't know.  From a "source", the replay people had no qualms about saying no catch once they saw the ball on the ground.  On the field, it was ruled differently by the two officials on that sideline.  It was "interesting".

Can you have a padded structure that shelters your players like an above ground dugout in Men's football not soccer as long as it is far enough away from playing surface.

Asked by Bravovictor about 10 years ago

First thought: why? You have heated benches and, believe me. it's hard enough leaving them to go on the field if it's cold.  There is nothing in the NCAA rule book prohibiting it. But I'm imagining Bud Grant, the old-time coach of the Vikings, spinning in his grave.  When the Vikings played outdoors, he didn't allow heated benches. Dugouts or soccer type enclosures? It just ain't football.

We want to try a drop kick as an extra point.
What is it worth? 1 or 2 points
Do you have to declare that you are going for 1 or 2?
Any other things to consider?

Asked by Drew Akin over 8 years ago

A kick for an extra point is worth 1 point. At least in HS and college. Declaring isn't necessary. For example, if a team lines up for a PAT kick, they can still fake it and run for 2.

Scenerio: 4th down punt; receiver calls for fair catch; ball hits the ground, then the receiver; ball rolls into the endzone and is recovered by the kicking team... what is the call?

Asked by jason over 9 years ago

Unless I'm really screwing this up - always a possibility - it's a touchback.  The status of the ball is that it is still a kick, even though it touched a receiver.  In high school and college, a grounded kick in he endzone is a touchback.  If it was receovered by the kickers in the field of play (between the goal lines), then it would be K's ball.

its a penalty if a defensive player leads with the helmet to the helmet of an offensive player. However, I've seen repeatedly the offensive player lead with his helmet to the helmet of the defensive player. But there is no penalty. Why not?

Asked by ssrmaineniac over 9 years ago

It's a penalty for anyone to lead with their helmet.  Why it's not called is a tough and good question.  Almost every runner in an attempt to get more yardage "lowers shoulders" which, of course, lowers his head.  It also is usually when they are about to get hit and they are slowing a bit.  My sense is that most officials tend to see it as lowering the shoulders and not using the head as a weapon.  It probably is more common to see defensive players attack the runner, creating a more forceful impact.  But you're right - it should go both ways.

Does a college football coach have the option of declining a "running into the punter" penalty and simply accept the result of his team's punt?

Asked by LaVerne about 9 years ago

Technically, you can decline any penalty. Running into is a five yard penalty. I've seen that often. If you don't get a first down with five yards and it was a great punt, flip the field and decline the penalty.

If any team kick off the ball from center and after the first touch when the ball is being passed to another player, if the opponent player receive the ball before reaching to that player and play with is it okay?

Asked by Mohammad Asraful Islam over 8 years ago

I'm sorry, but I do not understand what you're asking.

Very often, on screen passes to wide receivers (bubble screens) other WRs block opposing defensive backs while the ball is in the air. I thought that was offensive pass interference. Why is it so seldom called?

Asked by RJ about 9 years ago

If a pass is caught behind the line of scrimmage, there can't be OPI. So a WR blocking ahead of that screen is legal.

Is there a rule regarding players from the sideline entering the field of play (end zone as well) and participating in the celebration of a score?

Asked by Dont about 8 years ago

In the NFL, there cannot be choreographed celebrations. Having your non-players (off the sideline) on the field likely falls into that category. In college it is specific: Rule 9-2-1 says no one - including the mascot - is allowed on the field during any period without the permission of the referee.

Please help end an argument with my friends.
Is an interception a touchback if only the intercepting players foot crosee the line and not the ball? The intercepting player caught the ball at the 1 yard line, one foot in the endzone, ball never cross

Asked by Christina over 8 years ago

Based on what you describe, the player and the ball are still in the field of play. That is not a touchback. To add to the fun, at least in college, if a player intercepts at the one - as you describe - and his momentum carries him into the endzone where he is then downed, the ball is placed at the one.

Tackling a player by his long hair is a personal foul and thereby precludes the ability of the tackler from grabbing the jersey from behind. Why does the NFL not mandate a hair within the helmet rule and level the field. This is not fair.

Asked by tommdawg over 9 years ago

I didn't see the game or play and I'm not sure of the NFL rule.  That isn't the rule in HS or college.  The hair is just a part of the body.  Based on hw you describe it, I agree with you.

The QB throws the ball to a receiver but backwards, then the receiver throws the ball back to the QB, then the QB is pressured and throws the ball away. Can there be Intentional Grounding??

Asked by Caleb over 8 years ago

A couple of things. First, if the throw back to the QB is forward, then the QB can't throw it forward regardless of the situation. That would be a second forward pass and that is illegal. Second, the only person who has the right to throw the ball away legally is the person who controls the snap, the initial snap or backward pass. The QB no longer has the right to throw it away. So, yes.

What would proceed if a team don't have more timeouts and the coach call for one.

Asked by LFFE almost 9 years ago

The coach is ignored - no timeout is granted. It is not lije hoops where a tech is called.

So if one team commits two penalties and the other commits one on the same play. Neither is a personal foul penalty do they offset?

Asked by Evildeadted over 9 years ago


Could offside been called on the kicker doing the onside kick in the game last night? The kicker's plant foot was across the line planted on the ground before he kicked the ball.

Asked by Darryl about 8 years ago

No foul. The kicker is the only player who can be in advance of the ball on a free kick. Interesting how so many people have asked this for this pkay, yet it happens on virtually every onside kick. A lot of anti-Bama fans out there.

If 2 penalties on defense such as off sides and pass interferences which one is called it doesn't matter if flag was thrown first for off sides

Asked by Rick over 9 years ago

You can't enforce two live ball fouls against the same team as you describe it.  In this case, you decline the off side foul and accept the more serious/significant DPI.

The NFL rule book says only 1 penalty can be enforced per play.
The exception being if touching a ref is one of them. How did the Bengals get two 15 yard penalties on 1 play? One for defenseless receiver and one unsportsmanlike conduct for 30 yards

Asked by Kashman100 about 8 years ago

Th defenseless player call is a live ball foul, that is, during the play. The unsportsmanlike would probably have been a dead ball foul. after the play is over. You can enforce a live ball and a dead ball foul.

Ok a punt goes thru a players hands, as he turns to go after the punt he steps out of bounds. He then comes back in grabs the ball in the end zone and starts running. He is then tackled in the end zone. It is called a touchback. Is that the proper ca

Asked by Brad over 8 years ago

The kick is still a kick - it was never possessed by anyone. In college, the player is out of bounds once he steps out, and if he touches the ball in play, it is dead. But go back to the kick: in HS and college, a grounded scrimmage kick (punt) in the endzone is dead - it's touchback. Sounds like they got it right.

When a running back uses a stiff arm to the facemask...Shouldn't it be a penalty?? I've notice that linemen get flagged for hands to the face quite often so what would the difference be between that and a stiff arm to the facemask?

Asked by Scott over 9 years ago

A RB stiff arming usually is pushing away the defender. It is not the upward stretching/straining motion that you're talking about with OLs. If a RB were to grab the facemask and twist or hold onto it, then you have a foul.

When a straight arm involves the offense player using the defender's face mail, why isn't that a personal foul?

Asked by Tris Dammin about 8 years ago

It could be. It is a matter of interpretation and judgment by the official. A push off is likely okay. A grab and twist? Then it is no different than any other face mask call.

How can the field goal holder make a forward pass with his knee on the ground?

Asked by Rpwashington over 8 years ago

Because the rules say he can. And he's the only one. A holder can go up off his knee to get a high snap and bring it down for the hold. Likewise, the fact that he's on the ground when he gets the snap would normally make the ball dead. The holder has special rules (college).

if you line up to kick an extra point but the snap is errant can you run or pass for 2 pts.?or will it still be 1 pt.?

Asked by new extra point rules about 8 years ago

You look at the result of the play, not the intent. It's the same as a fake; the result, if successful, is two points for the run/pass play.

Is this hit legal or illegal ? and do you think whether this hit malicious or not ? Thank you so much. We don't know he get penalty.

Here is the video link:

Asked by almost 9 years ago

I'm guessing you're talking about the wideout on the left side of the formation, though you don't say. I'm also not sure if this is a high school or college game. There was nothing that I could see on the runner. The wideout on the left cuts low on the defender. It is, in my opinion, a hit on what could be considered a defenseless player - the play is over when the block is made so that would cause the penalty.

Can you snap the ball sideways as long as it goes backwards like a lateral. Not between the legs but standing sideways as long as you keep the ball perpendicular to LOS?

Asked by Bravovictor about 10 years ago

Yup.  Using college rule 2-23-1-g: The snap need not be between the snapper's legs; but to be legal, it must be a quick and continuous backward motion. 

And don't use "lateral". The term "lateral" is not used; it's a backward pass.

In High School if you have a fake field goal or extra point if the snap is to the holder and his knee is touching the ground can he get up and run or throw the ball or us he down where the snap was caught?

Asked by Brian over 8 years ago

The holder may come up and become a passer. He can also rise up to get a high snap and return to the ground to be the holder - that would not be a downing of the runner.

does NCAA rule 9.3.2.c interlocking or encircling blocking interference apply to plays from scrimmage? Was it put in in response to the old 'flying wedge' plays?

Asked by Thad over 9 years ago

More and more people are more and more concerned about injuries in fooball.  The recent rule changes - at all levels - reflects that.  The kickoff is the ultimate collision.  Line up 11 guys on each side and give them a running start at each other.  Yes, the flying wedge was incredibly dangerous and recent changes on kickoffs - even preventing players from holding hands in a line - are intended to prevent injury.

On a kick off. Receiving player misses the catch, touches the ball on the one yard line and the ball goes into but not out of the end zone. If the player covers it up and is touched by opposing player, is it a safety?

Asked by Steve over 8 years ago

A kick is a kick is a kick. Until it is possessed, it is still a kick. You have a grounded kick in the endzone, touched by R in the field of play. The receiving team must cover it there or bring it out. If it is possessed in the endzone by the receivers and they "take a knee" there, it is a touchback.

I have noticed while watching a game, the play clock will be down to a certain number say 8 then change to 25 before the ball is snapped. Please, tell me why or should this be happening?

Asked by Rick Greenberg about 9 years ago

If the ball isn't set for some reason by the time the play clock reaches 20 seconds, the referee will pump one hand in the air to reset the play clock to 25. That's to give the offense a fair opportunity to run their offense. But 8 seconds? Something else must have happened - was there a timeout or some clock malfunction or an injury? The 25 count is "sacrosanct" and generally you don't interrupt it.

are officials more "loose" on college players than they are on nfl player or vise-versa

Asked by Ryan almost 9 years ago

I don't think anyone is looser. The rules are the rules, and at both levels officials are graded. There are officiating philosophies that most fans aren't aware of, and that might lend itself to people thinking someone is letting a player "get away" with something. Officials are following the directives of their supervisors. I suppose if a supervisor had the attitude of "let'em play", there might be a more loose game. But I don't know of any like that.

In college football can a player from the sideline run down the field with the players on the field in celebration when the team is about to score a touchdown and there is no time left on the clock

Asked by Yolanda over 8 years ago

Technically, no. But the foul would be enforced as a dead ball after the play. In that case (Duke-FSU), the game was over when the foul would be enforced.

Who won the coin toss Colts or Jets, aug 7 2014

Asked by Smokestack over 9 years ago


When the punting team keeps the ball from going into the end zone, can a player from the receiving team advance the ball?

Asked by Catch 22 over 8 years ago

No. It is still a kick - by definition - and K cannot advance it.

my team has the ball on the 4 yard going in to score We need 3.5 yards for a first down and 4 yards for a td. It is 4 th down and the defense gets an encroachment call what should happen. What down should it be

Asked by jared over 8 years ago

Ball can't be moved more than half the distance so.....

4th and 1 1/2 from the 2

Is it ever legal for a blocker to grab the jersey of a defender? If not, it sure seems like it happens a lot.

Asked by RJ about 9 years ago

Everybody grabs the opponent's jersey. It's what you do after that that makes a difference. If you pull the player down with a handful of jersey, or you grab and turn the player, you're holding. Grabbing a jersey and driving the man straight ahead? No issue. Two men doing grabbing? Philosophically the offense has committed two players to block one -- who is really at a disadvantage?

While a quarterback is moving down the line giving an audible can the ball be direct snapped to the running back and suprising th defense

Asked by Rush5555 over 8 years ago

Yes. Within limits. He cannot be moving forward at the time of the snap. Everyone must have come to a complete stop before he starts to move sideways. But, the basic answer is, yes.

On a pass two feet are required to be in bounds for a pass to be ruled complete. Could a player double hop on one foot, with adequate ball control, before going out of bounds and it be considered complete.

Asked by Rich about 9 years ago

You gave the answer: "On a pass two feet are required". And that's two different feet, otherwise it's one foot.

Refs throw flags for a "hit on a defenseless receiver" after the catch is made, the receiver turns his head and takes several steps. Why no flag for Emmanuel Sanders when he lays out for an incompletion and gets creamed without seeing it coming?

Asked by Adam about 8 years ago

I can't answer that - I did not see it. Sorry

In last weeks FL LSU game, the kick holder throws a pass from a 'kneeling' position. Legal or not? His knee was down.

Asked by Henry over 8 years ago

As I answered in another question about this play....Legal. If he went up to catch a high snap, he can still return to hold the snap. He could also throw as you describe. If he stands (for no other reason than he wants to) and then returns to the ground, he is down. Dead ball.

