5 Man Mechanics Manual

5 Man Mechanics
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COIN TOSS PROCEDURES

  1. The REFEREE and UMPIRE only will meet with the captains at the center of the field for the coin toss.

  2. LINE JUDGE escorts captains from press box side to the top of the numbers /nine-yard marks.

  3. BACK JUDGE and HEAD LINESMAN escort captains from chains side to the top of the numbers /nine-yard marks. The captains will continue to the middle of the field, and the BACK JUDGE, HEAD LINESMAN, and LINE JUDGE will remain at the top of the numbers / nine-yard marks. The LINE JUDGE and BACK JUDGE will have a legal ball for their respective team.

  4. LINE JUDGE, BACK JUDGE, and HEAD LINESMAN make certain your team is either in their respective team box or in their end zone during the coin toss.

  5. REFEREE instructs captains. Visiting captains will call the coin toss. The visiting captain is required to indicate heads or tails prior to the toss of the coin.

  6. Once both teams have made the choices, move the captains so their backs are to the goal they’re defending. The REFEREE will indicate winning captains and choice or option deferred.  If the captain’s choice is to defer, the REFEREE will give the proper signal (signal #10) then move to the other captains and give the signal for the appropriate choice.

  7. After the toss, all officials will meet in the middle of the field, record results, then jog to their specific kickoff positions.

QUARTER

REFEREE and UMPIRE

  1. Be aware of the last minute of play. If the ball is not in play when the clock runs out, step in to prevent the snap

  2. Announce the end of the quarter by holding the ball overhead, record the down and distance and release the HEAD LINESMAN

  3. Jog to the new spot on the opposite side of the field and spot the ball

  4. Check to make certain the down, distance, and yard line is correct

  5. When officials are ready, and the BACK JUDGE indicates the intermission is over, declare the ball ready for play

HEAD LINESMAN

  1. Prepare the chains to move to the new location on the REFEREE’S Make certain the clip is located appropriately on the nearest yard line, and take note

  2. Grab the clip and chain at the same time, reverse the chain crew, jog to the new position and place the chain on the new spot

  3. Place your heel at the front of the ball for the down box

LINE JUDGE

Prepare to go to the spot where the ball should be put into play at the start of the next quarter

BACK JUDGE

  1. Time the one-minute intermission and notify REFEREE when 55 seconds have elapsed.

  2. Stay between the teams to show presence as you move to the new spot

HALFTIME

ALL OFFICIALS

Will meet away from teams, coaches, and fans to review the first half

REFEREE

As soon as teams leave the field, look at the timer and wind to start the half-time clock

HEAD LINESMAN and LINE JUDGE

  1. Extend a 5-minute courtesy call to each team

  2. Confer with the coach who has the second-half decision on which way they would like to kick the ball. Do this as they either leave the field or when you provide the 5-minute courtesy call

  3. Provide the information to fellow officials during the mandatory three-minute warm-up period or before the crew leaves for the appropriate kick-off positions

BACK JUDGE

Keep the unofficial halftime clock for the crew

FREE KICK MECHANICS – 5-MAN

PRE-KICK MECHANICS

ALL OFFICIALS

HUSTLE TO POSITION!

REFEREE

  1. Take position at the goal line on the sideline opposite Press Box.

  2. Count the receiving team (use eyes, not fingers). Signal accordingly for less than/greater than/equal to 11 players.

  3. Signal UMPIRE to confirm count by extending your arm with a closed fist.

  4. Upon a ready signal from BACK JUDGE, if the receiving team is in position, blow the ready-for-play whistle.

  5. On anticipated short free kicks, move to a position in the middle of the field. May cheat-up if possible.

  6. On a free-kick following a safety, take position five-yards deeper than the receiver(s) but not further from the goal line than the 20-yard line

UMPIRE

  1. Take position at the goal line on the Press Box sideline

  2. Count the receiving team (use eyes, not fingers). Signal accordingly for less than/greater than/equal to 11 players

  3. Signal REFEREE to confirm count by extending your arm with a closed fist

  4. Signal ready when BACK JUDGE goes up with ready signal. Be ready before the whistle

  5. On anticipated short free kicks, move to a position on the receiving team’s restraining line on the sideline. Hold bean bag in hand. Anticipate first touching

  6. On a free-kick following a safety, take position five-yards deeper than the receiver(s) but not further from the goal line than the 20-yard line

HEAD Linesman

  1. Go to your position on the receiving team’s restraining line at the sideline. Have your team on the field within one minute following a score
  2. Count the receiving team (use eyes, not fingers). Signal accordingly for less than/greater than/or equal to 11 players
  3. Hold bean bag in hand. Anticipate first touching
  4. Provide ready signal only when the count is correct, receiving team is in position, sideline is clear, you are ready, and the BACK JUDGE signals he is ready. Be ready before the whistle

LINE JUDGE

  1. Go to your position on the kicking team’s restraining line at the sideline. Have your team on the field within one minute following a score.

  2. Count the kicking team (use eyes, not fingers). Signal accordingly for less than/greater than/or equal to 11 players. Confirm with BACK JUDGE.

  3. Hold bean bag in hand. Anticipate first touching.

  4. Provide ready signal only when the count is correct, kicking team is in position, sideline is clear, you are ready, and the BACK JUDGE signals he is ready. Be ready before the whistle

BACK JUDGE

  1. Time the one-minute intermission following a score. Alert LINE JUDGE and HEAD LINESMAN after 45 seconds. Make certain the ball is inflated properly, has “pebble grain” and white stripes

  2. Count the kicking team (use eyes, not fingers). Confirm with LINE JUDGE

  3. Give kicker the ball and tell him not to kick until the REFEREE blows his whistle

  4. Signal ready to the LINE JUDGE and HEAD LINESMAN, who will then raise arm for a ready signal. Upon a ready signal from LINE JUDGE and HEAD LINESMAN, provide a ready signal to REFEREE. Be in a ready position, away from the ball, before you provide the ready signal (K may be in the huddle when you signal). Hold bean bag in hand. Anticipate first touching

  5. On anticipated short free kicks, the BACK JUDGE will move to Ks restraining line on the HEAD LINESMAN side of the field

FREE KICK FOLLOWING A FAIR CATCH

REFEREE – Position with the kicker.

