7-Man Mechanics Manual

2022 Pre Game 7 Person Mechanics Manual Revised 10 27 22 CIF Edition 1
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CREW OF 7 OFFICIALS 2022 MECHANICS MANUAL

For use by the crew during pregame preparation.

This manual is a summary of the mechanics provided to all NCAA 7-man officiating crew as contained in the 2021 Collegiate Commissioners Association (CCA) Football Officiating Manual for a Crew of 7. 

All officials must use the CCA approved mechanics for a crew of 7 as outlined in this manual.  Any conflicts between the CCA manual and this document should be considered a typo and preference given to the CCA Manual. 

All questions regarding differences between this document and the CCA Manual should be directed to the instructional chair of your association.

Revised 10/27/22

Pregame Duties Before and on the Field 

REFEREE

a. Go with the Umpire to meet with the Head Coaches.

b. Ask the Head Coach to certify player compliance to mandatory equipment rules.

c. Inspect the entire field with the Side Judge. Note unusual markings or irregularities. Work with home management to correct any hazardous conditions within or near the boundary lines.

d. Observe Quarterbacks and Kickers during their warm-ups and note hand/foot used to throw/kick ball.

e. Spot check equipment and report any irregularities to the Umpire who will work with the trainer to correct.

UMPIRE

Pregame Duties and Responsibilities

a. Go with the Referee to meet with the Head Coaches.

b. Verify Head Coach certification of player compliance to mandatory equipment rules.

c. See trainer regarding bandages, wraps, and other possible equipment questions.

d. Discuss with the flanks how to communicate position of the ball.

Pregame Duties on the Field

a. Spot-check equipment.

b. Observe offensive linemen as they warm up.

HEAD LINESMAN

Pregame Duties and Responsibilities

a. Discuss signals & communications with Line Judge.

Pregame Duties on the Field

a. Check chain crew equipment. Tape in middle of chain.

b. Have pregame conference with the chain crew.

c. Notify the visiting coach 5 minutes prior to kickoff and bring the visiting team onto the field.

LINE JUDGE

Pregame Duties and Responsibilities

a. Discuss signals & communications with Head Linesman.

Pregame Duties on the Field

a. Notify the home coach 5 minutes prior to kickoff and bring the home team onto the field.

FIELD JUDGE

Pregame Duties and Responsibilities

a. Discuss signals & communication with Side Judge and Back Judge.

Pregame Duties on the Field

a. Introduce yourself to the Head Coach on your sideline and determine who is to receive foul reports during the game. Who will handle most communication for the game?

b. Who is the Get Back Coach?

c. Instruct the ball boys. Side Judge will assist.

d. Have the Home captains at the sideline 5 minutes before kickoff.

SIDE JUDGE

Pregame Duties and Responsibilities

a. Give crew the official time.

b. Have a watch capable of timing the game if the field clock malfunctions. Keep the game time during the game.

c. Leave the dressing room together at the pre-determined time.

d. Discuss signals & communication with Field Judge and Back Judge.

Pregame Duties on the Field

a. Instruct the game clock operator.

b. Go with the Referee and inspect the entire field.

c. Introduce yourself to the Head Coach on your sideline and determine who is to receive foul reports during the game.

d. Who will handle most communication for the game?

e. Who is the Get Back Coach?

f. Assist the Field Judge with instruction of the ball boys.

g. Have the Visiting captains at the sideline 5 minutes before kickoff.

BACK JUDGE

Pregame Duties and Responsibilities

a. Have a watch capable of timing the 25-second play clock.

b. Discuss signals & communication with Field Judge and Side Judge.

Pregame Duties on the Field

a. Instruct the play clock operator.

COIN TOSS

REFEREE

a. 5 minutes before kickoff, go with the Umpire to the middle of the field, Referee faces the clock.

b. 5 minutes before kickoff, Field Judge and Side Judge send captains for the coin toss.

c. Once the choices have been made by both teams, 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.

d. All officials meet and review toss results. Then jog to kickoff positions.