How much do college refs get paid per game for each division?

Asked by T-Rex over 9 years ago

This varies by conference.  As an example, the Big Ten pays around $2600 per game.  The official, as I understand it, is responsible for all his expenses out of that, including travel, hotel (they have to be there the night before), and meals.  At the Division 2 level, one eastern conference that shall remain nameless, pays $235, again a flat fee regardless of travel.  One Division 3 eastern conference I know of pays $190, while another in the same general geographic area pays $175.

A blocker is not allowed to put his hands on the opponents face mask, so why can a running use a stiff arm into the face Masks? This seems inconsistent.

Asked by Ace57 about 8 years ago

The runner can't grab and twist. He can push off the facemask. Hands to the facemask usually involves pushing up under the mask, putting pressure on the opponent's neck and head. It's a judgment call.

If the person who has the football has a knee that touches the ground, is he down?

Asked by Ed Gouge over 8 years ago

Generally speaking, in HS and college yes. In the NFL, the player needs to be "down by contact", so if a player is running free and slips or trips in the NFL, he can still get up and continue. In HS and college, the player is down.

in college when a players helmet comes off is the play blown dead then or is it allowed to continue

Asked by millometter over 9 years ago

There are several scenarios to what you ask.  If a ball carrier's helmet comes off, the play is dead immediately.  That's a safety issue.  If anyone else's helmet comes off, they have an opportunity to step away and not participate; the play goes on.  If a player's helmet comes off and he is already engaged (making a play on the runner, in process of making a block) he may continue.  If a player's helmet comes off, he may not continue to play (beyond a step or two) or it is a personal foul.

Why are players penalized for excessive celebration when they score a touchdown, but Green Bay players can actually LEAVE the playing field, join the spectators in the stands, and that is not only acceptable, but cutely named the Lambeau Leap?

Asked by James over 8 years ago

Good question. I don't have the NFL rule. But using college as a guide, you can't draw excessive attention to yourself (e.g. a choreographed dance, or taking a marker from the goalpost padding and "signing" the ball). My best guess is that the Lambeau Leap pre-dated the rulings about excessive celebration and it is more a sharing/bonding moment with the fans than highlighting the player. If I'm not mistaken, other players have interacted with fans without a penalty.

1.What is the most important piece of equipment you use as a referee?

Asked by Jack almost 8 years ago

Odd question. Most of our equipment is simply clothing. Good shoes help. But the most important thing you take onto the field is your brain.

Is it illegal for a player to touch a referee in between plays?

Asked by Joe DellaVecchio about 8 years ago

That depends. I've had a player talk to me and put a hand on my arm as you might to someone in conversation. That's communicating. I've see players say "Nice call" and tap an official's shoulder or back. That's ok. Intentionally contacting an official - pushing, shoving, bumping - that will draw a flag.

Is this holding by the offensive lineman?
Is this "unnecessary roughness" unsportsmanlike conduct when he throws the defensive player to the ground like this?

Asked by SwoLy-D over 8 years ago

Uhhh, yes! You pick him up? That's holding even without a rulebook. And tossing him like that? Could easily be called a personal foul or unnecessary roughness. Shows you what TV guys know.

Why in the Jacksonville-Baltimore game were the Jaguars awarded 20 yards when Dumervil grabbed Bortles face mask? He was taken down at the Jaguars 45 and they placed the ball at the Ravens 35 yard line for the next play.

Asked by Chris Barsano over 8 years ago

That doesn't sound too right. Usually a foul like that is tacked on from the end of the run with an automatic first down. Based on what you wrote, it should have gone from the Jags 45 to the Ravens 40. Unless there's something in the NFL rules - which are not always the same as college and HS - that marks it from another spot.

In the Alabama LSU game, in OT, the first play was a pass to the 1 yard line and a 15 yard penalty was called on Bama after whistle. The refs made it 1st and 10 from the 16. Is this right? Thought it should be 1st and goal from the 16.

Asked by Anthony over 9 years ago

You'd think that, wouldn't you? What happened here, though, is the "line to gain" had not been set; the chains weren't set yet. So under that circumstance (Rule 5-2-7) the penalty is enforced and then the chains are set. It reads: The penalty for any dead ball foul....that occurs after a series ends [they made the line to gain] and before the ball is ready for play shall be completed before the line to gain is established.

1st and 10 from the 16,

QB throws a backwards pass to a receiver who makes a clean catch. The receiver ends up running with the ball and makes it back to the line of scrimmage. For stat purposes, does the receiver get this recorded as a Rush attempt and if not, how is it recorded? This play happened in Super Bowl 50. Cam Newton threw backwards pass to Ted Ginn Jr. and he ended up running with the ball for no gain.

Asked by BB about 8 years ago

Stats are not in the purview of field officials. The official box score from the game does not show Ginn with any rushes so my guess it's a pass for both QB and receiver.

A receiver is lined up in the line of scrimmage, before the snap, he crosses the line of scrimmage jogging about 5 yards,. QB doesn't snap the ball, the referee tells the player to reset, which he does, then QB snaps the ball.
Is this allowable?

Asked by Marc over 8 years ago

If he starts jogging downfield, you could consider it a delay of game foul. But that's sort of a stretch. Unless there's some exigent circumstance that I can't figure out, the receiver is creating a false start. That also assumes that the team is pretty much ready to snap the ball - he's on the wrong side of the ball. If a receiver is too far up, an official - the linesman or line judge - might tell him to "watch the ball" and let him correct himself. But the receiver doesn't seem too sharp.

During a play a unsportsmanlike flag is thrown on the offensive tackle. the play ends in a touch down. Where is the ball placed?

Asked by Alvin over 9 years ago

If it's during the play, it is a live ball foul. The penalty is enforced from the previous spot. No score.

In the Steelers Broncos game on 12/20/2015, why is the punt not down after a member of the kicking team touches it?

Asked by flynott about 8 years ago

If a member of the kicking team is the first to touch a grounded punt, it is "illegal touching"; the receivers would have the right to take the ball at that spot if nothing else happens. But it is still a kick because...well, because the kickers gave up the ball when they punted. If K touches it and it keeps rolling, and than a receiver scoops it up and runs it for a TD, it's a score. That "illegal touch" is ignored.

Watching the Steelers game. During a punt holding was called on the receiving team, and 10 yard penalty was assessed from the end of the run, how would it be assessed if it was returned for a touchdown? Or even a long return?

Asked by over 8 years ago

NFL rules are different but generally, if the foul is behind the "basic spot" (the end of the run) it's marked off from the spot of the foul.

Kind of a a strange question here; if an offensive player in possession of the ball gets tackled by a defensive player so hard that his arm that is cradling the ball is dismembered is this a fumble or down since his arm is still holding the ball?

Asked by Mike F over 9 years ago

You are so right. That is strange. And after I finish throwing up, I'd say it is a fumble since the runner no longer has possession....of the ball or his arm. Where did you come up with that!?

If a team punts the ball and the ball lands on <15 and bounces to lets say the <23. Let's say the ball takes a bad bounce and the defender trying to down the ball has no other way to touch the ball but kicking it into the end zone. Wheres the LOS?

Asked by Chris over 9 years ago

Intentionally kicking the ball is a foul.  If a receiver kicks the ball into his own endzone we have a foul and safety.

Is this hit legal or illegal ? and do you think whether this hit malicious or not ? Thank you so much. We don't know he get penalty.

Here is the video link:

Asked by almost 9 years ago

If you're talking about the low block by the wide receiver to the lower left of the screen, it looks okay for college.

Do you know when the team logos were added the NFL footballs?

Asked by Gward3 over 8 years ago

No. And I didn't know they were.

In the NFL If a player intercepts a 2 pt conversion pass in the end zone and attempts to run it back, crosses the goal line and then backs back into the end zone and gets tackled, is it a safety?

Asked by Jimbadger52 over 8 years ago

To the best of my knowledge, only in college can you run back a missed 2 pt conversion as you describe. In college, that is a safety.

Why are the pylons out-of bounds but is called TD if touched-look where they are.

Asked by pschamplin over 8 years ago

Why, in soccer, is the sideline inbounds? It's the definition. The pylons are not out of bounds; they are part of the goal line "extended". When the ball, while being carried, hits one, it is breaking the plane of the goal. Like wise, if the ball is carried outside the pylon but the player touches the pylon, it is a touchdown since the ball has crossed the goal line "extended".

Would it be considered off sides on the kick off when the kickers left foot passes the ball right before he kicks it?

Asked by buddabondssilvercity about 8 years ago

No. This was asked recently. Kicker is the only player who can be in advance of the line.

Why when a team gains enough for a first down, and a dead ball foul happens after the play. Why is it 1st and 10 instead of 1st and 25?

Asked by carp77 over 8 years ago

Until the sticks are set, you're still in that interval period. So the penalty is enforced, then thesticks are set 1 & 10. If a dead ball foul occurs after they're set, you then have 1 & 25.

A1 go back to pass a2 throws a punch at b2 but misses b3 intercept the pass and takes it in for a touchdown

Asked by Everett over 8 years ago

That's a TD for B. A2 gets disqualified for the swing - contact isn't necessary. Enforce penalty on the try.

Is it illegal to put twin receivers both on the line if the inside receiver doesn't go out for a pass

Asked by jai over 8 years ago

Talk college and HS first. You can cover a receiver, but he then is no longer eligible to go out for a pass by his position (he isn't an end or back). You still need five players numbered between 50 and 79 on the line.

In the NFL, I believe that is illegal. You cannot have an ineligible number on the end of the line, which you would with a receiver inside. The ineligible player on the end could report in to the referee and be announced as eligible (you'll hear the ref announce "Number 79 is reporting in as eligible.") Then you'd be good.

In the following play:
it seems that is a touchdown celebration, dead-ball foul... but would you call that a live-ball foul, and take out the points?
This game is from Uruguay, NCAA Rules. Thanks a lot!

Asked by Spartan over 8 years ago

Uruguay! Wow!

Based on what I can see, the runner holds the ball over his head prior to getting to the endzone. The foul occurs at that spot and it is a live ball foul. Points come off he board, 15 yards from that spot.

I saw a touchdown called today where the receiver went out of bounds but whip one foot around and hit the goal marker. The ball didn't "Break the plane". Righteous call or miss.

Asked by John Morris about 8 years ago

There are a lot of possibilities here, so let's look at what you're saying. If the player stepped out of bounds before the ball crossed the plane of the goal line, then yes, it was called a TD in error. However, if the player was outside of the pylon (out of bounds) but the ball stayed inside the pylon when crossing the plane, it is a TD. In your description, the player was out of bounds but he clipped the pylon with a foot - where was the ball? If the player dove at the pylon and struck it with his body even with the ball outside the pylon (the goal line extended), it is a TD.

I was playing football for my school and my QB overthrew me and so I ran out of bouns before the ball went out of bounds and I jumped in the air and I hit the ball to my teammate who was behind me and then the reff called that a penalty. Why is that?

Asked by Hi my name is Jernard over 8 years ago

"I ran out of bounds". And anything you then touch is also out of bounds. The penalty, I'm thinking, is for illegal touching.

Under NCAA rules, if a receiver is forced out of bounds by a defender at what point is the receiver allowed to touch the ball on a forward pass? Does the receiver first need to re-establish himself in-bounds? If the receiver has yet to set foot in-bounds, he first touches the ball while both feet are in the air, he gets both feet in bounds while reeling in the ball and then controls the ball to the ground, is this a completion? Here’s an example to see exactly what happened (38-second mark): Here’s another angle (2 minutes, 50 seconds): This was ruled a touchdown. Thanks!

Asked by Bass over 8 years ago

If a receiver is forced out of bounds he must return immediately to regain eligibility. If he goes out on his own, then a defender must first touch the ball before the receiver can. He must re-establish himself (on the ground) so catching in the air after going out of bounds makes the ball dead when he hits the ground. Sorry, but I couldn't access the video.

I play semi pro football and we use standard college rules in a recent game i was on defense and we blocked the extra point the offense then advanced the blocked kick and was awarded a 2pt conversion. Is this legal i have never seen this happen.

Asked by Dtackle #42 almost 8 years ago

It's good. Rule 6-3-1 says: ARTICLE 1. a. A scrimmage kick that fails to cross the neutral zone continues in play. All players may catch or recover the ball behind the neutral zone andadvance it.

The ball was still alive.

Ala - Aub. The kickoff touched in field of play by Ala player rolls into end zone. If not brought out by other player, that would have been a safety, right?

Asked by skub over 8 years ago

I'm reading an Auburn KO. If it is touched by Ala in the field of play it is still a kick. If it goes into the endzone and is covered by Alabama, it is a touchback. It was the kick that put the ball in the endzone.

Would you say it was hard to get into officiating. I am interested in it at a local level (middle/high school). I am 27 and work a full time job. I don't want to do it for the money. More like a hobby. Do you have any advise on how to get started?

Asked by Kenneth about 8 years ago

It's pretty easy to get in - staying is the hard part. Everybody working high school, college, or even the NFL has another job. When you start out, you may need an understanding boss because there may be JV or freshmen games in the afternoon.

Getting started: you can contact your state's high school athletic governing body and get contact information for the football officials group. That group does the training and registers you with the state so that you are "certified" as a HS official. If you aren't sure what the state body is, contact your local high school athletic director for a phone number.

By the way, it's a good thing you don't want to do it for the money. Even guys working every week in one of the P5 NCAA conferences might make $25,000, before expenses. You don't get rich doing this.