UMPIRE – Position on the receiving team’s restraining line.

HEAD LINESMAN – Position on the kicking team’s restraining line.

LINE JUDGE – Position under the goal post on your side of the field.

BACK JUDGE – Position under the goal post opposite the LINE JUDGE.

FREE-KICK MECHANICS

REFEREE

  1. Identify your keys, the nearest receivers
  2. Consider your areas of protection; goal line and sidelineQuickly check the direction of the ball (short, long, left, or right). If it is a short kick, move up and provide dead-ball support. On a kick out of bounds, move toward the out-of-bounds spot and throw your flag if in your zone. If kicked out of bounds in the air, look to the BACK JUDGE for the spot
  3. When the ball is touched in your coverage area, start the clock (two winds)
  4. On a kick to your side, officiate from the goal line and assume coverage of the ball carrier to about the R30. You have progress if the runner is downed.
  5. On a kick to the opposite side, move up 5 yards ahead of the receiver and watch for blocking around the receiver. On the return, watch blocking and look for illegal acts. Mirror the UMPIRE at the dead-ball spot (R30 or less). Use cross-field mechanics where appropriate.
  6. When the kick breaks the goal line plane (touched or untouched), signal touchback.
  7. When the runner is downed in your coverage zone, stop the clock. Duplicate other official’s signals if a play does not end in your coverage zone. Place the ball at your feet and wait for the HEAD LINESMAN to relieve you

UMPIRE

  1. Identify your keys, the nearest receivers
  2. Consider your areas of protection; goal line and sideline
  3. Quickly check the direction of the ball (short, long, left, or right). If it is a short kick, move up and provide dead-ball support. On a kick out of bounds, move toward the out-of-bounds spot and throw your flag if in your zone. If kicked out of bounds in the air, look to the BACK JUDGE for the spot
  4. When the ball is touched in your coverage area, start the clock (two winds)
  5. On a kick to your side, officiate from the goal line and assume coverage of the ball carrier to about the R30. You have progress if the runner is downed
  6. On a kick to the opposite side, move up 5 yards ahead of the receiver and watch for blocking around the receiver. On the return, watch blocking and look for illegal acts. Mirror the REFEREE at the dead-ball spot (R30 or less). Use cross-field mechanics where appropriate
  7. When the kick breaks the goal line plane (touched or untouched), signal touchback
  8. When the runner is downed in your coverage zone, stop the clock. Duplicate other official’s signals if a play does not end in your coverage zone. Place the ball at your feet and wait for the LINE JUDGE to relieve you. Move to the succeeding spot and spot the incoming ball
  9. On anticipated short free kicks (during onside kick), when the ball is kicked to your side of the field, you have primary responsibility for the ball. Be prepared to rule on whether the ball has advanced beyond R’s restraining line and possession at the end of the play
  10. On anticipated short free kicks, when the ball is kicked away, take a wide view and prepare to assist on whether the ball has advanced beyond R’s restraining line. Be aware of backside blocks

HEAD LINESMAN

  1. Identify your keys, the nearest four players of the kicking team
  2. Watch the receiver’s restraining line for encroachment by receiving team
  3. Quickly check the direction of the ball (short, long, left, or right). If it is a short kick, look for first touching by kicking team and use your bean bag as needed. On a kick out of bounds, throw the flag to the out-of-bounds spot. If the team on your sideline is the offended team, get the enforcement choice from the coach and advise the REFEREE
  4. Drift to the R40 watching play in front of the runner. Assume coverage of the runner and determine progress after the runner reaches the R30. You have progress to the goal line
  5. On plays to the opposite side, mirror LINE JUDGE movement downfield. With wide vision, watch blocking and look for illegal acts. Use cross-field mechanics where appropriate
  6. When the runner is downed in your coverage zone, stop the clock. Place the ball at your feet until the incoming ball is spotted. Duplicate other official’s signals if a play does not end in your coverage zone
  7. On anticipated short free kicks (during onside kick), when the ball is kicked to your side of the field, you have primary responsibility for the ball. Be prepared to rule on whether the ball has advanced beyond R’s restraining line and possession at the end of the play
  8. On anticipated short free kicks, when the ball is kicked away, take a wide view and assist with backside blocks

LINE JUDGE

  1. Identify your keys, the nearest four players of the kicking team
  2. Watch the kicker’s restraining line for encroachment by the kicking team
  3. Quickly check the direction of the ball (short, long, left, or right). If it is a short kick, look for first touching by kicking team and use your bean bag as needed. On a kick out of bounds, throw the flag to the out-of-bounds spot. If the team on your sideline is the offended team, get the enforcement choice from the coach and advise the REFEREE
  4. Drift to the R40 watching play in front of the runner. Assume coverage of the runner and determine progress after the runner reaches the R30. You have progress to the goal line
  5. On plays to the opposite side, mirror HEAD LINESMAN movement down the field. With wide vision, watch blocking and look for illegal acts. Use cross-field mechanics where appropriate
  6. When the runner is down in your coverage zone, stop the clock. Place the ball at your feet until the incoming ball is spotted. Duplicate other official’s signals if a play does not end in your coverage zone
  7. On anticipated short free kicks (during onside kick), when the ball is kicked to your side of the field, you are responsible for blocks around the ball. Be aware of blocks by K before the ball advances beyond R’s restraining line
  8. On anticipated short free kicks, when the ball is kicked away, take a wide view and prepare to assist on whether the ball has advanced beyond R’s restraining line. Be aware of backside blocks