UMPIRE

a. 5 minutes before kickoff, go with the Referee to the middle of the field, Referee faces the clock.

b. 5 minutes before kickoff, Field Judge and Side Judge send captains for the coin toss.

c. Listen and verify captain's choices and Referee's options.

d. All officials meet and review toss results. Then jog to kickoff positions.

HEAD LINESMAN

a. Stay on your sideline at the 50-yard line with game ball. (Side Judge will be at the numbers).

b. Meet with other officials at the center of the field, provide game ball to Back Judge if your team will be kicking, then jog to kickoff positions.

LINE JUDGE

a. Stay on your sideline at the 50-yard line with game ball. (Field Judge will be at the numbers).

b. Meet with other officials at the center of the field, provide game ball to Back Judge if your team will be kicking, then jog to kickoff positions.

FIELD JUDGE

a. On a signal from the Referee, escort the captains to the numbers and send them to the Referee.

b. Meet with other officials at the center of the field, then jog to kickoff positions.

SIDE JUDGE

a. On a signal from the Referee, escort the captains to the numbers and send them to the Referee.

b. Meet with other officials at the center of the field, then jog to kickoff positions.

BACK JUDGE

a. Stay on your sideline at the 50-yard line (Side Judge will be at the numbers).

b. Meet with other officials at the center of the field, then jog to kickoff positions.

FREE KICK - DEEP

REFEREE

a. Assume a starting position in the middle of the field behind the deepest receiver (usually 5 yards deep in endzone).

b. Count Referee and confirm with the Head Linesman and Line Judge.

c. Once the Back Judge indicates the other officials and players are ready, sound your whistle and give the ready for play signal.

d. You are responsible for the end line. Be alert for a touchback or a kick beyond the end line.

e. You are responsible for play clock and for knowing if K has at least four players on both sides of the kicker when the ball is kicked.

f. Move laterally to be in position to see action at the point of attack. Be alert to a handoff or reverse.

UMPIRE

a. Starting position is on the sideline opposite the press box on K’s restraining line.

b. Count K and confirm with the Back Judge.

c. You are responsible for clearing your sideline to K’s end line.

d. Umpire keys on K’s players #4 and #5 from his sideline and observes action on the kicker (see diagram).

e. Ensure K’s players are within 5 yards of their restraining line. Watch illegal action on the kicker.

f. Once the ball is kicked, move between the numbers and the hash marks moving down field no more than 8-10 yards.

g. Observe action mainly toward the center of the field, observing off-ball action.

h. If kick is to opposite side, move to the hash marks and observe action mainly toward the center of the field, observing off-ball action.

Note: K’s players #1 are not accounted for in the keys as he normally is not threatened until he reaches the Head Linesman or Line Judge’s zone (see diagram).

HEAD LINESMAN

a. Starting position is on the sideline opposite the press box at R’s goal line. You have goal line and pylon responsibility.

b. Stay at the goal line until it is no longer threatened.

c. Count the receiving team and confirm with Referee. Signal accordingly for less than/greater than/or equal to 11 players. You are secondary for knowing if K has at least four players on both sides of the kicker.

d. Wind the clock when the ball is legally touched in the field of play, unless the ball is caught or recovered by a player who is legally down.

e. When the runner is on your side of the field, you are responsible for blocks at the point of attack and the runner.

f. When you do not have the ball, take a position to observe blocks on the backside of the runner.

LINE JUDGE

a. Starting position is on the sideline on the press box side at R’s goal line. You have goal line and pylon responsibility. Stay at the goal line until it is no longer threatened. 

b. Count the receiving team and confirm with Referee. Signal accordingly for less than/greater than/or equal to 11 players. You are secondary for knowing if K has at least four players on both sides of the kicker.

c. Wind the clock when the ball is legally touched in the field of play, unless the ball is caught or recovered by a player who is legally down.

d. When the runner is on your side of the field, you are responsible for blocks at the point of attack and the runner.

e. When you do not have the ball, take a position to observe blocks on the backside of the runner.