During the Vikings - Seahawks game (4th Quarter), a play when Kyle Rudolph contacted Kam Chancellor and they flagged Chancellor for pass interference, please settle a minor debate, was this actually PI or since Rudolph initiated contact, not PI?

Asked by Justin N about 8 years ago

Initiating contact isn't the issue. Any PI call is based on advantage/disadvantage. Did the receiver create separation? did he gain an advantage with the contact? Likewise, did the defender impede the receiver from making a play on the ball. The initial contact by Rudolph may not have impacted the play. The contact by Chancellor was deemed to have been interference.

On a kickoff, the ball flys into the endzone and the receiving player muffs the ball but the ball never leaves the endzone and another player from the receiving team recovers the ball in the endzone but his feet are outside the endzone. Safety or T.B

Asked by Nathan ward almost 8 years ago

Touchback. It is still a kick since possession wasn't gained until/as the receiver was out of bounds.

in the recent lsu/fla game a fake field goal was performed by lsu..upon receiving the snap the holder immediatley threw a pass to the kicker while his knee was down..should he have raised up before throwing for this to be a fair play..

Asked by Philip over 8 years ago

Nope. If he went up to catch a high snap, he can still return to hold the snap. He could also throw as you describe. If he stands (for no other reason than he wants to) and then returns to the ground, he is down. Dead ball.

So if a quarterback goes into his proverbial slide and the defender slaps the ball out of his hand without actually touching the quarterback while he's on the ground would it be a fumble or dead ball?

Asked by Shane snow over 8 years ago

Dead ball. Might even be consider unsportsmanlike. The beginning of the slide is where the ball gets spotted next, not where the QB ends up. So, in essence the ball and the QB are down at the start of the slide.

Is there a different set of rules for the Superbowl game? It looked to me like defensive holding and illegal contact was allowed all game long for the Denver DB's? I'm happy that Denver won but was there a decision by the refs to swallow theirwhistle

Asked by Kevin Kerrigan almost 8 years ago

The rules are the rules. There are philosophies that should carry throughout the season. There are, however, times when supervisors may alter or redefine expectations. It is possible, and I have no specific knowledge, that there was a directive to loosen up calls and let things go. But the rules don't change.

Polson punted the ball. A Polson Player ran down the field - touched the ball in mid air on a bounce but never possessed it. The returner picked up ball and ran wrong way in Polson endzone, was tackled, fumbled and Polson recovered. No whistle.

Asked by Polson High School FBall Fan over 8 years ago

If I'm understanding correctly what you're saying, you have an illegal touch by the kicking team ('touched the ball in mid air on a bounce but never possessed it."). The receiving team has the right to take the ball at that spot. Which they did. I think they got that right.

RE: "Onside Punt". After a safety, the "punting" team kicks from the 20. However, if they want to "onside" punt, what rules apply? Is it like a normal punt, that the receiving team does not necessarily have to field?

Asked by Rollie over 8 years ago

A kick after a safety - whether a punt or placed on ground - is a free kick. Any free kick can be recovered by either team. So, it isn't like any punt, it's like a "kickoff". An "onside" punt would probably not be a good idea.

I've been a certified high school football referee for about 14 years. Please explain to me, as it relates to college football, who can leave and go down field when a snap for a punt is made. I always thought that only one gunner on each side and t

Asked by Rando about 8 years ago

No restrictions in NCAA rules. If the coach doesn't like his punter, he can have all ten other players take off.

WRT the ball Polson punted. No whistle was blown at any time. Officials huddled for 5 minutes and then gave the ball to Columbia Falls at point where Columbia Falls fielded the ball before he ran wrong way into endzone. This seems way wrong to me.

Asked by Polson High School FBall Fan over 8 years ago

see above

If a receiver catches a pass (let's say for 40 yards) and then fumbles the ball. The opposing team recovers the fumble and returns it for a touchdown. Does the receiver still get the 40 yards added to his stats?

Asked by austivino over 8 years ago

That's not really an official's issue, it's stats. But my guess is that he does receive credit. He caught it and gained the yards. That's hoe the ball got to where it was.

If a field goal kicker kicks the ball and it somehow deflects off a referee and goes through the uprights, is the field goal try good?

Asked by LASooner almost 9 years ago

Yes. Officials are "part of the field". Same as if a player tipped it and it went through. But that's gotta sting!

Curious: How many people are on the field during an NFL game? Including players, coaches, trainers, NFL people, security, photographers etc...

Asked by Rolliet about 8 years ago

Too many. It will vary based on the size of staffs, number of media. You're talking easily 150 and likely way more. At least 50 players on each team, a dozen coaches for each team, staffs of maybe 20 or more. It goes on.....

On the TD by the sumersalting Steelers receiver since the ball was moving up the back of his leg and after he controlled it he only had one foot down, was it not called incomplete?

Asked by Chip about 8 years ago

I did not see the play, and I don't know that anyone knows what a catch is in the NFL. But I'll guess. It's the ball, not the player, that needs to be in the endzone. If the ball is in control in the endzone, it's a score.

the receiving team commits a personal foul penalty during a punt while the ball is in the air. who retains the ball?

Asked by tom about 8 years ago

We'll keep it simple and give you the basics. For college play, it is post-scrimmage kick enforcement, Rule 10-2-3. It is B's (receiver's) ball as long as they have possession of the ball at the end of the play.

Team A punts the ball. Team B's return man signals fair catch. Ref Blows whistle and return man drops kick team A recovers. Whose ball if whistle was blown before punt touched by return man. whose ball if whistle was blown at instant of touch.

Asked by eagle over 8 years ago

If the whistle sounds during a loose ball play (before touch - ball still in air) you either replay the down or take the result of the play. K would have the choice. At instant of touch, it is still a loose ball - no possession. Same options.

The placeholder's knee is down on the ground when the center snaps the ball to him. Is the play dead?

Asked by edjaygouge over 8 years ago

No. This keeps coming up. Why?

I played high school and college football (D3). I coached HS football for 6 years. I am a special ed teacher in high school (12 yrs). How do I become a college referee? I only want to do lower divisions, D3, D2, NAIA.

Asked by Matt almost 8 years ago

A lot depends on your location. Once upon a time, you didn't become a college official unless you had a good number of years (5-10) of working high school. Today, it's not that difficult t get seen, although it may cost you some money. There are a number of clinics that you pay to attend and get trained; you can Google that. They are run by individuals who have their connections (to the NFL and P5 conferences) and can get you "seen". You could also contact a local D3 or D2 college and ask the AD who assigns his games and try going through that person or group. I'm also guessing from your info that you're in your mid 30's - that's not a bad age to start but when I started in college at 37, I had ten years of HS ball. I hope this helps; good luck.

a pass was blocked, the ball hit the ground, the quarterback caught the bounce, threw again, incomplete, offense was called for illegal second forward pass and penalized. Q) Wasn't the ball and play dead when the ball hit the ground the first time?

Asked by becidaguy about 8 years ago

Once the forward pass - off the block - hits the ground, it is an incomplete pass. Not sure what was seen by crew.

james jones(g,b, receiver)wears a hoodie while playing.if he catches a pass and you pull him down by his hoodie is this a legal tackle or is it considered a horse collar tackle?

Asked by about 8 years ago

My feelings about the stupidity of the look aside, my guess is that it is legal. A horsecollar is when the inside of the shoulder pads is grabbed. A number of years ago, I saw a college player's dreds grabbed and pulled out. No foul. On a side note, he said that on a scale of 1 to 10, the hair removal was an eleven.

Can Arsenal qualify for 2016-17 Champions league if Liverpool win Europa League, Man U win FA Cup assuming Arsenal is 4th, also what if Man City win Champions League and Arsenal are 3rd in the Premier League

Asked by Vishal almost 8 years ago

Wrong football.

A youth FB game I assume HS Federation rules. A ball was snapped over the QB's head as the def was going for the ball he pushed the QB in the back, knocked him down. The def recovered the ball for a TD. A Blk in the back was called correct call? Exp

Asked by Ken over 7 years ago

See Matt's question above. No foul

if a lineman is pushing the pile and the runner has not been tackled still standing, would they call the play dead or what would happen?

Asked by tray over 7 years ago

It isn't the lieman's action, it's the runner. If the runner is stopped - even if the lineman is pushing - that's forward progress and the play ends. The runner very well could be upright, but if his legs aren't moving, or if his feet come off the ground, that's or ward progress and the play is over.

Can a defensive player push the runner in the back in attempt to get him down ? During a youth game they did throw a flag for this is it legal ?

Asked by Matt over 7 years ago

Unless the youth league has some special rule against it, there's nothing illegal with that play on any level I've ever worked...or watched.

NCAA rules: field goal attempt on 2nd down. Holder mishandles the snap, does not leave the tackle box, throws an incomplete pass that does not reach the LOS or a receiver, but passes spot of kick attempt. Does the kicking team retain possession?

Asked by Bass over 7 years ago

This is a pass play; even though there was a formation for a scrimmage kick, it was never attempted. Assuming there was a receiver "in the area", and there's no other foul, it's third down.

In NCAA rules, if there are 5 players numbered 50-74 on the line, but one of them is uncovered on the end, & thus technically an eligible reciever, is that an illegal formation? Must they report as eligible or ineligible?

Asked by Renegades Special Teams Coach over 7 years ago

There is no reporting as there is in the NFL. An ineligible number on the end of the line is just that, and only that. The formation is not illegal. You need five on the line numbered 50-79, and in this scenario you have that. They are ineligible to catch a pass regardless of where they are. But if one of them is on the end of the line, it also means that an eligible receiver is likely covered somewhere else.

During the Seahawks vs Eagles game on 11/20/16, with 11:50 remaining in the first quarter, the Eagles kicked a touchback. Why did the Seahawks began their first down on the 20 yard line instead of the 25 yard line per the NFL rule change for 2016?

Asked by Mark W over 7 years ago

I'm guessing it was a punt. As with NCAA rules, touch backs on kickoffs (free kicks) come out to the 25. All other touch backs go to the 20.

If two players are running down the field and one punches the other it is a personal foul. Why is it not a personal foul when one player has the football and another player tries to punch the football out missing and punching the arm or ribs?

Asked by Jeff over 7 years ago

What is the intent of the act? While officials can't always determine intent, in the case you cite, if a player is trying to strip the ball and something else happens, you look at intent. Throwing a punch is quite different.

whats the diffrence between a clip and a block in the back

Asked by fred over 7 years ago

A clip is blocking from behind below the knee. That is viewed as a dangerous play and is a personal foul. A block in the back is contact from behind generally above the waist. Not a personal foul.

Can a receiving team player catch a kick off in the field of play and back into his own end zone for a touchback?

Asked by Gpo over 7 years ago

He can back up, but if he kneels or is tackled there it's a safety.

During a punt, if a member of the receiving team touches the ball, it needs the end zone, and is fallen on by one of the kicking team, is that a touchdown, or a safety?

Asked by dcrothen over 7 years ago


In the NCAA,is it legal to hand the ball forward no then pass the ball?

Asked by Mark R. over 7 years ago

As long as the passer is behind the line of scrimmage then yes.

How do you add a player to IR slot on NFL Fantasy?

Asked by Manan over 7 years ago

That has nothing to do with officiating. You asked that of me....why?

if a high school receiver catches a ball in the air and brushes the goal post before he contacts the ground is he in or out of bounds

Asked by fred over 7 years ago

The goal post is out of bounds. By touching the goal post before touching the ground in bounds, the receiver is out of bounds. Incomplete pass.

Is it pass interference if a d-player is running behind the o-player on a pass upfield but the ball is thrown short so the o-player comes back against the d-player but the d-payer doesn't have time to react and never turns around?

Asked by jp-pats over 7 years ago

Technically as you describe it, the defender is still moving forward and is not playing the ball. They both have a right to the ball and - again - as you describe it the receiver turns to play the ball. If the defender continues going through the receiver, that defensive pass interference.

I have watched both Tennessee and Alabama receiving backs on kickoffs to them, let the football go over their head and land in the end zone and not go out. They did not ground the ball even though it had traveled over 10 yards and to me, was live.

Asked by Wally over 7 years ago

But to the Rules Committee and the officials, it is not. Rule 6-1-7-a states: "When a free kick untouched by Team B (receivers) touches the ground on or behind Team B's goal line, the ball becomes dead and belongs to Team B." In the NFL it is still alive.

During a match referee awards a penalty, can a player replace his goal keeper only for the kick? if yes does he change his jersey.

Asked by Christopher Fernandes over 7 years ago

Hmmm, wrong football. Sorry, can't help.

NCAA Onside kick scenario: Team A kicks off and recovers onside kick after it travels 10 yards with no touching by team B. Does any time come off the game clock?

Asked by Wyvrn164 over 7 years ago

With one exception the answer is yes. If a receiver catches the ball while on the ground then no time comes off - touching and being down are at the same moment. In all other scenarios- whether it's K or R - some time comes off. The clock starts with legal touching in the field of play. K cannot advance it so the clock would wind and then be stopped.

My women's football team is in a league that uses NCAA rules. We just got called for illegal man downfield on a punt play. I can find no such rule in the NCAA book regarding punts. Passing, yes. Punts, no. Thoughts?

Asked by Renegades Special Teams Coach over 7 years ago

Thoughts? I think the officials made a mistake. You're right. They were using something out of the NFL.

D III game - on a punt, the center faked the snap and held it behind his butt for a few seconds. Once the defense rushed past the line, the guard went behind the center and took the ball from him and ran for a td. Is this a legal snap?