BACK JUDGE

  1. Identify your keys, the middle three players of the kicking team
  2. Watch the action of the kick. Was it kicked into the air, or did it bounce off the ground?
  3. Quickly check the direction of the ball (short, long, left, or right). If it is a short kick, look for first touching by kicking team and use your bean bag as needed. Also, be aware of subsequent first touching spots. On kicks out of bounds in the air, line up sideline official at the out-of-bounds spot. If the ball is re-kicked after a foul, you are responsible for signal and penalty enforcement
  4. Observe action on the kicker and watch the middle three players of the kicking team moving down the field: cover blocking and other action on and by your keys. As the runner nears, assume coverage in front of the ball carrier. Be on the goal line before the runner. Maintain an inside-out view of the action around the ball carrier
  5. Flank officials have progress to the goal line
  6. On anticipated short free kicks (during onside kick), when the ball is kicked to your side of the field, you are responsible for blocks around the ball. Be aware of blocks by K before the ball advances beyond R’s restraining line
  7. On anticipated short free kicks, when the ball is kicked away, take a wide view and assist with backside blocks

POINTS OF EMPHASIS

REFEREE and UMPIRE

  1. Touchback and kick out of bounds

  2. Fair catch, including illegal signal

  3. Knee on the ground on catch

  4. Forward handing during return

  5. Batting

  6. Blocking below the waist and clipping

  7. Interlocked interference

  8. Action on the wedge when coming towards you

  9. Continuing action dead ball action out of bounds

  10. Momentum exception

  11. Short free-kick support

BACK JUDGE, LINE JUDGE, HEAD LINESMAN

  1. Short free-kick

  2. First touching (subsequent first touches) – USE BEAN BAG

  3. Starting-stopping the clock

  4. Blocking below the waist and clipping

  5. Legal substitutions

  6. Kick catch interference and fair catch interference

  7. Knee on the ground on catch

  8. Forward handing, illegal forward pass

  9. Batting

  10. Interlocked interference and illegal blocking

  11. Continuing action out of bounds

  12. Players going out of bounds during a kick

FREE KICK COVERAGE MECHANICS

ALL OFFICIALS

Keep play and runner boxed in and sidelines covered at all times.

RETURNS DOWN THE CENTER OF THE FIELD

  1. REFEREE and UMPIRE – Keep the runner boxed in between you. View the action immediately around the runner.

  2. HEAD LINESMAN and LINE JUDGE – Cover the secondary areas and view blocking and other illegal activity.

  3. BACK JUDGE – Responsible for the goal-line, action in front of the runner, inside-out coverage on the runner to the goal-line.

RETURNS INTO THE REFEREE / HEAD LINESMAN SIDE ZONE

  1. UMPIRE will cover behind and to the side of the runner, keeping a distance to view activity by other players not around the play

  2. HEAD LINESMAN and REFEREE are responsible for the runner and action immediately surrounding the runner

  3. HEAD LINESMAN and BACK JUDGE will cover the action in front of the runner, viewing blocking and other illegal activity

RETURNS INTO THE UMPIRE / LINE JUDGE SIDE ZONE

  1. REFEREE will cover behind and to the side of the runner, keeping a distance to view activity by other players not around the play

  2. LINE JUDGE and UMPIRE are responsible for the runner and action immediately surrounding the runner

  3. LINE JUDGE and BACK JUDGE will cover the action in front of the runner, viewing blocking and other illegal activity

POINTS OF EMPHASIS

  1. The closest official to the runner has the responsibility to declare the ball dead if and when the runner is tackled or downed

  2. There should always be three officials covering the secondary areas away from the ball carrier

  3. All officials should dead ball officiate after the play

  4. All officials will hustle and efficiently prepare for the start of the next series

SCRIMMAGE PLAY MECHANICS – 5-MAN

PRE-SNAP MECHANICS

ALL OFFICIALS

  1. HUSTLE and assist in obtaining the ball/a new ball for spotting

  2. Note status of the clock (running/stopped)

  3. Note down, distance, and game situation

  4. Back into position, keeping a wide view of all players and dead ball action

REFEREE

  1. Signal up coming down to HEAD LINESMAN and then to rest of the crew

  2. Make visual contact with all officials to determine if they are ready, verify the BACK JUDGE is ready to start the 25-second play clock

  3. Indicate “Ready for Play” with a short whistle and hack or long whistle and wind (two times). Be sure to stay in view of the press box when giving the signal

  4. Assume a position about 12 yards behind the neutral zone and outside the tackle on the quarterback’s throwing arm side. For 2017, as a one-year pilot, all referees will be allowed to stay on the QB’s right side, even if the QB is left-handed.  This pilot received mixed reviews and the committee feels expanding the pilot to all referees will provide additional feedback to the committee

  5. Count Team A players (in the huddle, if possible) and signal to UMPIRE

  6. Identify formation and observe initial keys: QB hard count with head bob and false starts

UMPIRE

  1. Retrieve the ball from the runner or obtain a new ball from another official or ball boy. Hustle outside the inbounds marks as needed to assist in retrieving the ball and spotting it

  2. After REFEREE signals next down, signal next down

  3. If team A is in a hurry-up offense, stay at the ball until signaled off by the REFEREE. Otherwise, after the “ready-for-play” whistle, back away from the ball to your pre-snap position while keeping the ball in sight

  4. Count Team A players and confirm with REFEREE when team A breaks the huddle

  5. Count Team A players numbered 50-79. Know ineligibles

  6. Assume a ready position 5-7 yards beyond the neutral zone, typically opposite the tight end side of the offensive formation

  7. Identify and observe your initial keys, (a) snap, and (b) center, and (c) guard(s).

HEAD LINESMAN

  1. Signal up coming down and confirm with BACK JUDGE and LINE JUDGE.

  2. Once the next down is confirmed with the REFEREE, move box/chains as necessary for the correct down and distance

  3. Assume a position straddling the neutral zone, outside the sideline opposite the LINE JUDGE

  4. Be prepared to indicate team A line to team A wide receiver with your downfield foot

  5. Identify formation and signal status of eligible receivers on your side of the snapper

  6. Use the prescribed Line of Scrimmage signals on all scrimmage plays

  7. Know eligible receivers on your side of snapper and identify your initial keys. Know your eligible receivers

  8. Motion – if the motion man is going away from you, have primary responsibility for knowing if the motion is legal or illegal. If motion man is coming to your side and motion is forward, call it if you see it

LINE JUDGE

  1. Signal up coming down and confirm with HEAD LINESMAN and BACK JUDGE

  2. Communicate with the REFEREE if necessary to indicate the status of the game clock (on the ready with wind signal at waste or, on the snap with arms crossed at the chest)