FIELD JUDGE

a. Starting position is on the sideline on the press box side on R’s restraining line. Assist in clearing your sideline.

b. Field Judge keys on K’s players #2 and #3 on his side of the field (see diagram).

c. You must know if the ball was kicked into the ground.

d. After the members of the kicking team have passed by, move no more than 10 yards toward R's goal line to provide better coverage in the critical area where contact occurs between the kicking and the receiving team.

e. You have sideline coverage to K's goal line on a runback.

Note: K’s players #1 are not accounted for in the keys as he normally is not threatened until he reaches the Head Linesman or Line Judge’s zone (see diagram).

SIDE JUDGE

a. Starting position is on the sideline opposite the press box on R’s restraining line. Assist in clearing your sideline.

b. Side Judge keys on K’s players #2 and #3 on his side of the field (see diagram).

c. You must know if the ball was kicked into the ground.

d. After the members of the kicking team have passed by, move no more than 10 yards toward R's goal line to provide better coverage in the critical area where contact occurs between the kicking and the receiving team.

e. You have sideline coverage to K's goal line on a runback.

Note: K’s players #1 are not accounted for in the keys as he normally is not threatened until he reaches the Head Linesman or Line Judge’s zone (see diagram).

BACK JUDGE

a. Count K and confirm with the Umpire. Hand the ball to the kicker and move to your starting position at the sideline on the press box side on K’s restraining line. Raise your arm to signal the Referee you are ready.

b. You are responsible for clearing your sideline to K’s end line.

c. Back Judge keys on K’s players #4 and #5 from his sideline and observes action on the kicker (see diagram).

d. Ensure K’s players are within 5 yards of their restraining line. Watch illegal action on the kicker.

e. Once the ball is kicked, move between the numbers and the hash marks moving down field no more than 8-10 yards.

f. Observe action mainly toward the center of the field, observing off-ball action.

g. If kick is to opposite side, move to the hash marks and observe action mainly toward the center of the field, observing off-ball action.

h. You are responsible for Team A’s goal line on any long return.

Note: K’s players #1 are not accounted for in the keys as he normally is not threatened until he reaches the Head Linesman or Line Judge’s zone (see diagram).

FREE KICK – ON SIDE

REFEREE

a. Assume a starting position in the middle of the field behind the deepest receiver. You have goal line and pylon responsibility. 

b. Once the Back Judge indicates the other officials and players are ready, sound your whistle and give the ready for play signal.

c. Be prepared if K kicks deep instead of onside.

UMPIRE

a. Starting position is on the sideline opposite the press box on K’s restraining line. Have bean bag in hand.

b. Treat K’s restraining line as a plane. Any player (other than the kicker or holder) breaking the plane before the ball is kicked should be called for encroachment.

c. If the kick is to your side, you have secondary responsibility for touching by either team.

d. If the kick is to the opposite side, you are responsible for blocking.

e. Be alert for a fair-catch signal by K and be prepared to cover the play if a K player recovers the kick and attempts to advance the ball.

HEAD LINESMAN

a. Starting position is on the sideline opposite the press box, midway between the two restraining lines.

b. Observe blocking by both teams. Know if the ball was kicked into the ground.

c. Be alert for a fair-catch signal by R and be prepared to cover the play if a R player recovers the kick and attempts to advance the ball.

LINE JUDGE

a. Starting position is on the sideline on the press box side, midway between the two restraining lines. Have bean bag in hand.

b. Observe blocking by both teams. Know if the ball was kicked into the ground.

c. Be alert for a fair-catch signal by R and be prepared to cover the play if a R player recovers the kick and attempts to advance the ball.

FIELD JUDGE

a. Starting position is on the sideline on the press box side at R’s restraining line. Have bean bag in hand.

b. You must know if the kick broke the plane of R’s restraining line. You are primarily responsible for touching by either team.

c. Be alert for a fair-catch signal by R and be prepared to cover the play if a R player recovers the kick and attempts to advance the ball.