Asked by Daryl Muellenberg over 7 years ago

It's illegal on two counts. One, it isn't a snap since a legal snap leaves the snapper's hands. It's a snap infraction Two, it is a "planned loose ball" play in the vicinity of the snapper. In other words a "fumblerooski". That's a 5 yard penalty plus loss of down.

10/1/16 Lou vs Clem, rare def. holding. Why was 3rd down repeated?

3rd and 17 at LOU 13
(10:00 - 2nd qtr) Lamar Jackson run for 5 yds to the Lvile 18 CLEMSON Penalty, Def. Holding (10 Yards) to the Lvile 28
Next Play: 3rd and 2 at LOU 28

Asked by Gorilla over 7 years ago

A defensive hold is only an automatic first down if it is against an eligible receiver. If it isn't that, then like any othert penalrty, the down is repeated after the 10 yard mark off.

Is it legal for defensive linemen to cover receivers downfield before the ball is passed?

Asked by Mr.Not4Gamez almost 8 years ago

When you say "cover", if you mean can they defend them, yes. If you mean be in front of them at the LOS, yes. Any defender can "cover" a receiver.

if "nigga" is used on the field in football is it a penalty

Asked by mgoblue68 over 7 years ago

Yes. It is disparaging and considered - at the minimum - taunting. Unsportsmanlike conduct.

If the defense is in cover 1, and the QB see's the weak side linebacker up on the line of scrimmage, what does that tell the QB?

Asked by Patsr#1 almost 7 years ago

This is a site dealing with officiating. Find the one dealing with being a quarterback.

Why doesn't the Miami/Bulls game have any pink ribbon on field or on themselves?

Asked by Ka over 7 years ago

That is,a league/ team issue, not officiating.

If a player is running down the sideline for a touchdown, ball is in one hand extended over the out of bounds line, runs into the Endzone, ball still extended, he never steps out however the ball is extended outside the pile on, is it still a td?

Asked by Tim over 7 years ago

Yes. In that case it's the "goal line extended". The player is in bounds as he crosses; the ball also is considered to have crossed the GL.

Broncos vs chargers today. Denver' s nose guard was called for defensive holding on a run up the middle. How does that happen?

Asked by Dc over 7 years ago

You can have illegals use of hands on both sides of the ball. I didn't see the play but:A) if a defensive lineman grabs the offensive lineman (say at the shoulders outside his frame) and directs him so the defender can get open route to ball carrier - Def holdB) if defensive lineman pulls offensive lineman so another defender can shoot through the gap (pull and shoot) - Def hold

If an opposing players hand is on the ground and out of bounce and a running back carry the football steps on the hand yet never steps on the ground out of bounce other than the hand, is the running back considered out of bounce?

Asked by Geese31 over 7 years ago

A player who touches anything or anyone that is out if bounds makes that player out of bounds. So yes.

If a player see on the one yard line and reaches the ball outside of the pylon is this a touchdown or do you mark the ball at the one

Asked by dmesz15 over 7 years ago

If I'm reading you right, the runner goes down in bounds on the one. He is reaching the ball forward but the ball goes outside the pylon. The ball is placed where it crossed the sideline.

Why did we not see the National Anthem before the packer game! It's a part of football

Asked by Pat about 7 years ago

You'll have to contact Fox Sports for that answer.

when a Line Backer, hits the running back or whoever is with the ball with face mask to face mask collision, is that considering targeting?

Asked by leonardo over 7 years ago

In college, technically the answer is yes. Rule 9-1-4 Note 2: "Leading with helmet, shoulder, forearm, fist, hand or elbow to attack with forcible contact at the head or neck area". Would it be called? Maybe, mabe not. It is a bang-bang play and when there isn't a launch or a crouch and upward drive by the tacker, it's a bit tougher to call. But if it's on film - and it is - and a supervisor sees that you didn't call it, you've got a problem. At the very least, you have a personal foul.

On a kickoff if the ball hits the upright and falls back into play is it a live ball

Asked by over 7 years ago

No. Goalposts is out of bounds. Touching something out of bounds makes the ball dead.

On a punt, if the ball bounces over the goal line and doesn't touch down in the end zone, can a player jump from the field of play, bat the ball back to a teammate on the one yard line and have him down it there? Or is it a touchback? College & pro?

Asked by Keith P. over 7 years ago

In college, the goal line is a plane: if the ball breaks the plane it is a touch back. In the NFL, I'm pretty sure the player cannot be in the endzone but he can reach in and bat the ball back into the field of play.

"A" team scored a TD and "B" team got a 15yd penalty for roughing the kicker which will be given to "B" team after kick off. If "B" team runs the kick off back for TD, what happens to the 15yd penalty?

Asked by Brent about 7 years ago

It wouldn't be after the kickoff, it would be on the kickoff. The penalty is assessed before the ball is kicked off.

If team A has a 3rd and goal situation on the 11 yd line and attempts a pass into the endzone and Team B commits a personal foul (not sure if it was roughing the QB or a target hit on the intended receiver).....what would be the course of action?

Asked by Confused over 7 years ago

The easy part is if it's a targeting (in college) the player is ejected. A roughing the QB is an automatic first down (NCAA). Same for targeting. If there was no score on the play, that would create 1 & goal at the 5 1/2 yard line.

Why wasn't the first touchdown by packers in today's playoff game reviewed? It looked like his knee went down but it wasn't reviewed.

Asked by AM about 7 years ago

I didn't see it but in all likelihood it was since all scoring plays are automatically reviewed. It may not have been announced - usually aren't if there's no issue.

10/1/16 Lou vs Clem ques you replied: A def hold is only an auto 1st down if it's against eligible receiver. If not, then like any other penalty, the down is repeated after 10 yard mark off. So, result of play + 10 yards + repeat of down? Thx

Asked by Gorilla over 7 years ago

No. If you accept the DH, then you go from the enforcement spot (previous spot ), Mark off 10vyards, repeat down.

In Michigan Michigan State game, Spartans had onside kick attempt with one second left in the game. Assuming the needed only 1 to 8 points to win or tie, could they have recovered the onside kick and had an untimed down on offense? What scenario?

Asked by Gerry over 7 years ago

I'm going to say no. The question above addresses that, too. The clock starts on the legal touch in the field of play. If there is one second left, as soon as the MSU player touches it legally, the clock starts. And with one second left - and K not being able to advance the kick - the clock goes to zero and the game is over.

Why do referees insist on saying "illegal block in the back"? Has there ever been a "legal" block in the back?

Asked by Frank about 7 years ago

Because that is the foul: illegal block in the back. Is there a "legal" block? Technically you could say yes; in close line play, at the snap, you can block low and in the back.

Can the recieving team knock into the kicking team preventing a catch by the kicking tab, as was done Giants VS Detroit 2ND qtr game 12/18?

Asked by Irisheyesecm about 7 years ago

Well,since it happened, yes. The receiver did not signal for a fair catch so he can block. And he did, preventing the kicking team player from catching the ball. All good.

I am the qb and I hand the ball off, and that person hands the ball off and then they toss it back to the qb, can you get a roughing the Passer penalty?????

Asked by Amy b over 7 years ago

The foul is roughing the passer, not quarterback. NCAA rule defines the passer as: The passer is the player who throws a forward pass. He is a passer from the time he releases the ball until the pass is complete, incomplete or intercepted or until he moves to participate in the play.

So how does that rule change when a Quarterback falls backwards when stepped on by his own lineman? They mark where he falls not where he started to fall when stepped on. Technically no forward momentum.

Asked by Brian Jarrell123 over 7 years ago

The rule doesn't change. Forward progress is....well, forward progress. If the QB pulls out from under center and gets stepped on and falls, the ball is marked where progress ended. Now, since he "retreated" from the center and went down, that's where he's down. It's like when a receiver catches a ball in advance of the line to gain but circles back hoping to get a lane to run in. If he is tackled behind where he caught the ball, that is where it's marked. He had progress but he gave it up of his own accord; he went back on his own.

Ok , if a referee is from the same state or a fan of the team that they are refereeing can he still referee ??? Like can you do that?

Asked by Jaret knapp about 7 years ago

Like, yeah, maybe. It depends on the conference or supervisor. In the NFL there is no specific restriction. The Big Ten allows alums from a school to work their games. But others may have restrictions. It varies.

Last play of game... QB runs around and clock expires. He throws the ball up in the air and the opposing team falls on the ball in the end zone. What is the call?

Asked by Jack about 6 years ago

Well, if they fall on the ball, the implication is that the ball is on the ground. That's an incomplete pass and the game is over. If they intercept it and fall on the grounds, the game is over.

On the famous trick play South Dakota State scored on against NDSU, am I the only one who thinks SDSU should have been flagged for illegal formation. Every time I look at it I see 8 men on the line of scrimmage and 3 in the backfield. Throw the flag!

Asked by markelbertrea about 7 years ago

It can't be that famous - I never heard of it. But I did look it up. And from what I can see here, it looks as if both 19 and 87 are on the line. To your specific point, it's ok to have eight on the line. The rule states, No more than four players may be backs There aren't. So that isn't a foul. It looks as if the play is legal. Don't throw the flag!

In the Packers game, Nelson caught a pass and it was reviewed. It was not a 1st down due to a defensive penalty, but Pererra said it was not a 1st down based on the catch because the spot Is where first contact is made. Why not forward progress?

Asked by Tracy over 7 years ago

I saw the play, heard Pereira. Wasn't quite sure what he meant. It can't be forward progress - which I think was still short - because Jordan on his own went backwards. Had he been hit and pushed back by the defender, then you have forward progress,

I need to know about the slide rule change about quarter back sliding to a stop where does the play count on the ball set

Asked by Dan Rash over 7 years ago

In college the ball is placed where the player- usually the QB - begins his slide. That is where he gives himself up and where, technically, he stopped participating.

If on same play team #1 commits 2 infractions and team #2 commits one infraction, what is the result of the play

Asked by louko over 7 years ago

While there are some exceptions to this, the folks offset. If there is a found that results in a dusqualuficaton, even with an offset, be player is still ejected.

What would have happened during tonights ram niners game the playclock was at zero before the niners recovered the onside kick is ent that A delay of game?? If the niners.would have.scored would it have still counted

Asked by MIKE thomas over 6 years ago

Didn't see the game but based on what you're writing: thete is a play clock for kickoffs just as on any other play. If the play clock expired before it was kicked (And I've never seen that) then the kickibg team is penalized five yards. So, if it went to :00, there was no kick and thete can't be a recovery. The kicking team, by the way, cannot advance a recovery of their own kick.

If two players are running down the field and one punches the other it is a personal foul. Why is it not a personal foul when one player has the football and another player tries to punch the football out missing and punching the arm or ribs?

What is the intent of the act? While officials can't always determine intent, in the case you cite, if a player is trying to strip the ball and something else happens, you look at intent. Throwing a punch is quite different.
 If the ruling is on intent on a personal foul if someone swings with a closed fist or open hand with intent to hit the ball and miss the ball hitting the body the intent is to hit something so by definition that should be a personal foul right?

Asked by Jeff over 7 years ago

I list you after the first sentence.

Are players required to stop play when an official blows their whistle? Is there an exception in the rule book for when the ball is loose on the field and whistles are blowing? Why reward (on review) a fumble recovery after whistles are blowing?

Asked by bridgbum about 7 years ago

When the whistle blows, the play/action stops. If the ball is loose, as in your example, and an official blows the whistle - likely "inadvertently - then the play/action still stops. There are rules that cover those situations, including a loose ball.

player is in field of play reaches ball to outside of pylon is this a touchdown ?

Asked by over 7 years ago

Hmm. I'm trying to envision your play. If the ball carrier is still inside the pylon as he crosses the goal, then the ball touching the pylon makes it "in bounds" and you have a TD. But if the ball crosses the sideline before it reaches the pylon, say at the one or two yard line, then it's out of bounds and even if the player hits the pylon, with his body, the ball is out of bounds where it crossed the sideline.

To what extent is a tackler responsible for knowing whether the ballcarrier is in-bounds or OB? Assume late whistles:
A: Ballcarrier steps on sideline and is immediately tackled.
B: Ballcarrier is two steps OB and is tackled.
C. All cases in-between

Asked by Bridgbum about 7 years ago

That's a good question. Simply put, the tackler is responsible - period. And don't assume any whistle; as is often said, the play kills itself, not the whistle. For example, if a player is down and there's no immediate whistle, and the player gets hit, it's a foul, whistle or not.

Back to out of bounds: in your example A, you can envision the tackler right there as the runner hits OOB. You probably don't flag that because it's happening so quickly at the sideline. In B, you have a foul; that's pretty obvious. Cases in between? There really isn't an in-between. If the runner steps out, he's out and can't be hit. If the contact begins while the runner is in bounds, then it's not a foul unless there is unnecessary continuing contact out of bounds.

If I ran a slip screen in the NFL, can the O-Line go downfield before a forward pass is caught, if it is caught behind the LOS? Or does the pass have to be backwards?

Asked by Thunder23 over 7 years ago

Line can go down one yard. Beyond that is illegal. A pass behind the line is, I believe, the same - no more than one yard.

Can forward progress be stopped by own player?

Asked by Matt over 7 years ago

A player is moving forward until he isn't. If a runner collides with a teammate and falls down, he's down. Once the runner's own action stops propelling him forward - unless he runs backwards of his accord - he has ended his "forward progress".