  3. Assume a position straddling the neutral zone, outside the sideline opposite the HEAD LINESMAN. If directed by a signal from the REFEREE in a “Hail Mary” situation, the LINE JUDGE may establish his position at the goal line or up to 15 yards downfield in anticipation of a last-second desperation play

  4. Count Team B players, confirm count with BACK JUDGE when Team A breaks the huddle

  5. Be prepared to indicate team A line to team A wide receiver with your downfield foot

  6. Identify formation and signal status of eligible receivers on your side of the snapper

  7. Use the prescribed Line of Scrimmage signals on all scrimmage plays

  8. Know eligible receivers on your side of snapper and identify your initial keys. Know your eligible receivers

  9. Motion – if the motion man is going away from you, have primary responsibility for knowing if the motion is legal or illegal. If motion man is coming to your side and motion is forward, call it if you see it

BACK JUDGE

  1. Signal up coming down and confirm with HEAD LINESMAN and LINE JUDGE

  2. Communicate with the REFEREE if necessary to indicate the status of the game clock (on the ready with wind signal at waste or, on the snap with arms crossed at the chest)

  3. Time 25-second play clock from REFEREE’s ready for play and provide a raised arm for the final 5 seconds

  4. Assume ready position 20-25 yards beyond the neutral zone, between the inbounds marks and shading the wide side of the field

  5. Count Team B players, confirm count with LINE JUDGE when Team A breaks the huddle

  6. Identify all eligible receivers and formation, know your keys and strong side of the formation

RUN MECHANICS – 5-MAN

RESPONSIBILITIES AT THE SNAP

ALL OFFICIALS

  1. Concentrate on your area of responsibility. “Fish in your own pond.”

  2. Verify no false starts or encroachment, legal snap (except BACK JUDGE)

REFEREE

  1. Observe the snap, then read the action of the Quarterback, Backs, and Lineman to determine the type of play

  2. Allow your reads to help you identify the point of attack while maintaining primary responsibility for action on and by the quarterback

UMPIRE

  1. Observe the snap, then read run/pass by observing the block(s) by the guard(s) or center (block down, cross block, pass block, pulling, reach block, etc.)

  2. Allow your reads to help you identify the point of attack

HEAD LINESMAN

  1. Observe the snap, then momentarily read run/pass by observing the block by the near tackle (block toward, pass block, pull, etc.)

  2. Locate the ball and the point of attack but do not focus on it

  3. On plays beginning at or within the five-yard line, going into the end zone, move to the goal line, and officiate back to the line of scrimmage

  4. On plays beginning at or within the three-yard line, going out of the end zone, move back to the goal line and officiate forward to the line of scrimmage

LINE JUDGE

  1. Observe the snap, then momentarily read run/pass by observing the block by the near tackle (block toward, pass block, pull, etc.)

  2. Locate the ball and the point of attack but do not focus on it

  3. On plays beginning at or within the five-yard line, going into the end zone, move to the goal line, and officiate back to the line of scrimmage

  4. On plays beginning at or within the three-yard line, going out of the end zone, move back to the goal line and officiate forward to the line of scrimmage

BACK JUDGE

Observe action on the tight end

RESPONSIBILITIES AFTER THE SNAP

ALL OFFICIALS

  1. Know when you have responsibility for the runner and progress and when you have responsibility for action away from the ball

  2. Maintain separation from the players and other officials and keep a wide view, even when you have responsibility for the runner and progress

REFEREE

  1. After determining the point of attack, shift your focus to the appropriate run zone. Know where the runner is, but he should not be your focus once he is beyond the line of scrimmage

a) If the point of attack is toward you, you have responsibility for the legality of blocks in Zone 2

b) If the point of attack is away from you, you have responsibility for the legality of blocks in Zone 3

c) If the point of attack is up the middle, you and the umpire both have responsibility for the legality of blocks in Zone 2

d) If the point of attack is outside the inbounds marks, move to that side while maintaining your view of the action behind and around the runner

e) If the point of attack is between the inbounds marks, box in from the rear, again focusing on blocks behind at the point of attack and around the runner

  1. After the runner is down, maintain a wide view of the dead ball action. If the play ends out of bounds, hustle to the sideline and ensure players separate and return inbounds. Assist with getting the ball to the UMPIRE

  2. If the ball is dead between the inbounds marks, hustle to that spot while keeping your head up to observe the action around the pile. Assist the UMPIRE

UMPIRE

  1. After determining that the center and guards' initial blocks are legal and determining the point of attack, shift your focus to the appropriate Run Zone. Know where the runner is, but he should not be your focus

a) If the point of attack is away from you, you have responsibility for judging the legality of blocks in Zone 3

b) If the point of attack is toward you, you have responsibility for judging the legality of blocks in Zone 2

c) If the point of attack is up the middle, you and the referee both have responsibility for judging the legality of blocks in Zone 2.

2. If the ball is dead outside the inbounds marks, hustle to the dead ball spot while maintaining a wide view of the dead ball action. The umpire must go outside the inbounds marks to assist in retrieving the ball and spotting it

3. If the ball is dead between the inbounds marks, hustle to that spot while keeping your head up to observe the action around the pile

4. You are responsible for maintaining control around the pile. Talk to players as they un-pile, encouraging them to do so in a sportsmanlike manner

5. Communicate to the flank officials with “I’VE GOT BALL” on a goal line play if the flank officials look for assistance and you are certain the ball is across the goal line and in possession

LINE JUDGE and HEAD LINESMAN

  1. After reading the block of the near tackle, momentarily locate the point of attack and the runner

  2. You always have the progress spot until the runner crosses the goal line. This includes an accurate spot when the runner goes out of bounds

  3. On plays within the 10-yard line, if a play threatens the goal line, be prepared to be at the goal line to make the appropriate call

  4. If the point of attack is away from you, you have responsibility for judging the legality of blocks and action in Zone 4, maintain a wide view of the action while paralleling the progress spot, observing player conduct away from the play