SIDE JUDGE

a. Starting position is on the sideline opposite the press box at R’s retraining line. Have bean bag in hand.

b. You must know if the kick broke the plane of R’s restraining line. You are primarily responsible for touching by either team.

c. Be alert for a fair-catch signal by R and be prepared to cover the play if a R player recovers the kick and attempts to advance the ball.

BACK JUDGE

a. Count K and confirm with the Umpire and Field judge. Hand the ball to the kicker and move to your starting position on the sideline on the press box side at K’s restraining line. Once you are in position, raise your arm to signal the Referee you are ready. Have beanbag in hand.

b. Treat K’s restraining line as a plane. Any player (other than the kicker or holder) breaking the plane before the ball is kicked should be called for encroachment.

c. If the kick is to your side, you have secondary responsibility for touching by either team.

d. If the kick is to the opposite side, you are responsible for blocking.

e. Be alert for a fair-catch signal by K and be prepared to cover the play if a K player recovers the kick and attempts to advance the ball.

PLAYS FROM SCRIMMAGE

REFEREE

a. Assume a basic position, always on the QB’s throwing arm side, outside the normal tight end position and at least five yards deeper than the deepest back (12-14 yards off the line of scrimmage).

b. Count the offensive team in the huddle and observe their substitution process. Use visual signal to confirm count with Umpire and alert Head Linesman/Line Judge as to number of players on offense.

c. Check the offensive formation and observe the QB and other backs for possible false start, illegal motion, illegal shift, etc.

UMPIRE

a. Line up five to seven yards off the ball, between the linebackers, inside tackles and always able to see the snap clearly.

b. Count offense. Signal to Referee (hand closed, extended toward offense) only when sure.

c. Key on guard-center-guard.

d. Watch the snapper for illegal movements. Be alert to possible illegal snap and false start by the offense. Head Linesman and Line Judge will call neutral zone infractions.

e. Be alert to the sound and cadence of the defensive captain’s signals.

HEAD LINESMAN

a. Read the offensive formation and know eligible receivers.

b. Indicate the offensive line of scrimmage by extended foot, then take a position straddling the neutral zone.

c. Be alert for obvious movement of restricted linemen.

d. Watch for illegal formations, including encroachment and false starts.

e. Rule on motion – primary for motion going away but rule on illegal motion to your side if you see it.

LINE JUDGE

a. Read the offensive formation and know eligible receivers.

b. Indicate the offensive line of scrimmage by extended foot, then take a position straddling the neutral zone.

c. Be alert for obvious movement of restricted linemen.

d. Watch for illegal formations, including encroachment and false starts.

e. Rule on motion – primary for motion going away but rule on illegal motion to your side if you see it.

FIELD JUDGE

a. Basic position is on the sideline on the press box side, 20-22 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.

b. Count the defense and verify count with Back Judge and Side Judge.

c. Observe the start of the game clock with the Referee's wind or ready signal.

d. Identify the receiver you will be responsible for at the snap. This will be the widest receiver on your side of the formation based on a snap-shot at the snap.

SIDE JUDGE

a. Basic position is on the sideline opposite the press box side, 20-22 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.

b. Count the defense and verify count with Back Judge and Field Judge.

c. Observe the start of the game clock with the Referee's wind or ready signal.

d. Identify the receiver you will be responsible for at the snap. This will be the widest receiver on your side of the formation based on a snap-shot at the snap.

BACK JUDGE

a. Basic position is in the middle of the field 25 yards from the line of scrimmage.

b. When the snap is from on or inside the 25-yard line, your position is on the end line.

c. Count the defense and confirm with Field Judge and Side Judge.

d. Identify the receiver you will be responsible for based on a snap-shot at the snap.

i. If a balanced formation, your key is the second receiver on the Line Judge side.

ii. If an unbalanced formation, your key is the second receiver on the strong side.

iii. If trips, your key is the third receiver on the trips side.

iv. If quads, your keys are the third and fourth receivers on the quads side at the snap, then let them declare if they are bunched or stacked.