Has there ever been an NFL fame where they did not kick a field go when they were in field goal range and it was almost halftime?

Asked by Sean Duong over 7 years ago

Sorry, this isn't a trivia or history site.

Onside kick. Goes 15 yards in the air. Kicking team catches the ball in the air. Who ball is it ? Oklahoma High school

Asked by Checotahbill over 6 years ago

If there was no receiver in the area who could catch it, it belongs to the kicking team.

In Saturdays LSU-Auburn game the officials called a penalty on LSU for illegal motion with 5 seconds to play. The play was nullified and brought back to the line of scrimmage and the penalty was assessed. Should the clock have been reset at 5 seconds

Asked by Rick over 7 years ago

Couple of things here. If the clock was running and the foul for illegal motion stopped the clock, then there could have been a 10 second runoff and the game would be over. If the click wasn't running, then yes you should have the clock reset to five seconds since the play never happened. But, and I'm not clear from your description, if the play was run and the foul was a live ball foul during the play, then you could have an untimed down or Auburn could decline the penalty and the game ends.

Am I starting to lose my mind or was the rule in the NFL at one time that if there was defensive pass interfernce in the opposing team's endzone, it was an automatic TD? I remember it but nobody I've asked so far seems to.

Asked by DCCop58 over 6 years ago

I cannot comment on your mental state but I have never heard of that as a rule. It seems very odd. There are rules in high school and college that allow a referee to award a penalty - including a score - for situations not specifically covered by rule. For example, a runner is going down the opposition's sideline waaaaaay ahead of any defender when an opposing team staff member runs out and tackles him. Referee could award a score.

Is a try after point mandatory or may it be declined

Asked by Ols about 7 years ago

No one would decline the opportunity to score points. But in the case of the SupervBowl, the PAT score wasn't needed. The game had been decided. It's similar cat other levels. If the score might make a difference (e.g. as a tie breaker in league play or seeding) you have the try. If not, you can walk away...or decline.

So if a kickoff is kept in bounds but the player who received it is our of bound when touched is that a penalty on the kick off team??

Asked by Dylan over 7 years ago

Indeed it is. If the ball touches out of bounds - or anything or anybody who is out of bounds- it is out of bounds. I've actually recently heard of a coach who teaches his receivers to straddle the line (one for out) and catch the ball; that's a kick out of bounds and a foul on the kicking team..

Why in the Lions Green bay game was the Packers awarded the ball on a kickoff that didn't go out of bounds but the player did and was out of bounds when he recovered the ball on the 2 yard line . The Lions were given a 15 yard penalty.

Asked by Robert lozon over 7 years ago

I answered this one above but.....

If the ball touches anything that's out of bounds, the ball is out of bounds. Therefore if the player is out of bounds - or straddling the line - then the ball is a kick out of bounds and a foul against the kicking team.

In nfl when a team punts the ball and time runs out while the ball is in the air what options do the receiving team have. Rule section.

Asked by Mikary52nh over 7 years ago

As far as i understand, it's the same as any other play when time runs out. You continue play until the whistle. The ball is alive and in play until the play ends.

Can a receiving team advance a punt after it has been touched by a kicking team

Asked by Bart S over 7 years ago

Yes. The touch by K is - depending on the level - first touching or illegal touching. The ball is,still alive, but R can take the ball at the spot of the touch.

Team A punts from the 50, at the B-1 yard line player A-33 stops the ball and half his body slides across B's goal line. B's ball on B-1 or Touchback.

Asked by Compujok about 7 years ago

Depends on what game you're watching. As i understand it, in the NFL your scenario is a touchback. In college, if the ball is touched at the B1 and it stays there, it's at the one. If the ball is touched at the 1 and goes into the end zone, touchback.

If a team is going for 2 and throws an interception and the intercepting player eh s the ball out of the end zone but then fumbles and the origin al team recovers and returns it to the end zone. Would that be 2 points or six because of change of poss

Asked by Rick R over 7 years ago

A try is,a special period of play. Six points can only be awarded on a touchdown, not a try. Two points.

I saw a recent NFL game where the punter tackled the punt returner. To what extent is it legal to block the punter? I recall a rule making the punter "protected," even when he's running downfield to possibly tackle the kick returner.

Asked by Bridgbum about 7 years ago

Once the punter has kicked and recovers and goes to be involved in the play (going after/tackling a runner) he's a player and is no different than any other player. Same with a QB after an interception. If the QB goes to tackle and participates in the play, he's fair game. If he just stands there, then you can't hit him.

Runner fumbles but ref blows whistle saying down before fumble. Should play stop? If after whistle defender recovers, and review shows was a fumble, why is def team given the ball? It rewards continued play after whistle.

Asked by bridgbum over 7 years ago

Caveat: i have not worked games using replay. Rule 12,Art. 3: I replay has indisputable evidence of a fumble, "it belongs to the recovering team at the spot of recovery. " Without replay, the down is replayed.

If a team was punting out of their own endzone, and the punter muffed the kick straight up and a person on the opposition called a fair catch in the endzone would it be a touchdown. Also if they interfered with the fair catch would it be a touchdown?

Asked by Erik over 6 years ago

Let's correct a term first. The punter can't muff the kick. What I think you're saying is the punter kicked the ball straight up in the air. If the ball was still in the endzone, that means the kick never crossed the line of scrimmage. And that means you can't call for a fair catch. If the receiving team has possession in that endzone, you have a touchdown.

Why is a quarterback not charged for "intentional grounding" when he spikes the ball?

Asked by Les about 7 years ago

The rules allow the player who "first controls the snap" to immediately throw it to the ground without being called for grounding.

If a player catches a pass while in bounds but has not yet touched the ground but, while falling out of bounds he breaks the plane of the goal line, is it a TD?

Asked by Kyle collins over 7 years ago

No but.... Receiver needs to catch the ball in the field of play or endzone and come to ground to complete the catch. If he lands in the endzone as maintains possession to complete the catch, then it is a TD.

Ky high school football- isn't it an unnecessary roughness penalty if the defender picks up the offensive ball carrier and slams him to the ground?

Asked by Bill over 6 years ago

What you describe is certainly not a "tackle". Wgat you describe is unnecessary. That's a foul.

Why wasn't the 10 second runoff rule enforced in the LA Rams - Atlanta game just before halftime? LA received a holding call with 8 second left to halftime and had no time outs.

Asked by Reggie Beasley about 6 years ago

I'm guessing the NFL rule is the same (similar) to the NCAA. In order for a 10-secind runoff to occur, the foul must cause the clock to stop immediately, such as a false start. If it was a hold, then the play went off and the infraction didn't cause the clock to stop; the play ended and the clock was stopped.

Pick up football game -
Defender clearly intercepts the ball and as he is going to the ground offensive player grabs the ball. The defensive player never loses possession of the ball, both players come to the ground with two hands on the ball. Is this a simultaneous catch that is awarded to the offense? or an interception?

Asked by Mbud about 6 years ago

Hmmm, pick up game? I'm giving that to the defense. He had the ball; you said clearly. If he was on the ground - on his feet - he has pissrssion.

Would you or could you call a delay of game penalty. The Falcons intercept Brady deep in Falcon territory. During thr runback all Patriots players give up about the 50 yard line. Alford stops before crossing the goal line to run off time off clock.

Asked by Dick E about 7 years ago

No. It's an accepted part of the game.

I noticed a few weeks ago Stefan Diggs for the Vikings received a fine for using the goal post as a prop in his celebration. Why aren’t players that climb the wall after a touchdown fined? Seems like they are using the wall as a prop?

Asked by Butch about 6 years ago

I don't know what the NFL allows in that regard. The "Lambeau Leap" has been accepted for quite a while. That mat play into the decision.

Can a db have his arm around a receiver (hooked) as they are running down the field and while the ball is in the air

Asked by Terry over 7 years ago

Good question. Are you an Ohio State or Michigan fan? The philosophy officials often use is "advantage/disadvantage". Did the action have a material impact on the play? Having an arm around a receiver isn't automatically a foul. Did the arm actually hook or grab the receiver and turn him away from the ball, or prevent him from reaching for the ball? Or was the arm being there just a good play, timed right? The rules today at virtually all levels - but especially the NFL - favor offense. So I return to the earlier point: Did the action have a material impact on the play? If yes, then we have a foul. And that's why those deep officials get the big bucks - for their judgment on that play.

can you add some light on what the rule is for blocking down field for a screen pass. Can the receivers block the defender before the ball is caught by the offense player behind the LOS?

Asked by Josiah about 7 years ago

If a pass does not cross the line of scrimmage (screen) then a) you can't have ineligibles down field and b) you can't have pass interference (offense or defense). In the NFL, they are tighter with lineman, only giving them a yard downfield to block on passes behind the LOS. So, yes, receivers downfield can block before the pass is thrown as long as the pass was caught behind the LOS.

On a kickoff, say the receiver catches the ball straddling the endzone, he hesitates, and here's the other team. He can't go fwd., he may get a safety, so he decides to throw the ball out of bounds. An illegal forward pass but they keep the ball?

Asked by Scott about 6 years ago

Hey, coach! Tell your player to either catch it in the field of play or in the endzone. No indecision!!

Generally, officials will give the player the benefit of the doubt and say he's in the endzone. But if he is obviously straddling the line as you describe, he's caused all of us problems. It matters where the ball is, not the player. But if he throws it, he just screwed the pooch. If he throws it backwards, it's alive and the kicking team could recover it. If he throws it out of bounds backwards, it's a safety. If he throws it forward from the endzone, it's an illegal forward pass and the penalty is marked from the spot of the foul -- safety.

ie-your answer to on-side kick with 1 second remaining. What if there was a foul on the other team after the kicking team recovered the ball? Game can't end on a defensive foul, but don't know if that counts as a defensive foul.

Asked by Daryl Muellenberg over 7 years ago

With one second remaining, a "recovery" sort of implies the receiver was either catching it and goibg to tbe ground or on the ground at the recovery. On a legal touch, the clock winds. So if the foul occured after the reception, it happened after the clock expired. The period (game?) is over.

What happens in college football when the runners own player knocks him backwards and down to the ground. How is forward progress determined? Since the defense did not stop him – should he be down where he lands and not where the forward most spot of the ball?

Asked by Brian Jarrell over 7 years ago

I wish I had seen this - it's the second question about it. Here's the answer - repeated: A player is moving forward until he isn't. If a runner collides with a teammate and falls down, he's down. Once the runner's own action stops propelling him forward - unless he runs backwards of his accord - he has ended his "forward progress". And to add/clarify: It is where the ball is when his forward movement ends, whether tackled or he falls on his own or after contact with his teammate.

Ok- It’s fourth down with 4 sec left. The QB runs backward on 4th down. The clock hits zero and he tosses the ball underhand, skyward to celebrate. The ball comes down to the field and bounces in the end zone. If it went backwards- isn’t it a fumble

Asked by The Old AD about 6 years ago

Yup. Or technically, a backward pass which is still alive. This is the end of the JMU - South Dakota State game that someone just called me about. He thought the whistle had blown and if so, the ref may have felt the QB had "given himself up" knowing what the purpose of the running around was. In truth, the QB should have killed the clock running around and then gone to a knee to end the game.

In the Second Half kickoff of the Giant V Lion game. A Lion went out of bounds and then touched the kickoff in bounds at the 9. They placed the balk at the 40. How does that happen?

Asked by Jimmy C about 7 years ago

It's a great, smart play by the receiving team. If the player is out of bounds and he touches the kick, then the kick is out of bounds. That is a free kick out of bounds and a foul by the kickers. One option on enforcement is placing the ball 25 yards in advance of the kick. Lions, 1st and 10.

Hi - The other night in a HS game, the K team punted to the R team. After the ball was blown dead, the BJ stopped the R team players from leaving the field. He then counted 12 players and threw a flag. Once a play is blown dead, can he then count the

Asked by N.E. Fan over 6 years ago

While unusual, it's the right thing to do. It may be that the official, possibly getting to it late or the offense ran the play quickly, was in the process of counting when the play went off. Yes, the official should be counting "faster" but the idea is to get it right. He did. If the official thought he had 12, a less than perfect solution could be to stop play if he thinks he has 12, count, then flag it. If there are 11, play on.

Hello, do you know why NFL players let the last minute of 2nd and 4th quarter go by just walking to the locker room? Why do they do that when the game is fairly close? Is this the same in college football? If so, why? If not, why? Thanks.

Asked by Hanwook Nam over 6 years ago

It doesn't always happen and it's because their coaches decided they aren't gong to run another play. It can't be the last minute, though, because there may be a play clock involved. Beyond that, you'd have to ask a coach why.

Why can't the ball be snapped to the center of the hash marks for a field goal? Must the ball be snapped directly backwards in these situations? (To move a field goal attempt to the middle versus kicking from the hash marks)

Asked by Football noob over 6 years ago

The ball is snapped based on where it ends up after the previous play. If the play ends outside the hash (between hash and sideline) it is brought back to the hash for the next snap. If it is incomplete, it is returned to where it was last snapped. If it ends between the hashes, it is snapped at the spit where the play ended. You don't table a choice of where to place the ball.

Why is a runner/receiver ruled out of bounds when/where the ball crosses the imaginary plane of the boundary. But a ball can be caught after it crosses the same plane? The first is difficult to officiate and get the spot right even in replay.

Asked by about 6 years ago

Your question is a little confusing but let me try.

When a runner goes out of bounds, the ball is spotted where the ball crosses the OOB line, not the runner. It's pretty straight forward and not that difficult to officiate.