  5. If the point of attack is toward you, you have responsibility for judging the legality of blocks in Zone 1; observe blocks in front of the runner until you take over responsibility for the runner at the line of scrimmage. If the runner is headed toward your sideline, allow the play to go past you (move into the offensive backfield, if necessary), then trail the play. If the runner crosses the sideline, hustle to the spot and mark progress. Signal timeout while observing the out-of-bounds dead ball action. Do not look at the ground. If the runner crosses the goal line and continues out of bounds, signal touchdown while observing all dead ball action

  6. After the ball is dead, close to the dead-ball spot, you must move into the field on every play (unless safety prohibits) to show presence until the colors separate. Do not pass players and do not close beyond the near inbounds mark unless:

a) The line to gain is threatened

b) The goal line is threatened

c) The ball is loose then recovered

d) In these three cases, hustle to the dead-ball spot

BACK JUDGE

  1. Read the play before moving, then slowly backpedal while identifying the point of attack

  2. Observe blocks and other actions in front of the runner at the second level. Look for holding, blocks below the waist, and clips

  3. Maintain a large cushion as the runner moves downfield to the goal line

  4. Maintain your “inside out” view of the action

  5. After the runner is down, maintain a wide view of the dead ball action. If the play ends out of bounds, more than three yards downfield, hustle to the sideline and ensure players separate and return inbounds. Escort players back in bounds if in the opponent’s team area

  6. Assist in getting the ball / a new ball to the umpire so it can be spotted

POINTS OF EMPHASIS

REFEREE

  1. False starts
  2. Illegal shifts
  3. Motion
  4. Blocking around the runner and by team A backs
  5. Illegal acts around the runner
  6. Reverses and trick plays
  7. Free blocking zone

UMPIRE

  1. False starts

  2. Illegal snaps

  3. Illegal use of hands and other illegal blocks

  4. Free blocking zone

LINE JUDGE and HEAD LINESMAN

  1. Encroachment

  2. False Starts

  3. Illegal motion, shifts, formations

  4. Clipping, blocks in back, and use of hands

PASS MECHANICS – 5-MAN

COVERAGE MECHANICS (In addition to Running Play)

REFEREE

  1. As QB drops to pass, maintain a position behind QB on the passing arm side

  2. Observe initial blocks by offensive backs

  3. Look through QB to observe blocking by the guard and tackle opposite you. Transition to the biggest threat on the QB from wherever it comes

  4. As QB is threatened and attempts to pass, determine if the arm is moving forward

  5. On QB scrambles toward LOS, determine forward point where the ball is released

  6. Signal if the pass is tipped/touched

  7. Announce “ball is away” and protect QB until immediate action is complete or QB moves to participate. You have all calls on QB behind the line of scrimmage

  8. Dead ball officiate

  9. Assist in relay/spotting ball on plays ending behind LOS

  10. ANTICIPATE

a) Forward or backward pass

b) Pass attempt vs. fumble

c) Roughing passer

d) Illegal pass (beyond LOS or intentional grounding)

UMPIRE

  1. Know uncovered offensive lineman on your side, determine pass vs. run
  2. Move toward the spot of snap (on LOS)
  3. Start with inside linemen (G-C-G) then transition to linemen away from you (C-G-T) on referee’s side. Move vision away from double-team blocks to one-on-one conflicts
  4. On roll-outs & scrambles toward LOS, assist REFEREE in determining if ball is released beyond LOS.
  5. Rule on any ineligible downfield
  6. Use tip ball signal if a pass is touched in or behind the neutral zone. Know if the pass crosses the neutral zone
  7. Communicate with players (Announce “BALL’S AWAY”), off-ball officiate
  8. On all short passes, pivot and assist in trapped ball rulings
  9. Dead ball officiate
  10. Spot ball
  11. ANTICIPATE

a) Holding, Clipping, Illegal blocks

b) Ineligible downfield

c) Assist in illegal pass determination

d) Touching of a pass in or behind the neutral zone

LINE JUDGE and HEAD LINESMAN

  1. Read through the key receiver to nearest offensive lineman to read the play

  2. Rule on the action by and on the key receiver during initial action. Following initial action, shift to zone coverage- focus on the short receiver

  3. Remain near LOS until a pass is thrown unless all receivers are deep, stay underneath the shortest receiver (EXCEPTION: Goal-line coverage when signaled by BACK JUDGE- responsible for the goal-line on snaps inside 15-yard line, snap from inside 5-yard line, move immediately to the goal-line)

  4. Close Forward/Backward Pass - If a pass is thrown away from you, you have primary responsibility for knowing if the pass's initial direction was forward or backward. You will signal to the opposite flank by punching forward or backward accordingly.  If the pass is to your side, you will relay the signal provided by the opposite flank. If the pass is to your side and you do not receive help from the opposite flank, you will rule forward or backward and signal accordingly

  5. Maintain Outside-in coverage, move parallel to sideline, responsible for sideline from end line to end line

  6. On catch attempts near the sideline, focus on feet then hands. Near end-line, focus on hands, then feet

  7. On catch attempts near the intersection of sideline and end-line, make eye contact with BACK JUDGE before signaling

  8. If a pass is caught in bounds and then the player goes out of bounds, blow your whistle, stop the clock, mark the spot, continue to officiate – Do NOT give catch signal

  9. Do not mark the spot of passes caught out of bounds

  10. Responsible for progress up to the goal line

  11. Off-ball officiate on plays away. Come into the numbers on plays into the opposite side zone

  12. Dead ball officiate

  13. ANTICIPATE

a) Holding

b) Pass interference

c) Catch/No-catch

d) Unnecessary contact / Personal fouls

e) Forward/backward pass

f) Illegal participation

LINE JUDGE

  1. If directed by a signal from the REFEREE in a “Hail Mary” situation, the LINE JUDGE may establish his position at the goal line or up to 15 yards down the field in anticipation of a last-second desperation play. This must be discussed and confirmed with the entire crew during the crew’s pre-game conference

BACK JUDGE

  1. Read the play, then begin your first step backward.

  2. Rule on the action by and on the key receiver(s) during initial action

  3. Following initial action, shift to zone coverage, focus on the deepest receiver

  4. Maintain inside-out coverage always deeper than the deepest receiver

  5. Go towards the ball when the ball is in the air

  6. Be at goal-line if receiver crosses (EXCEPTION: if play starts inside 15-yard line, you are responsible for end line. Prior to play, signal to FLANKS by positioning on the end-line and pointing to corner pylons)