RUNNING PLAYS

REFEREE

a. After the snap, observe action behind the line and the runner to the neutral zone, as well as action on the ball and the quarterback on handoffs and backward passes.

b. Once you read run, focus on the blocks on the front side of the point of attack.

c. On option plays, if the QB keeps the ball and turns upfield, assume responsibility for the trailing back until there is no longer a threat of a foul. If the QB pitches the ball, stay with the QB.

d. Stay with the runner behind the line. Trail but don’t chase the runner into the side zone, covering behind the play.

e. If the QB goes out of bounds, coordinate sideline coverage with the Head Linesman or Line Judge to ensure the spot is maintained and players return to the field.

f. Assist in spotting the ball on runs that end in the side zone and out of bounds.

g. On change of possession, be alert for action on the QB.

UMPIRE

a. Up the middle

i. Watch lead blocks. Get out of the way.

ii. Take progress from wing officials.

b. Into either side zone

i. Read keys. Watch lead blocks.

ii. Watch dead ball and action behind the play.

iii. Hustle to the number to receive and spot the new ball. 

HEAD LINESMAN

a. Up the middle focus on blocks and the ball carrier.

b. Toward your side of the field focus on blocks in front of the ball carrier, how did he turn the corner, forward progress. Close at a 90-degree angle.

c. Away from your side of the field focus on back-side blocks (protect behind the Referee and Umpire) and cross field spot for Line Judge.

d. You have progress to the B’s 2-yard line.

LINE JUDGE

a. Up the middle focus on blocks and the ball carrier.

b. Toward your side of the field focus on blocks in front of the ball carrier, how did he turn the corner, forward progress. Close at a 90-degree angle.

c. Away from your side of field focus on back-side blocks (protect behind the Referee and Umpire) and crossfield spot for Head Linesman.

d. You have progress to the B’s 2-yard line.

FIELD JUDGE

a. You are responsible for action on or by the widest receiver on your side of the field. Be alert to crackback blocks, blocks below the waist and holding.

b. You have progress inside the 2-yard line.

c. Toward your side of field

i. Maintain a 10-15 yard cushion. Be at the goal line when the runner crosses.

ii. You are responsible for ruling on action in advance of the runner.

iii. When the runner goes out of bounds, the Line Judge will mark the spot of forward progress; you are responsible for cleaning up the action around the play and out of bounds.

d. Away from your side of field

i. Clean up behind the Umpire.

ii. Be alert to live ball personal fouls, and dead ball fouls.

iii. Cover action between you and the area of the runner once the play crosses the line of scrimmage.

SIDE JUDGE

a. You are responsible for action on or by the widest receiver on your side of the field. Be alert to crackback blocks, blocks below the waist and holding.

b. You have progress inside the 2 yard line.

c. Toward your side of field

i. Maintain a 10-15 yard cushion. Be at the goal line when the runner crosses.

ii. You are responsible for ruling on action in advance of the runner.

iii. When the runner goes out of bounds, the Line Judge will mark the spot of forward progress; you are responsible for cleaning up the action around the play and out of bounds.

d. Away from your side of field

i. Clean up behind the Umpire.

ii. Be alert to live ball personal fouls, and dead ball fouls.

iii. Cover action between you and the area of the runner once the play crosses the line of scrimmage.

BACK JUDGE

a. You are responsible for action on or by your receiver. Be alert to crackback blocks, blocks below the waist and holding.

b. Maintain a 10-15 yard cushion. Be at the goal line when the runner crosses.

c. You are responsible for ruling on action in advance of the runner.

d. If the runs ends between the numbers, hold your position and observe dead ball action.

e. If the run ends near a sideline, move towards the play and observe dead ball action.

f. Be alert to live ball fouls and dead ball personal fouls.

PASSING PLAYS

REFEREE

a. If pass is indicated drop at a 45-degree angle getting deeper and wider as the QB drops back into the pocket. Maintain a 12-14-yard cushion.

b. As the QB drops back, observe action behind the line. Observe blockers and the QB (your primary responsibility) until there is no threat of a foul.

c. Insure that the QB is not roughed or thrown to the ground. Verbally alert the defenders when the passer has released the ball.

d. Rule on intentional grounding; may consult with other officials regards positions of eligible receivers in the area of the pass.