I'm not quite sure what the second part of your question means, but here goes. The ball isn't out of bounds until it touches something out of bounds. A player in the field of play is not OOB. So if a player reaches out and catches a ball that has crossed the sideline - and he is still in bounds - the ball is still in play and it's a catch.

I currently coach WR and DB, can you help me with the rules for WRs on cut blocks?

Asked by matt over 6 years ago

Can someone help me? I'm guessing you're a college coach since low blocks are prohibited in high school. The rules have changed a number of times over the last several years and each time they do, there's a new "wrinkle"....or crease.

Can't possibly do it justice or be complete here, but blocks need to be in the "10 to 2" (o'clock) range as viewed by the blocker. But this year it was interpreted that the initial contact has to be from that direction. In other words, even if the hit is in the 10-2 area, the "attack" by the blocker has to be within that arc when initiated. Clear? Yeah, me neither. With wide receivers, they must - since they are initially outside the tackle box - either block above the waist or attack the 10-2 zone and initiate the attack from that direction. It's challenging to explain without visuals. That may be as good as I can get it - sorry.

It is 4th down, with 5 seconds left in the game. The offensive team is ahead by 2 points. The QB receives the snap and runs backward and throws the ball up The offensive team storms the field and ball is caught by a player not in the game. Is game o

Asked by Rick about 7 years ago

This play will never never happen, even in a Pop Warner game.

Here is my take:  Too many men on the field and yes 15 yds for unsportsmanship and replay after 15 yds back.

Also, if QB threw up ball, would this be intentional grounding?  If yes, that is a spot foul, 5 yds from spot and loss of down. LOD on 4th down with no time left means that we do not extend so game would be over and B loses if they accept this foul (which they would not).  

The QB would take the snap and run backwards for 4 seconds and then take a knee. Period.

When is a punter no longer protected. If an Australian style punter runs outside the hash marks before kicking the ball, can he be hit even if he punts.

Asked by kevin about 7 years ago

Very good question. When he runs, he is a runner and can be hit - legally- like any other ball carrier. But if he stops to kick, he's a kicker and is subject to those protections. The referee (white hat) has responsibility for the kicker. He has to make the judgement of when the punter stops being a runner and becomes a kicker.

Why do officials stand over the football and deliberately deny the center from hiking the ball as the play clock ticks away? Sometimes the offense wants to "hurry up"offense and cannot due to the ref standing over the ball on the line of scrimmage

Asked by Willfire67 about 7 years ago

If the offense has substituted, the defense has to be given an opportunity to "match up". There are limits in time, but the D has to have the chance. If the defense doesn't sub immediately, the official moves off the ball. When you see an official with his arms out to the side ("iron cross") they are in that time frame allowing the defense to sub.

If a touchdown can be made by just breaking the end zone plane, why wasn’t Jesse James’ touchdown at the end of the Steelers/Patriots game on 12/17/17 upheld? It was an EXTREMELY poor call reversal.

Asked by Janice about 6 years ago

Well, you're asking me to explain the NFL's catch rule which is inexplicable. I saw it, got excited because i root for anyone playing the Pats, then realized that it was being reviewed. Meaning logic went out the window. James was not a runner. He was a pass receiver who had not yet become a runner. With me still? As a result, he had to "survive tbe ground", even though the NFL's Al Riveron actually said in his explanation that Ben completed a pass to James. Had James been a runner, then breaking the plane scores the TD, as you state. But he was not a runner, he was still a receiver. Still with me now? Had he pulled the ball in to his body, he probably catches it and the Steelers set up for the next play on the 1 1/2. Had gecstill been in college, it's likely a catch, too. Or as Tony Dungy said, anywhere but the NFL, that's a touchdown.

A QB fumbles on a pitch to a rb on the 30yd line in an attempt to march down the field for a 70yd drive, the obvious chaos to recover the ball by D & O occurs; can a D player hit or kick the ball while trying to pick it up, causing the ball to roll towards the endzone, then recover it for a defensive touchdown??? Does this fall under the illegal batted ball rule?? (Ex: while he's trying to pick it up he kind of hits it forward, then hits it forward again, then picks it up in the endzone. Is this a legit td for the D or an illegally batted ball?) the ball started at the 30yd line, went back 5yds on the bad pitch, then was hit backwards nearly 25yds by the defense while attempting to pick up & advance the football.

Asked by Royal Chiou over 6 years ago

You cannot bat a ball forward. If the defense batted it towards the endzone they're facing, that's forward and illegal. There is a certain amount of reading intent. "he kind of hits it forward, then hits it forward again, then picks it up in the endzone." If a player tried and failed to pick it up twice and - golly gee - it happened to go towards the endzone, I think we have an issue. Ain't happening.

If there's a 2 TE offense, what determines the strong side (closed side) of the field?

Asked by Pats1 about 7 years ago

Where are you backs? They would likely give you strength based on their position (slot, split (

with regard to forward progress - if an offensive player is running and then collides with a teammate at the 35 yard line and falls backwards landing on the ground with the ball at the 34 yard line is the ball spotted at the 34 or 35

Asked by boby about 7 years ago

I have answered this question - or a variation of it - three times. No more!

High School Football Question:
If there are two live ball fouls called on one team, one is for holding and the other is a unsportsmanlike, can both fouls be administered?

Asked by Dan C over 7 years ago

Really good question and my first thought was NO, but the unsportsmanlike set off bells. I decided to check anyway and I was wrong.

In the rule book, pg 76, 10-2-4, " When a team commits a non-player or unsportsmanlike foulduring that same down, it is administered from the succeeding spot as established by the acceptance or declination of the penalty for the other foul."

In the case book: pg 101, 10.4.5, situation A, B, and  D.

It should be noted that the dead ball fouls they talk about are "coach coming onto the field to criticize an official, player swearing."

Question on HS kickoff rules. If a kickoff is popped into the air (doesn't hit the ground) the receiving team can fair catch the ball. The kicking team cannot advance the ball if they recover, but can the kicking team catch the ball out air?

Asked by HSCoach over 6 years ago

Kicking cannot legally touch tbe ball until it has gone 10 yards. Yes, they can cat h it in the air but they are also subject to kick catch interference rules. The receivers can call for a fair catch.

In the NFL if a player possesses the ball and a teammate standing partially out of bounds contacts him is the ball considered out of bounds?

Asked by Ron about 7 years ago

Well, based on what we saw on the Giants-Packers game, no. My understanding on other levels is if a player (ball carrier) comes on contact with something or someone out of bounds, then he is out of bounds. But...

In the game tonight, Cam was taken down behind the line of scrimmage, why isn’t that recorded as a Sack?

Asked by Setty over 6 years ago

Officials don't deal with statistics so I can't answer definitively. If it was,a "dezigned" run from thecstaff, then he's a runner, not a passer, hence no sack (?).

During the kickoff following the KC chiefs touchdown in the 1st quarter of the Thursday night game (October 19, 2017) . The returner didn’t down the ball, but toss it to a ball boy in the back of the end zone. Shouldn’t that be a safety?

Asked by Vance over 6 years ago

If a player "gives himself up" (clearly indicates he is not running it out), the referee will whistle the play dead. Tossing it to the ball boy likely occurred after the whistle blew.

Holding occurs at the offensive five yard line while the quarterback is in the endzone preparing to throw the ball. What is the penalty enforcement?

Asked by ReggieP over 6 years ago

If you're looking for a safety, you wont find it. The foul occurs in the field of play and should be a previous spot foul.

By Rule, is an offensive lineman (or any other offensive player) allowed to grasp the jersey of a defensive player when blocking?

Asked by MrMoJoe about 6 years ago

The simple answer is no. Not by "rule". By rule you can't grasp, pull, or hook an opponent. But the reality is that players do grasp and it is "allowed" (and I use that term carefully) as long as the block (it is still blocking) is inside the frame of the opponent. If the "grasping" is in desperation because the defender got away and the blocker just grabs and pulls on the shirt and you see it stretch, you have holding. If the blocker grabs the defender's arms but doesn't take him down or turn him away from the play, it is likely going to be allowed.

Mnn vs GB game 12/23/17. Why was play stop when GB has 12 on the field for defense, but play was allowed with Mnn having 12 on defense so GB had choice of play or penalty?

Asked by David Gattman about 6 years ago

Couple of possibilities. First, if you see the 12, you want to shut it down before the play goes off. That's the proper mechanic and the better situation. But, they simply may have still been counting (late sub, e.g.) and the ball was snapped. It's possible the player was trying to get off the field but didn't make it and the play went off. You could still shut it down but they didn't. Sometimes stuff just happens and itisn't the ideal.

If a interference penalty is called in the e.z. and it is the last play of the half, the ball is placed at the one, but on the ensuing play, the offense is called for pre snap movement, is the extra play still runafter a 5 yard march off.

Asked by bucky110 over 6 years ago

Placed at the one in the NFL, at the 2 in NCAA play. If there was a false start, then there was no play. Yes, the five-yard penalty is enforced and then the offense runs the untimed down from the 6 or 7, depending on the level. In high school, it is simply a 15 yard penalty from the previos spot.

this question pertains to the seahawks/packers game on 9/10/2017. in the 4th quarter onthe final drive, with 3:09 remaining, the packers were assessed an unnecessary roughness penalty (15yds) yet next play was a 1st & 10 - shouldn't it be 1st & 25?

Asked by chezcarson over 6 years ago

While I didn't see the game, this is probably what happened. It's the same as in college football where if there is a foul, in this case a personal foul, between downs and before the chains have been set with the new line to gain, the penalty is enforced and then the chains are set. So it is, in fact, first and 10.

In the Detroit game yesterday there was a dispute whether Stafford fumbled or was attempting a pass and upon challenge they ruled it a fumble. But even if it was a pass, the ball was clearly thrown backwards. why wasn't it a loose ball regardless.

Asked by Lane Potkin over 6 years ago

Didn't see this nor hear anything about it. You're saying it was "clearly back"; maybe not.

If there is 1 second left on a football game clock and the play clock counts down to zero because there are so many players and people on the field, why wouldn’t the team who was supposed to make the next game play receive a delay of game penalty?

Asked by Littlebit over 6 years ago

I'm not sure what you mean by "so many players and people on the field". But if the play clock is running and the clock goes to zero, yes, it's a delay of game. Now, if there were substitutions going on (NCAA rules), it is possible that the defense could cause the delay.

Upon the flagging for "unsportsmanlike" conduct, why is the "initial" call not enforced when two opposing players are flagged?

Asked by Darius about 6 years ago

I'm not sure what you mean.

Yo, if the quarterback fumbles the ball behind the line of scrimmage, then for some reason, instead of recovering it or picking it up, he kicks it off the ground through the uprights, is that a field goal?

Asked by Zach over 6 years ago

Yo? Really?

No. What you describe is a foul. Intentionally kicking a ball - not a scrimmage kick - is a foul.

Ok if your team get caught with 12 men on the field right as the 12th player is walking off its a free play for offence right? so can that player turn around and participate in the play because the penalty has already been called?

Asked by hunter k about 6 years ago

Nice try. If you pulled that, you might find an official willing to throw a second flag for a personal foul (you shouldn't have been there!) or unsportsmanlike conduct. First, if they catch 12 on the field, they should shut it down and not let the play go off. That's the proper mechanic, despite TV announcers saying the QB is trying to catch them. If they don;t catch it early enough, it isn't real a "free play". They need to shut it down.

The tackle box is the area that's from the left side offensive tackles to the right side OT and is 5 yards deep on the defense. My question is, if there's a defensive end aligned with an outside shade on the OT, would that still be considered the box

Asked by Bret about 7 years ago

It's based on the offensive formation, not where the defense is. The DE's position is irrelevant.

How was j.wistons head butt not more than a personal foul? Helmet to helmet. Defenceless? Targeting?

Asked by Arvy about 7 years ago

I always said that if you could penalize for stupidity, there would be no game - it would take too long for all the penalty enforcements.

It was a personal foul - maybe unsportsmanlike? - but still just 15 yards. Could you call it flagrant and DQ the guy? Maybe, but would they? And especially at that point in the game? You could have called it all the things you said, although "targeting" has a specific definition that may not apply here. Regardless, you can't get blood from a stone, so PF is pretty much it.

Why wasn't Arron Rogers penalized for not wearing his chin strap in the playoff game against the Cowboys

Asked by oleman74 about 7 years ago

Probably because no one saw it.

What are the odds that all 8 division winners go 6-0 in division games?

Asked by Franklin about 6 years ago

I don't know....what are they?

And what does that have to do with officiating?

Its 3rd and 3 on the offensive 4 yard line. The defence commits a 5 yard penalty is it a first down even tho its only half the distance to the goal?

Asked by Jason over 6 years ago

Let's change some terminology. Offense is A and defense is B. A has 3rd and 3 on the B4, so the line to brain is the B1. B commits a foul with a 5 yard penalty. But you're in an area where you can only go half the distance. Half the distance from the B4 is the B2. It's now 3rd and 1.

Green Bay RB fumbles football. Atlanta DB recovers ball at own 1 yard line. Untouched, he rolls backwards into his own end zone. Ruled a touchback. Atlanta gets ball at their own 20. Is this correct call?