  7. On catch attempts near the sideline, focus on the hands. On catch attempts near the end-line, focus on feet then hands

  8. Use appropriate signals for juggled or catches out of bounds

  9. On catch attempts near the intersection of the sideline and end-line, make eye contact with FLANK official before signaling, unless you know it is incomplete

  10. If a pass is caught in bounds and then the receiver goes out of bounds, stop the clock and dead ball officiate. If multiple players go out of bounds, follow and escort opposing players back to the field of play

  11. May have progress on a long run or pass plays

  12. Dead ball officiate

  13. Assist with relay/spot ball on long completions

PASS RECEIVER COVERAGE KEYS

Definitions

Receiver -    

End or back lined up outside of offensive tackles

Strength of the formation -  

Determined by the number of eligible receivers on a particular side of the offensive formation. The strong side is the side with the most eligible receivers outside the tackles

Tight end -   

The end man on the line of scrimmage lined up no more than 4 yards from the nearest offensive lineman. If he is lined up wider, then he is a split end.

Back in the backfield -        

A player in the backfield between the tackles at the snap.

Trips -         

Three or more receivers on one side of the offensive formation outside the tackles.

Widest receiver -

If players are stacked one behind another, the one nearest the line of scrimmage is considered to be the widest.

  1. The BACK JUDGE always keys on the inside eligible receiver(s) outside the tackles on the formation's strong side.

  2. If the formation is balanced and there is only one eligible receiver to each side, the BACK JUDGE takes the first back on a pass route out of the backfield.

  3. The FLANK officials key on the widest player of the offensive formation on their side of the field.

  4. If there are three eligible receivers on one side, the FLANK official takes the outside receiver. The two inside receivers are the responsibility of the BACK JUDGE.

  5. Your keys are established at the snap by taking a snapshot of the formation, regardless of changes in formation prior to the snap

SCRIMMAGE KICK MECHANICS – 5-MAN

PRE-KICK MECHANICS

ALL OFFICIALS

HUSTLE TO POSITION!

REFEREE

  1. Position to the LINE JUDGE side of the field and slightly behind the kicker (approximately 7 yards to the side and 5 yards deeper than the kicker)

  2. Count the kicking team and confirm with the UMPIRE and the HEAD LINESMAN

  3. View the lineman and know numbering exceptions

UMPIRE

  1. Position approximately seven (7-10) yards from the line of scrimmage and favor the LINE JUDGE side of the field

  2. Count the kicking team and confirm with the REFEREE

  3. View the lineman and know numbering exceptions

  4. Tell the receiving team lineman, “DO NOT HIT THE SNAPPER”

HEAD LINESMAN

  1. Position on the line of scrimmage in front of the down marker

  2. Count the kicking team and look for confirmation from REFEREE that he has eleven players

  3. View formation to see that they have at least seven (7) players on the line of scrimmage

  4. View the position of the outside kicking team players. Know who is eligible to catch a pass

LINE JUDGE

  1. Position even with the deepest receiver and on your sideline. On kicks from inside the receiving team’s 40-yard line, take a position on the goal line at the sideline

  2. Count the receiving team and confirm with the BACK JUDGE

  3. View the position of the outside kicking team players. Know who is eligible to catch a pass

BACK JUDGE

  1. Position slightly behind and to the side of the deepest receiver on the same side of the field as the HEAD LINESMAN (approximately 7-12 yards to the side and 3-5 yards behind the receiver but always within the hash marks). If the position of the ball at the snap, and the position of the returner, places you outside the hash marks on the HEAD LINESMAN’S side of the field, adjust your starting position to the LINE JUDGE’S side of the field (approximately 7-12 yards to the side and 3-5 yards behind the receiver but always within the hash marks. If two receivers,

  2. field position may require you to take a position between the receivers. On kicks from inside the receiving team’s 40-yard line, take a position on the goal line at the sideline. When the ball is possessed, move to a position in the middle of the field, keeping the runner between you and the sideline. You are responsible for coverage of runner from an inside-out view favoring the chain's side of the field, if possible

  3. Count the receiving team and confirm with the LINE JUDGE

  4. Provide fair catch instructions to the receiver(s) if possible

  5. Hold a beanbag in your hand

KICK MECHANICS

ALL OFFICIALS

Strange things happen on kicks. Be mentally prepared for various scenarios based on your position.

REFEREE

  1. Normal Kick –Watch blocking by the A Team backs and protect the kicker. Stay with the kicker until all is clear. Be the last official down the field and box in all players from behind with wide vision. If the return breaks through the defense, be prepared to take the runner all the way to the goal line

  2. Bad Snap - When there is a bad snap on a scrimmage kick, and the play goes deep into the backfield, you will follow the ball back and bracket with HEAD LINESMAN

  3. Kick Out of Bounds – If the kick goes out of bounds in flight, move to the spot of the kick and then proceed to line up the out of bounds spot with covering official by signaling with a hack

  4. After the Play - Indicate to HEAD LINESMAN when to move chains, hustle to the new spot and indicate first down and direction of the ball

UMPIRE

  1. Watch the action on the SNAPPER

  2. Normal Kick – Initially view line play action and action on the ground in front of the ball. Pivot and release down the field, watching the action of the players and blocking. On returns up middle and to other side, maintain wide inside-out vision

  3. Bad Snap – When there is a bad snap on a scrimmage kick, and the play goes deep into the backfield, you will move up to the line of scrimmage and rule on whether the ball crossed the line of scrimmage

  4. At the end of the play DEAD BALL OFFICIATE. Spot the incoming ball to be ready for play

HEAD LINESMAN

  1. Look to see that the ball has been kicked and quickly see where the ball is headed (i.e., short, long, right, left). DID THE BALL CROSS THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE, HIT THE GROUND OR A PLAYER?

