Updated: 1:15 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 23, 2009 | Posted: 11:21 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 22, 2009
Ever wonder what each official does during a game? Here’s a list of where each official stands and what their duties include:
Definition: The referee is the official in the white hat who has control of the game and is generally the final authority in all decisions.
Duties: Announce all penalties; explain penalties to the offending team’s captain; making sure the offense has no more than 11 men on the field; explain penalties to the head coach of the offending team and inform him of who it was called against; position himself in the backfield, approximately 10 yards behind the quarterback, before each snap; monitor illegal hits on the quarterback, place-kick holder, place-kicker and punter; watch for illegal blocks near the quarterback; determine whether the yardage chains should be brought on the field for a measurement.
Definition: The umpire is the official that lines up approximately 5 yards off the line of scrimmage on the defensive side of the ball.
Duties: Checking the legality of the players’ equipment; making sure the offense has no more than 11 men on the field; monitor the legality of play on the line of scrimmage with a special emphasis on offensive holding and illegal linemen down field; makes sure there are five offensive linemen numbered 50 through 79 on every play; assist the referee on decisions involving possession of the ball; record all timeouts; record all scores; record the winner of the coin toss; wipes the ball dry between plays on rainy days.
Definition: The official who sets up 20 yards deep in the defensive backfield on the strong side of the field.
Duties: Make sure the defensive team has no more than 11 players on the field; watches receivers running to the deep part of the field; watch the area between the umpire and line judge; rule on the legality of catches and pass interference penalties; watch for clipping on kick returns; on field goals, stands under the goalpost and rules on whether the kick is good; responsible for fair catch calls on punts; responsible for timing 25-second clock and timeouts.
Definition: The head linesman is the official that sets up straddling the line of scrimmage on the sideline, opposite the press box.
Duties: Watch for line of scrimmage violations like offsides and encroachment; rules on all out-of-bounds plays on his side of the field; keeps tabs on the chain crew; mark the chain to a yard marker on the field as a reference point for a measurement on the field; marks a player’s forward progress after a play is whistled dead; keeps track of all eligible receivers on his side of the field; watches for illegal motion, illegal shifts, illegal use of hands, illegal men downfield; responsible for the line to gain on the field; responsible for sideline administration.
Definition: The line judge is the official that sets up straddling the line of scrimmage on the sideline on the press box side.
Duties: Watch for line of scrimmage violations like offsides and encroachment; rules on all out-of-bounds plays on his side of the field; marks a player’s forward progress after a play is whistled dead; keeps track of all eligible receivers on his side of the field; watches for illegal motion, illegal shifts, illegal use of hands, illegal men downfield; responsible for sideline administration and the game clock.
Source: About.com Football glossary
After 29 years of officiating, John Pickarski has heard it all when it comes to calls the officials should’ve made. Here are four high school rules fans misinterpret all the time, according to Pickarski:
1. Offensive/defensive pass interference. “People think there’s no pass interference if there’s an uncatchable ball. According to the (National Federation of High School Sports) rulebook, there’s no such thing as an uncatchable pass. There is such an animal in the NCAA and NFL rules.”
2. Intentional grounding by the quarterback. “The first thing people will say is ‘He was outside the tackle box.’ There is no such rule in high school football, but there is an in the NCAA and the pros.”
3. Encroachment on the defense. “People will turn around and say ‘He got back on time.’ That’s an NCAA and NFL rule. Once the (defensive) plane is broken, (the play) is shut down. It never gets started.”
4. Touchbacks. “Any time a kicked ball passes the plane into the end zone, it’s a touchback. People will ‘Why didn’t he bring it out?’ They can’t do it.”