Asked by Jack Rothell about 7 years ago

He wasn't touched by an opponent until he was in EZ. It looked like as he was recovering, he rolled into the endzone where he was downed. I didn't think he had control/possession until the endzone. Yes, I agree that was the right call.

can an offensive lineman be called for a block in the back when a rusher beats them to try and get to the quarterback

Asked by umpref15 about 7 years ago

I will definitively say, maybe. If the lineman maintains contact with the rusher and the opponent ends up facing away from the blocker, then no. It's continuous action and the original contact - that was legal - is continuing. However, if the defender gets past him and contact is lost, and then the O lineman pushes him in the back, then yes it can be IBB.

Can officials decide to change out during an ongoing game?

Asked by Washington over 6 years ago

I have no idea what that means. Sorry, can't help.

I've been a Ram fan since 67,my question is why was the 1967 playoff game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Green Bay Packers played at Lambeau field instead of Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum? The Rams had a better record plus they beat the Packers

Asked by Roy H about 7 years ago

I'm anot official, not a football historian.

If the offense snaps the ball over the head of the QB into the endzone and during the scrambel for the ball it is knocked out of the back of the endzone is that a safety?

Asked by Dan over 6 years ago

Yes. Unless something else happens that isn't described here, it was the offense that put the ball in its own end zone. If it goes out, it's their responsibility. If they recover it there, it's a safety. And if the defense recovers, it's a touchdown

In the Cowboys Giants game the Giants threw a pass just past the 1st down mark and then was pushed back and fumbled the ball another Giant recovered short of the 1st why were the Giants awarded a 1st down?

Asked by lousulliva about 6 years ago

Forward progress. The runner is entitled to what he earns. If he made the line to gain and then was pushed back, he gets what he gained - first down. The run ended at the forward progress mark. So the fact that he fumbled is moot.

Watching the Pitt/Jax game. A. Brown catches a pass and goes out of bounds. The clock keeps running. Huh?

Asked by Doug about 6 years ago

First, in the NFL, outside of two minutes remaining in each half, the clock is started once the ball is spotted after the runner goes out of bounds. And the clock is stopped when a runner goes OOB. Now, in your situation, the only thing I can think of is that Brown had forward progress and then was pushed OOB. In that case, he technically didn't go out of bounds. Rather, he was stopped while in bounds and that ended the play. Not the going OOB.

Team A is on 4th and 10 and punts, Team B receives and while returning fumbles and team A recovers. Who would have the next set of downs?

Asked by Ron over 6 years ago

Sometimes you folks ask a question that makes me think. This one, though, is too easy. As with any time in the game, when one team fumbles and the other recovers, it belongs to the recovering team. Here, it's 1st and 10 for A.

Imy belief forward progress is given if the ball carrier is forced backwards by defense, not if he goes back on own. In gb dal gm. 4th & 1 zeke reached the ball out to the 1st dn marker & pulled it back on his own. Hows that fwd prog. Whistle after

Asked by John p over 6 years ago

I believe all levels of football rules are pretty much in agreement on this. The NCAA rule book states: "Forward progress is a term indicating the end of advancement by the ball carrier or airborne pass receiver of either team and applies to the position of the ball when it becomes dead by rule."

The ball was held out and then the whistle blew. The ball was at a certain position - where Elliott had held it out - and that was where it was determined to have been when the runner's progress ended. It isn't much different from a ball carrier extending the ball over the goal line and then being pushed back; touchdown. Position of the ball.

If an offensive and defensive player catch the football together and hit the ground but one player gets up with the ball who gets credit for the catch

Asked by Cdk over 6 years ago

We'll only talk highvschool or college here. Simultaneous catches or recoveries go to the offense. When you say "hit the ground" you need to clarify. Catching off the ground and then returning and touching the ground with their feet? Or bodies going to the ground where the players are grounded ending the play? If they come to the ground on their feet in "joint possession", it's still a live ball and they can fight it out. If they go to the ground in joint possession, it's the offense's ball.

If a referee throws a flag for offsides on the defense and the "free" play results in a turn over. Is the referee allowed to pick up the flag and say it was not offsides and the interception counts? Or should this result in a replayed down?

Asked by Paula over 6 years ago

The defense had a problem. The offense will accept the penalty for offside and the down will be replayed. Tough luck.

This is a question about the NFL. Is sack also counted as a tackle for loss? Meaning are they duplicate stat line or do they both show as a separate stat? I know tackles for loss are counted in the tackle stat but I'm not clear on sacks vs TFL. Thank

Asked by JB Steel about 6 years ago

Can't help you. That isnt a part of the playing rules, which on-field officials address. That's a stat question.

4th and 10 from the K20. After the punt, Punter K1 is roughed by R1. R2 makes a fair catch at the R40 where he his hit late by K2. What do we have?

Asked by D from KC over 5 years ago

 You You have a live ball foul, roughing the kicker, and a dead ball foul come the late hit. And we're going to enforce both. A is going to keep the ball because B got the ball with "dirty hands".  So we enforce the 15 yd penalty for roughing first. which gives A the first down. But then we enforce the late hit against A and bring it back 15 yd. So therefore we have A 1/10 @ A20. We're enforcing both fouls.

If a member of the punting team touches the ball on the 2 yard line, and knocks it into the end zone where his teammate covers the ball, is it a touchback?

Asked by James Dean over 5 years ago

Yes. The axiom is "a kick is a kick is a kick". If K touches the ball, it is "illegal" or "first" touching, depending on the level (HS, NCAA). But the ball as you describe it is still considered a kick, so being downed in the endzone makes it a touchback.

College football: punt formation has an uncovered wing wearing an ineligible number, can he be thrown a forward pass (across line of scrimmage)?

Asked by Chris over 5 years ago

Nope. The player is ineligible by number and that is always the case on a pass that crosses the line of scrimmage.

Can a defensive player on the sidelines call a timeout during a game while his offense is on the playing field

Asked by Mark kettner almost 6 years ago

No. Only a player - someone in the game/on the field - or a substitute - someone coming on to the field to replace a player - can call tmieout.

My understanding is that by college football rules.. a player in possession and control of the ball, whose knee touches the ground is down at that spot and the play is dead. Is this true in absolutely every circumstance ?

Asked by mercury over 5 years ago

I can't think of a time it's not, so yes. But by asking the question, you obviously heard of, or saw, something that didn't go that way.

What's the call. A college defender intercepts a ball, while evading, he runs back into the endzone and falls or is tackled.

Asked by Tim over 5 years ago

Oooh, good question. First, if a defender intercepts a pass from the five yard line in to the goal, he gets momentum, meaning if he ends up in the end zone it was his momentum that put him there so he isn't penalized. It will be his team's ball at the spot of the interception - btw, you'll see an official drop a bean bag at that spot to mark it. However, that isn't what you asked. You wrote "he runs back into the endzone ", meaning he put himself in the endzone. If he falls or is tackled there, it's a safety.

However, on a placekick, the "holder" typically catches the ball with knee firmly on the ground. Typically catches with 2 hands, places it exactly where he wants it - possession and control. Why does play continue ?

Asked by mercury over 5 years ago

Because that's the rule. When you wrote the original question I wasn't considering the holder as a grounded player. Holder can also allowed to rise up to get a bad snap and come back without it being dead.

Hi, If a striker comes from an offside position and challenges a defender for the ball - would the striker be offside?

Asked by Bruce over 5 years ago

Wrong football. No idea

NFL: Foul occurs during play. How is foul communicated to Ref? Then how to bench if accept/decline decision needed? Then how back to Ref? Who on bench is authorized to make decision?

Asked by Jay about 5 years ago

It's pretty similar at all levels of play. The big difference in the NFL and at the higher levels of college ball is the "O2O" (official-to-official) communication - the headsets. The official who threw the flag has to communicate to the referee what the foul is. Most times, the coach knows what it is, but the nearest official - one on the sideline - will try to get him the information if it isn't clear. The penalty also should be communicated so the coach understands his options. You'll often see the referee look to the sideline and signal the foul and possibly the decline signal if it seems appropriate) with a questioning look; he's communicating with the coach - the head coach. Any official who takes a response from an assistant in that situation is....uhh, not very smart.

Okay so we’re taking high school football. It was 7-6 and they went for two. His helmet crossed the line but the ball did not. They counted it. What would you say

Asked by over 5 years ago

By rule, that is not a touchdown. And that's the case at any level of football

If a starting QB leaves a game trailing and the backup brings the team back and wins, which QB is credited with the win? The starter or the backup.

Asked by Tim over 5 years ago

On field fame officials are not responsible for statistics. Can't help.

Does the execution of a snap supercede a timeout whistle, blown very slightly after the snap? Should the result of the play count? Can officials deny the timeout request, if not given time to communicate the timeout before the snap?

Asked by grizrule over 5 years ago

You're asking questions of philosophy, something that isn't in the rule book. First, it depends who is calling the timeout, offense or defense. The defense often waits to the last second to call it in order to "ice" the kicker. But if the snap is in the process of going off, it is possible for the timeout to not be granted. You ask about the whistle blowing "very slightly" after the snap; that probably means it was asked for prior to the snap. When you see the snap go and the kick made as whistles are being blown, the timeout was granted prior to the snap - the kick will not count. Usually, for the offense the timeout is granted.

In NFL overtime, if the first team to possess the ball scores a touchdown after a 10 minute drive that expires the overtime period, what happens next?

Asked by Dallas1960 about 5 years ago

Everyone goes home. Unlike in college or high school OT, in the NFL both teams don't have to have a possession if the first score is a touchdown.

On Sunday the refs ruled the pass incomplete in the Bears/Eagles playoff game because there was "no clear recovery". If the refs had called it a catch & fumble - with no clear recovery - would the Bears have kept the ball at the 4 yard line?

Asked by Kaptain Kill about 5 years ago

Yeah, that was interesting. Even former NFL ref and now-rules expert Terry McCauley was thrown a bit and had to dig into the rule book and case book.

The NFL sometimes has very different rules from college and high school. I'm more familiar with the latter and if there's a loose ball - and no one recovers it - it belongs to the team last in possession. So in the case you describe, it would belong to the team that was on offense and made the catch.

And all those guys on defense who didn't jump on a loose ball would be fired!

Is it illegal to snatch the ball from them? For context I’m much faster than my friend, I ran in front of him and snatched the ball as I ran past and neither of us went down, I continued to make a touch down but they say it’s a foul, can you help?

Asked by Desmond about 5 years ago

Uuuuh, that's strange. Why didn't they just give you the ball.

I think what you're describing is forward handing. That is a foul since the ball was handed (or "snatched") forward. It's like a hand off by the receivers on a punt or kickoff The ball usually is handed to the player running behind, not to the player in front to avoid the penalty.

Our team kicks a pooch kickoff to the opposing team's 25. Kick bounces and our player reaches to recover, but hits the ball to R's 5 yard line. R recovers at the 5, but officials place ball at spot of K's touching (25). Is this correct?

Asked by Trevor over 5 years ago

You don't say whether this is a free kick or a scrimmage kick. If it's a scrimmage kick, the officials dd it right. Kickers can't touch a scrimmage kick that has crossed the line of scrimmage until it touches a receiver player. By touching it at the 25 you have first (high school) or illegal (NCAA) touching. That gives the ball to the receiving team at the spit of first touching. Possible additional fun: you say your player "hit" the ball from the 25 to the 5. That could be considered an illegal bat by the kickers.

If this is a free kick, your player could have recovered the untouched kick and it would be your ball at the spot of recovery -- of course, without an illegal bat.

What happens in OT in the NFL if the first team possesses the ball for the full 10 minutes and kicks a FG as time expires? The Rulebook insists both teams “must possess the ball” (at least once) but it never covers the scenario I described.

Asked by Jeff in Tampa over 5 years ago

Goid question, and you're correct up to where you may gave stopped reading. Rule 16 (OT) Sction 1, Article 4 (covering preseason and regular season) states: There shall be a maximum of one 10-minute period, even if the second team has not had an opportunity to possess the ball or if its initial possession has not ended. If the score is tied at the end of the period, the game shall end in a tie.

That sounds like it's over, but they seem to be saying the first team didn't score. But I'd go with, game over.

2 extra point questions:
After touchdown team decides to go for 2 points. T make it but incur holding penalty. Back 10 yards can they now chgange to 1 point kick??
2 - Decision to go for 2 but get up to line calls time out. can they now go for 1?

Asked by Bill Miller over 5 years ago

Yes and yes. A PAT is a scrimmage play and, as with any play from scrimmage, you can call any play you want. A PAT is a scrimmage kick and, as on a punt (another scrimmage kick) you can change your mind after s penalty.

In tonights game between dolphins and texans on the play at end of first half where Osweiler fumbled and Houston picked it up for a td, the ball went backwards so why not a backwards pass which is in play for defense to pick up and run into end zone?

Asked by Greg over 5 years ago

A fumble is a fumble, not a backwards pass. That being said, they're both still alive for a defensive score.

Was a false start always called a false start? Seems like some 20-30 yrs ago it was also called off sides no matter offensive or defensive.

Asked by Sugarmama over 5 years ago

Hmmm, history question! Honestly not sure. I've been doing this for over 30 years....there were those who might have mistakenly called ug offsides but it was always. as far as I recall, illegal procedure. That's a fslse start.

Interception in the opponents end zone. Player runs sideways with in the end zone. If tackled is it a safety and 2 points. He doesn’t kneel down.

Asked by Steve OB about 5 years ago

No. The offense put the ball in the endzone, so that can't be a safety. Now, if he left the endzone and then went back in - on his own - and then was tackled, yes, that's a safety, because the ball was put in the endzone by the defense.

Probably rare... Team A punts. Team B catches ball on their own 30, but there is a penalty (let's say holding at Team B's 25) which is behind where the catch was made.