  2. Normal Kick – View the blocking and action around the kicking team’s eligible players (the widest players on your side) and view line action until the ball clears. After the ball has crossed the line of scrimmage, quickly release down the field and parallel the play from the outside with wide vision. Continue to watch the action as the players and ball move toward the receiver. Observe blocking down the field and in front of the runner. Mark first touching with a bean bag

  1. Bad Snap – When there is a bad snap on a scrimmage kick, and the play goes deep into the backfield, you will follow the ball back and bracket with REFEREE (the UMPIRE will then have kick crossing or not crossing the line)

  2. Kick Out of Bounds – Medium to short kicks going out of bounds on the bounce; you are responsible for your side of the field

  3. If you are one of the covering officials, at the end of the play, spot progress and square-up with the LINE JUDGE, stop the clock and signal the direction of the team in possession. DEAD-BALL OFFICIATE. If you are holding the spot, cover the ball until you are relieved by another official. Look to the REFEREE for confirmation to move the chains

LINE JUDGE

  1. Look to see that the ball has been kicked and quickly look to see where the ball is headed (i.e., short, long, right, left). DO NOT WATCH THE FLIGHT OF THE BALL – WATCH THE PLAYERS!

  2. Normal Kick – View the blocking and action around the kicking team’s eligible players (the widest players on your side). Continue to watch the action as the players and ball move toward the receiver

  3. Keep the runner between you and the BACK JUDGE. You are responsible for your sideline coverage and progress. Watch the action immediately around the runner

  4. Fair Catch - View the action around the receiver and make certain the receiver catches the ball cleanly, and it does not go through his hands. Stop the clock upon signal with the BACK JUDGE. Get the spot and hold it until the chains are set

  5. First Touch Violation – Use your beanbag if there is a first touching violation by the kicking team. Note: there may be more than one spot of the first touching violation

  6. If you are one of the covering officials, at the end of the play, spot progress and square-up with the HEAD LINESMAN, stop the clock and signal the direction of the team in possession. DEAD-BALL OFFICIATE

  7. Kick Out of Bounds – On kicks out of bounds, you are responsible for your sideline. Blow your whistle and stop the clock. Line-up deeper than where the ball went out of bounds on the sideline (no deeper than the goal line) with outside arm straight above your head. Make eye contact with REFEREE and begin to walk toward the original line of scrimmage. The REFEREE will hack when you have reached the out of bounds spot

BACK JUDGE

  1. Look to see that the ball has been kicked and quickly look to see where the ball is headed (i.e., short, long, right, left)

  2. Normal Kick – View the receiver and run up to be even with the receiver as he prepares to catch the ball. Your only view is the receiver and stay to the side of him by 7-12 yards. Look to see that the receiver catches the ball cleanly and that there was no kick catch interference or to rule on a fair catch

  3. Drop your beanbag where the kick ends. Remember that the kick ends when any player gains possession or when the ball becomes dead. If the kick crosses the goal line, blow your whistle and signal touchback

  4. Keep the runner between you and the LINE JUDGE. You are responsible for coverage of runner from an inside-out view favoring the chain's side of the field. Your distance should be about 10-15 yards from the runner. You may have progress

  5. Fair Catch - View the receiver and run up to be even with the receiver as he prepares to catch the ball. View the fair catch signal (valid or invalid?). Make certain the receiver catches the ball cleanly, and it does not go through his hands. With a confirmed catch, stop the clock and blow your whistle

  6. First Touch Violation – Use a beanbag if there is a first touching violation by the kicking team. Note: there may be more than one spot of the first touching violation

  7. You are one of the covering officials. At the end of the play, stop the clock and signal the direction of the team in possession. DEAD-BALL OFFICIATE

  8. Kick Out of Bounds – On medium to long kicks out of bounds, you are responsible for the sideline opposite the LINE JUDGE. Blow your whistle and stop the clock. Line-up deeper than where the ball went out of bounds on the sideline (no deeper than the goal line) with outside arm straight above your head. Make eye contact with REFEREE and begin to walk toward the original line of scrimmage. The REFEREE will hack when you have reached the out of bounds spot

  9. Communicate possession and direction to the REFEREE

POINTS OF EMPHASIS
REFEREE

1) Fake kicks
2) Bad Snaps
3) Blocked Punt
4) Roughing or Running Into the Kicker; Incidental Contact
5) Illegal Blocks
6) Illegal Use of Hands
7) Clock Status before and after the play

UMPIRE

1) Snapper
2) Blocking; legal or illegal, illegal use of hands
3) Numbering exceptions
4) Check first touches, forced touching, muffs, fumbles, blocked punts

HEAD LINESMAN

1) Blocking
2) Touching of ball; beyond line of scrimmage
3) Illegal Kicking
4) Interference
5) Muff and First Touching Violations
6) Ineligible players downfield

BACK JUDGE and LINE JUDGE

  1. Fair Catch Signals

  2. Blocking

  3. Goal Line

  4. Illegal Batting or Forward Handing

  5. Muff and First Touching Violations

  6. Fair Catch or Kick Catch Interference

  7. Ball Out of Bounds in Flight

FIELD GOAL & PAT MECHANICS – 5-MAN

PRE-SNAP MECHANICS

ALL OFFICIALS

  1. Prior to all field goal attempts, all officials should remind themselves of live ball by using the illegal procedure signal (#S19)

  2. The positioning of the HEAD LINESMAN / LINE JUDGE will depend on the location of the REFEREE. Whichever official is nearest to or facing the back of the REFEREE on a PAT or Field Goal will go under the goalposts with the BACK JUDGE

REFEREE

  1. Take a wide position, 10–15 yards (or more) wider than the potential kicker and 2–3 yards deeper, on the open side of the holder. Help direct the appropriate official to be under the goal post with the BACK JUDGE

  2. Beware of a fake field goal or PAT. On a kick from beyond the 10-yard line, be ready to assist in covering the open sideline/pylon

  3. Before the snap, observe any linebackers that may be attempting to shoot the gap to block the kick

  4. Before the snap, check for any illegal locking of legs by offensive linemen

UMPIRE

  1. Stay over the ball until the Referee waves you off. This is especially true on a field goal with clock running

  2. On a kick when the LOS is at the 10-yard line and in, take a position under the goal post on the LINE JUDGE side of the field

