Football Officials,

Next meeting is next Wednesday 9/20/23 at Jon Davis Wrestling Center in Edwardsville. 

Winners to the quiz questions were Brian Jackson, Jeff Harris, and Justin Royer. I’m hoping to have a training tape out this week along with another quiz with the winners to be drawn at the meeting on Wednesday.

 What is the old saying … be careful what you wish or ask for! I have received a number of actual/ interesting plays for this week’s newsletter. The plays below actually occurred this past week during game situations, not all of them in Illinois. NOTE: You should note no crew names or game sites are listed. These situations below are for all of us to learn from. Crew names and games sites will never be listed in this newsletter.

Play #1: Field Goal Attempt

It is third down at B’s 2-yard line when Team A lines up to attempt a field goal with 12 seconds remaining in the game and they trail by 2 points. The field goal attempt is blocked behind the line-of-scrimmage and rolls out of bounds at B’s 20-yard line. Try to correctly answer this play without first going to your rule book. You obviously won’t have your rule book in your back pocket during the game. What is the result of this play?ANSWER: Team B’s ball. Rule 5-3-1e, p.53 states, “When a scrimmage down ends with the ball in the field of play or out of bounds between the goal lines, a new series is awarded to: R, if K legally kicks during any scrimmage down and the ball is recovered by R, is in joint possession of opponents, goes out of bounds or becomes dead with no player in possession.” The result of this play is first and 10 for Team B at the 20 yardline. This rule applies to free and scrimmage kicks.

Play #2: Dead-Ball Foul, Time has Expired

During the last play of the first half A22 who is running down the sideline, steps out of bounds after time has expired. B44 clearly hits A22 after the whistle has blown and he is out of bounds. The covering official throws his flag for the late hit. Is the late hit penalty enforced as an untimed down or does the penalty carry over to the second half. Does Team A have a choice as to when the penalty will be administered? How do you rule on this play?ANSWER: Rule 3-3-6 p.44, states, “If a dead-ball foul occurs after time has expired for any period, the penalty shall be measured from the succeeding spot unless 8-2-5 applies (does not apply here as a touchdown was not scored). Team A does not have a choice as to extending the period or not. The penalty is to be measured from the succeeding spot. The succeeding spot could be the subsequent kickoff or the start of the overtime period. Should the last timed down of a period and enforcement of an accepted penalty result in a safety, the period is not extended for the ensuing free kick. The teams will change goals and the free kick is the first play of the next period (3-3-4b(5) p.44.

Play #3: Equipment Rule

During the second period Team A comes out to attempt an extra point by a kick. Before the ready signal is given (the play clock is not yet running) the referee notices the holder’s pants do not cover his knees. The referee holds up play for approximately 15 seconds while the holder pulls his pants down to cover his knees (the holder had rolled his knee pads up under his pants). Was this play handled properly, or should the referee have flagged Team A for not being properly equipped as the Head Coach stated in his pre-game meeting with the referee?
ANSWER: Rule 1-5-4 p.25 states, Prior to the start of the game, the head coach shall be responsible for verifying to the referee and another game official that all of his players are legally equipped in compliance with these rules and will use no illegal equipment.” Rule 1-5-5 p.25 states, when any required equipment is missing or worn improperly, an official’s time-out shall be declared. If the missing or improperly worn during dead-ball action … or otherwise wearing legal equipment illegally, the player shall be replaced for at least one down, unless halftime intermission occurs.” Rule 3-5-10e p.47 states, “ An Officials time-out occurs, and the player shall be replaced for at least one down, unless halftime occurs or an overtime period occurs: Any required player equipment is missing or improperly worn.” QUESTION: Should the coach have been penalized for having a player enter the game not properly equipped, or do we handle this as a piece of equipment that can be corrected within 25 seconds?

Play #4: Momentum Rule
Team A has the ball 2nd and goal from their eight yardline. A1 pass is intercepted at the 2-yard line by B22. B22 momentum (8-5-2 Exception) carries him into his end zone. B22 attempts to run the ball out of the end zone, but is hit by fumbling the ball into the field of play. Both teams attempt to secure the ball at the one yard line where it is forced back into the end zone and is recovered by Team B. What is the result of this play:Answer: The momentum rule does not apply to this play as B22 fumbled the ball back into the field of play and is responsible for the new force. Once B22 fumbles the ball into the field of play, Team B loses the opportunity to have the momentum rule applied, which would have had the ball placed at the 2-yard line. Had B22 been tackled in the end zone, or simply taken a knee, the result of the play would have been first and 10 from the 2-yard line. When Team B recovered the ball in their end zone it resulted in a safety. Wing officials and the back judge must be alert to this type of action when near the goal line in order to properly rule on this play. A bean bag should be dropped inside of the 5-yard line to demonstrate change of possession and to assist with proper spotting of the momentum rule. Two good plays to review are in the casebook: 8.5.2 Situation F, p.72 and 8.5.2 Situation H, p.73.

Kickoff Mechanic Situation:On the opening kickoff during a recent game, the crew had a situation where the two officials who were handling the kicking and receiving teams lined up on the same side of the field (chain side in this case). They both noticed the error, but took no steps to get lined up correctly. Since the play had not started and the ready-for-play whistle had not been given (even if it had) one of the officials should have sounded his whistle to correct the situation, which did not happen. Of course Murphy’s Law kicked in and the ball was pooch kicked to the open side of the field where there was no coverage. When you find yourself in a situation like this, or for that matter any situation during a game and you have time to correct it, blow your whistle and get lined up properly. It is better to be correctly lined up so as not to miss a call that could affect the outcome of the game. We all have missed a call or messed up in some way during a game. We do not want to mess up, but it sometimes happens. This is why you must work together as a crew. In this situation there was time to correct the obvious, and it did not happen! This was obviously not the best way to start your game!


The game situations listed above demonstrate the need for ALL members of the crew to know the rules and to use proper mechanics. As a crew member you should come forward if you believe a call is being misapplied. Our goal is simply to get the call and enforcement correct. Don’t come in at halftime or the end of the game and state the call was handled incorrectly. MAKE THE ENTIRE CREW LOOK GOOD – GET IT RIGHT, and don’t rely on one or two crew members to know all the rules and mechanic procedures to carry the crew. The game continues to evolve and we as officials must do the same. Studying the rules is a good step towards improving your game and getting better.As always, have a great game this week ,and please forward your rule and mechanic questions to me for the newsletter.