Where is the enforcement spot of the penalty and where is the ball then placed

Asked by statman24 over 5 years ago

Not rare at all. You are describing a post scrimmage kick enforcement (PSK). Under PSK, if B - the receivers - commits a foul during the kick and they are the team to next put the ball in play, then PSK rules apply. So, in your situation, B holds behind where the kick ends (at the 30); the foul is administered from the spot of the hold at the 25. B 1/10 at the 15.

If a defensive player jumps over the line and gets back not heading towards the quarterback is the play blown dead? I have watched to different games. One game they blew every offside dead, but another game they left the play continue. What is right?

Asked by Nancy Tickler over 5 years ago

Depends what you're watching. In high school, the play us dead and defense offsides us enforced. In NCAA and NFL the defender can get back before the snap. There are times when even when the player isn't threatening the QB the play is stopped. Rule of thumb: if the defender is past the shoulder of an offensive player, they'll blow it dead.

Grif Whalen calls a fair catch. The ball hits his facemask and bounces up. While the ball is in the air, is the defender allowed to grab it?

Asked by Rick over 6 years ago

Yes. As long as he doesn't impede the rrceiver's opportunity to catch.

If a ball is live after 10 yards on a kickoff, why is it the referees blow their whistles when the ball bounces in the end zone and does not go out of bounds? Shouldn't it still be live?

Asked by Patrick A. Lopez over 5 years ago

Good question. In high school, no kick can be run out of the endzone. In college a grounded kick (one that has touched the ground) in the endzone, is also dead. If a receiver catches the ball in the endzone in college, it is still alive and can be run out.

On a screen pass, If the ball is caught behind the line of scrimmage, can you start blocking downfield before the ball is caught? Does it matter if pass is forward (not a lateral)?

Asked by Tom about 5 years ago

Blocking downfield seems to indicate you're looking at offensive pass interference. In college, pass interference only occurs when a legal forward pass crosses the line of scrimmage. If a pass is caught behind the line, it obviously hasn't crossed the line of scrimmage. If it's a backward pass (no such thing as a lateral) then it isn't forward and you can't have OPI.

Does the rulebook require cessation of play when the whistles begin blowing? Is there an explicit rulebook exception for when the ball is loose? What is the penalty for not stopping when the whistle blows, if in fact not stopping can be penalized?

Asked by James about 5 years ago

I can only imagine what happened that generated THIS question!

Lots here so one step at a time. The whistle blows, play is supposed to stop. In theory, the "play kills itself", meaning that even if a whistle didn't sound,if a player, for example, jumped on the pile, that is still a foul. "But I didn't hear a whistle!" says over-zealous player. You jumped on a pile of players!

You ask if there is an explicit rulebook exception for when the ball is loose; I'm guessing you mean what happens if the ball is loose - or not in possession, such as a pass in the air - and the whistle sounds. Yes, there is a rule for that. It is termed an "inadvertant whistle"; the official screwed up and, yes, I've done it. As have most officials, whether they admit to it or not. Depending on the result, different things happen. Too much to cover here.

Next, penalty for not stopping? Hmm, yes, but there's some judgmenf involved. Example A: player calls for a fair catch, whistle blows, he takes off. Technically, that is a delay of game. Careful throwing that one. The most obvious is Example B: Whistle blows and player continues to block or tackle. It could be a personal foul; not for not "stopping" but for the forceful action (contact) when it should be stopped.

A holds B on a scimmage kick at the line of scrimmage. Is the spot of enforcement where A recieves the scrimmage kick.

Asked by Jeffrey Kroupa over 5 years ago

First, minor correction: B receives the kick. The foul by A is a previous spot, meaning a rekick after penalty enforcement.

NFL game: Defense jumps offside. Whistle blows, 5-yard penalty is assessed.

Case One: Official says First Down. Can defense ask for a measurement?

Case Two: Official says Third Down. Can offense ask for a measurement?

Asked by James Francis about 5 years ago

You can request, but it can also be denied if it's obvious that it is - or isn't - the down you cite. Usually the first down is marked on a tick (hash) to simplify the process. You go, in essence, from line to line. A five yard penalty is clear and the next down is clear, too. In that way, you don't have to measure on every close situation.

On a running play that goes past the 1st down marker and then there is a hold where do you mark the penalty off from?

Asked by TheStripedOne over 5 years ago

As noted above, on a running play, a foul behind the basic spot (in this case the end of the run) is enforced from the spot of the foul. It may or may not be a first down. In the play above, there was a gain well beyond the line to gain, so in enforcing the foul, you had a first down. But if the hold was, say, only five yards beyond the line of scrimmage, that is from where the penalty is enforced. So if there was more than five yards to go, a ten yard penalty is an issue. Enforcing from five yards beyond takes it to five yards behind. No first down.

Why hasn't any quarter back worn tented visors so the MLB won't read his eyes?

Asked by Ken S over 5 years ago

At least in college, it is illegal. For safety reasons. A trainer needs to be able to see a player's eyes if they are hurt. If a helmet can't be removed (e.g. possible neck injury) the eyes will help determine consciousness.

What’s the difference between offside, encroachment, lined up in the neutral zone, and neutral zone infraction? I know they’re all five yard penalties so maybe it doesn’t matter, but I want to understand the game better.

Asked by TomN. about 5 years ago

These are all line if scrimmage fouls. In some cases your confusion may simply be the terminology the referee used in making the announcement.

Most of what you list are defensive fouls. If the offense lines up "in the neutral zone" the play never goes off, similar to a false start; often that's referred to as offside. If the defense lines up in the zone, that's the famous "free play " foul; the play goes off but it won't be adjudicated til thd play is over. It's also a "neutral zone infraction", similar to the defense jumping into the neutral zone before the snap. Aa s point of information, in college and NFL, defense offside/neutral zone/encroachment us a "live ball goul"; the play continues. In high school, the defense being offside shuts down the play.

What does it feal like to get booed?

Asked by Ron over 5 years ago

Pretty much the same way as when you misspell the word "feel".

why was docson flagged for taunting today

Asked by darrell over 5 years ago

Didnt see it. But he obviously said or did something that was considered unsportsman-like. You can't flaunt it in your opponent's face.

Is it illegal to fake a kneel for a "touchback" then run with it?

Asked by studentboigav almost 5 years ago


Could you tell me if there was a time when the team trailing at halftime received the 2nd half kickoff...if so, could you tell me what years this rule was in the books?

Asked by sirtop1963!!! about 5 years ago

I am not aware of that. I tried to do some research but couldn't come up with anything.

In youth football.
Team A wins a playoff game with a score of 21-14.
4 days later, the team they defeated (Team B) discovers that Team A scored during an illegal trick play. Should that game be replayed or should the final stand?

Asked by AWright over 5 years ago

That isn't a "football" question. It's either a league action to decide what to do and/or an ethhcs question. Lots to review - not here, though.

Question: Do you know where the money went that Bell gave up the last two weeks?
1. Steelers get to keep it for future players.
2. Back to the NFL.
3. Something else.

Asked by Renee over 5 years ago

Not a clue. That's not in my area of expertise.

I’ve been a HS football official for about 10 yrs now, I just started using reading glasses. I obviously don’t bring them to the field, but I am having issues seeing my score card and my watch!! Any suggestions

Asked by Dennis almost 5 years ago

Happens to us all. I needed glasses for distance since I was 17. Used to wear glasses on field but it wasn't so bad so I stopped. In my later years my reading needs are you. I go know a fellow official who brings a pair of "cheaters " on the field. Keros them in his shirt pocket to write on his game card. I squint. Have you tried progressives, or bifocals? You can wear glasses on the field. Not sure I've helped. Hey thing? Be comfortable on the field.

I’m trying to understand why the offensive line has to get set, but the d line can move?

Asked by Joe over 5 years ago

I really dont kni the absolute answer. Structure? Organization? To avoid chaos? I dont speak for those who wrote the rules, but if the offense could move constantly you'd have a very chaotic scene. When would the ball get snapped? How many could be on the line or in the backfield? You'd pretty much have rugby.

Is it legal for a QB to bob his head to get the Def to jump offsides?

Asked by Coach Bruce over 5 years ago

Hmmm. Maybe.....

An offensive player cannot simulate the start of the play, e.g. a lineman flinching or coming out of a three-point stance. In the normal course of yelling signals, a QB might move his head. Is that simulating the start of the play? Not necessarily. If a QB has bobbed his head throughout the game and no one has moved, we have nothing. But if late(r) in the game he suddenly changes his actions at a critical time (e.g. 3rd and two, driving for the go ahead score) in an attempt to draw the defense, then we have a foul.

Monday night football tonight had a player go in the end zone with the ball in the opposite side of the pile on i.e. Ball looks out of bounds but called touchdown. I thought the ball to cross the plane or be inside the pile on.

Asked by Louanne over 5 years ago

Didn't see the play but....

The ball must break the plane of the goal line....or the goal line extended. If the runner is completely inside the pylon when he crosses the goal, then the goal line is extended beyond the pylon and the plane is broken by the ball. Out there.

On 9/15/19 Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook got a penalty for blocking on Stephan Diggs touchdown catch before halftime. THe officials didnt throw a flag. It was during the touchdown review that the officials in New York called it. What?

Asked by Lonny Adkison over 4 years ago

Lots of stuff now can be adjusted via replay. It seems that the replay folks can initiate a penalty (usually an egregious oversight or miss) if it needs to be called. There are similar situations in the college ranks re: targeting, for example.

Today, Dec 23rd I watched a receiver catch a pass, his leading foot comes down in bounds and slides out of bounds as his second foot touches in bounds. Is this a catch or incomplete pass?

Asked by Hise about 5 years ago

Are you talking about the Steelers? I think I saw that one and I tilted my head on it when I first saw it..

From what you wrote I'm not sure that is physically possible - to hit with a foot and have that same foot slide out. And what you describe sounds incomplete - because the first foot is out of bounds when the second hits.

That being said, what I saw was the first foot still in as the second one touched.

If it is a penalty to push, tackle, or otherwise make unnecessary contact with a ball carrier who has gone out of bounds and the play has been declared dead or completed, then why is a penalty not called for the same reason when a touchdown is scored

Asked by Dale over 4 years ago

It is and it should be. But it is, to a degree, judgement. It may be far easier to say runner was going OOB so lay off. Running towards the EZ you're still trying to make a play.

Ref marks the ball in play after a long pass. Team wants to spike ball and kick FG. But not enough time. However first O player to line takes stance and fires out on def player. Penalty? Is that enough to stop clock so FG can be kicked?

Asked by Jay over 5 years ago

You put in a bunch of good stuff in this question. I have to make a few inferences. You say there isn't enough time [to spike and kick]. That likely means it is the end of a quarter. If it's the end of the second or fourth quarter, we have some special rules. First, if the clock is running (ref marked it ready so it is) and a penalty (the false start) causes the clock to stop, then the offended team (defense here) has the option of a ten second runoff. Here, you say there isn't enough time to spike it and then get your FG team on for a kick. With a ten second runoff, the period might be over. Also, in college, if there are less than three seconds left, you can't spike it and get another play in. Timing is everything.

Help with NCAA rule. Team A attempts a FG and the FG is blocked. There is an inadvertent whistle in scramble for ball. Defense recovers ball. Does Defense retain possession or does offense get to rekick? Our ruling - kicking team rekicked and won

Asked by Jason O almost 5 years ago

Loose ball - replay the down.

If a high school player has touretts syndrome and tics are there accommodations made for him as to illegal movement on offense or can he only play on the defensive side of the ball

Asked by BOB over 4 years ago

In all likelihood, that is a question to be decided by the state athletic association. If you play, the rules apply to you unless someone at a higher pay grade says otherwise.

Does a play have to be over in order to call timeout? For example, in last week’s MNF the Saints through a pass in the middle of the field and the down receiver was touched by a Texan ending play. Could Texan not touched and run out clock?

Asked by Larry over 4 years ago

I'm not sure what the touching of a player has to do with this. Yes, a play has to end in order to call time out. If a player isn't touched - downing him in the NFL - but he doesn't get up, he's in essence giving himself - and the play - up (like a QB sliding). So, not specifically knowing the NFL philosophy, the play has ended if the receiver doesn't get up and the Saints could call TO as soon as the officials blow it dead.

If a High School QB is hiked the ball in his own end-zone, scrambles out to the one yard line, and is then sacked in the end-zone, is it a safety?

Asked by EJ over 4 years ago

There are a few moving parts in your question. You say he gets out to the one; if he is stopped there and pushed back, then the QB gets forward progress at the one. No safety. If he gets out to the one and the returns on his own to the endzone and then is tackled, he put himself there. That's a safety.

Is it a penalty when a ball carrier pushes one of his offensive players into a defender?

Asked by Lance T Morgan almost 5 years ago

No. Even if the pushed player ends up "blocking" a defender in the back, it isn't a foul.

Do ever try and sabotage a team out of bias?

Asked by Ricky over 4 years ago

Well, Ricky, I was going to be snarky and say something appropriately mean spirited, but I decided to just answer the question.


Extra Point try, defense flagged for personal foul/roughing kicker. Half distance. Offense decided to go for 2 instead of re-kick. On ensuing kick, ref applied the 15 yard penalty from the roughing call. Isn't penalizing twice for the same call?

Asked by Paul E Miller over 4 years ago

I think they erred on that enforcement. They got the yardage on the PAT in order to go for two. There should not have been yardage on the KO.