  3. On a kick from beyond the 10-yard line, shade to the same side of the field as the REFEREE, 5–8 yards on the defensive side of the neutral zone

  4. You always have sole responsibility for the protection of the snapper

  5. Check for the use of numbering exception by team A

HEAD LINESMAN

1. Take a position on the sideline when the LOS is at the 10-yard line and in (on PAT, move in to numbers) and observe neutral zone

OR (if facing the back of the REFEREE on a kick from beyond the 10-yard line)

2. Line up six feet or less behind the goal post on your side of the field. Count defense and orally communicate with BACK JUDGE of your count. Callout the numbers of the eligible receivers on your side of the offensive formation

LINE JUDGE

1. Take a position on the sideline when the LOS is at the 10-yard line and in (on PAT, move in to numbers) and observe neutral zone

OR (if facing the back of the REFEREE on a kick from beyond the 10-yard line)

2. Line up six feet or less behind the goal post on your side of the field. Count defense and orally communicate with BACK JUDGE of your count. Callout the numbers of the eligible receivers on your side of the offensive formation

BACK JUDGE

  1. Line up six feet or less behind the goal post closest to the opposite side of the official that is under the goal post with you

  2. Count defense and orally communicate with UMPIRE / LINE JUDGE / HEAD LINESMAN of your count

  3. Callout the numbers of the eligible receivers on your side of the offensive formation

  4. Remind UMPIRE / LINE JUDGE / HEAD LINESMAN that you solely have cross bar and the whistle

ALL OFFICIALS – SWINGING GATE

  1. All officials will be in their regular positions for a scrimmage down. If team A shifts to a formation normally used for a PAT or attempted field goal, the HEAD LINESMAN and LINE JUDGE will stay in their regular scrimmage down positions and the UMPIRE will move to the unoccupied goal post to rule on the kick success or failure. UMPIRE will still maintain responsibility for protecting the snapper

  2. The BACK JUDGE will retain primary responsibility for the whistle

  3. Prior to the snap, the UMPIRE and BACK JUDGE will establish eligible receivers on their respective sides of the offensive formation

  4. If the play is a fake kick, the UMPIRE will attempt to get to his normal scrimmage position while the remaining officials maintain their usual scrimmage play responsibilities

KICK MECHANICS

REFEREE

  1. Observe the motion of backs within your line of vision and cover as usual if a run or pass.

  2. Immediately after the snap, shift your eyes to the holder and mentally rule if the holder’s knee was down upon receiving the snap

  3. If it is obvious that the PAT kick has been blocked and grounded, blow the play dead immediately

  4. You are solely responsible if the kicker or holder is roughed or has been run into

  5. After the kick and the kicker and holder are free, shift your observation to the offensive line to dead ball officiate

  6. After you have observed the HEAD LINESMAN / LINE JUDGE & BACK JUDGE’S signals, turn to the press box and repeat their signal

UMPIRE

  1. Watch for ineligible downfield

  2. On fake, or broken plays, keep your normal position

  3. You always have sole responsibility for the protection of the snapper

  4. Watch line play after kick ends

  5. If underneath the goalpost when the LOS is at the 10-yard line and in or a Swinging Gate Formation;

a) Orally communicate with the BACK JUDGE as to the success or failure of the kick.

b) Both the UMPIRE and BACK JUDGE should withhold any signal but immediately step to the end line where both officials give a simultaneous signal ruling on the kick.

HEAD LINESMAN

  1. IF UNDER THE GOAL POST

a) As the ball arrives at the goal post, step-up and look straight-up to determine if the ball was kicked between the uprights and not directly over the goal post.

b) Orally communicate with BACK JUDGE as to the success or failure of the kick.

c) Both should withhold any signal but immediately step to the end line to simultaneously give the signal ruling on the kick.

d) Give an incomplete signal if the kick fails.

e) Give touchdown signal if the kick is good.

f) On fake plays, be ready to cover passes or runs as usual. You are responsible for the goal line and sideline.

g) Watch line play after kick ends.

2. IF ON THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE

a) After the snap, observe the legality of the blocks of the backs protecting the kick.

b) You are responsible for the goal line plane.

c) If it is a pass, observe any illegal lineman downfield. This is your responsibility, along with the umpire.

d) If a field goal is blocked, you are responsible in determining if the kick crossed the neutral zone or the goal line and where it is recovered, and by whom.

e) After the kick, sprint into the hash to dead ball officiate.

LINE JUDGE

1. IF UNDER THE GOAL POST

a) As the ball arrives at the goal post, step-up and look straight-up to determine if the ball was kicked between the uprights and not directly over the goal post

b) Orally communicate with BACK JUDGE as to the success or failure of the kick

c) Both should withhold any signal but immediately step to the end line to simultaneously give the signal ruling on the kick

d) Give an incomplete signal if the kick fails

e) Give touchdown signal if the kick is good

f) On fake plays, be ready to cover passes or runs as usual. You are responsible for the goal line and sideline

g) Watch line play after kick ends

2. IF ON THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE

a) After the snap, observe the legality of the blocks of the backs protecting the kick

b) You are responsible for the goal line plane

c) If it is a pass, observe any illegal lineman downfield. This is your responsibility, along with the umpire

d) If a field goal is blocked, you are responsible for determining if the kick crossed the neutral zone or the goal line and where it is recovered, and by whom

e) After the kick, sprint into the hash to dead ball officiate

BACK JUDGE

  1. As the ball arrives at the goal post, step-up and look straight-up to determine if the ball was kicked between the uprights and not directly over the goal post

  2. Orally communicate with LINE JUDGE / HEAD LINESMAN / UMPIRE as to the success or failure of the kick to your side

  3. Both should withhold any signal but immediately step to the end line to simultaneously give the signal ruling on the kick

  4. Give an incomplete signal if the kick fails

  5. Give touchdown signal if the kick is good

  6. On fake plays, be ready to cover passes or runs as usual

  7. You have the sole responsibility of the end line

  8. BACK JUDGE has primary whistle once the ball has crossed the goal line and the kick has ended