UMPIRE

a. Move up to line when reading pass.

b. Focus attention on action involving the center and guards. Watch for potential chop blocks, illegal blocks, clips and holds.

c. Be aware of B touching the pass in or behind the neutral zone.

d. Pivot and turn on passes. Help out when possible on catch-no catch.

HEAD LINESMAN

a. Identify the receiver you will be responsible for based on a snap-shot at the snap of the ball.

i. If balanced formation (2 rec on each side), your key is the 2nd receiver in.

ii. If balanced formation (1 rec on each side), your key is a back.

iii. If un-balanced formation and your side is weak side, your key is the back or 2nd receiver in.

iv. If un-balanced formation and your side is strong side with 2 receivers, your key is the back.

v. If un-balanced formation and your side is strong side with 3-4 receivers, your key is the 2nd receiver in.

vi. If quads to your side, let them declare after the snap.

b. SNAP-TACKLE-BACK.

c. Is the pass behind the line of scrimmage thrown forward or backward?

d. Must know if the pass is thrown from beyond the neutral zone.

e. Must know if the pass crosses the line of scrimmage.

f. Observe where ineligible linemen are at the time the passer releases the ball.

g. Stay at line of scrimmage until the ball crosses, then move to get progress.

h. Stay with your receiver as long as possible; until another receiver enters your area or the pass is thrown. Know where the ball is. Never guard air.

i. You have progress to the B’s 2-yard line.

j. Reverse fade on interception. Back pedal and give up progress to the Side Judge. Observe blocks in front of the runner. Get to the goal line if necessary. You have progress inside the 2 yard line. Clean up around the dead ball spot and out-of-bounds. Watch dead ball action.

LINE JUDGE

a. Identify the receiver you will be responsible for based on a snap-shot at the snap of the ball.

i. If balanced formation, your key is the back.

ii. If un-balanced formation and your side is weak side, your key is the back or 2nd receiver in.

iii. If un-balanced formation and your side is strong side with 2 receivers, your key is the back.

iv. If un-balanced formation and your side is strong side with 3-4 receivers, your key is the 2nd receiver in.

v. If quads to your side, let them declare after the snap.

b. SNAP-TACKLE-BACK.

c. Is the pass behind the line of scrimmage thrown forward or backward?

d. Must know if the pass is thrown from beyond the neutral zone.

e. Must know if the pass crosses the line of scrimmage.

f. Observe where ineligible linemen are at the time the passer releases the ball.

g. Stay at line of scrimmage until the ball crosses, then move to get progress.

h. Stay with your receiver as long as possible; until another receiver enters your area or the pass is thrown. Know where the ball is. Never guard air.

i. You have progress to B’s 2-yard line.

j. Reverse fade on interception. Back pedal and give up progress to Field Judge. Observe blocks in front of the runner. Get to the goal line if necessary. You have progress inside the 2-yard line. Clean up around the dead ball spot and out-of-bounds. Watch dead ball action.

FIELD JUDGE

a. You are responsible for action on and by the widest receiver on your side of the formation based on a snap-shot at the snap.

b. Hold your basic position at the snap and observe the type of play as it unfolds. Begin to fade when you read pass and maintain your 10-15 yard cushion at all times.

c. Be alert to the wide receiver voluntarily going out of bounds. Throw your hat to signify the receiver is voluntarily (or involuntarily) out of bounds.

d. Cover sideline from your original position to the end line.

e. Use Modified Fade Mechanics and maintain a 10-15 yard cushion.

f. Watch for holding and illegal checking of eligible receivers and all contact beyond the neutral zone both before and after the pass is thrown.

g. Stay with your receiver as long as possible; until another receiver enters your area or the pass is thrown. Know where the ball is. Never guard air.

h. Once the pass is thrown, all eyes go to the ball.

i. When ruling on a pass reception involving the sideline, watch foot and then ball. Give only incomplete signal if incomplete, timeout signal if complete.

j. Coordinate close sideline plays with Line Judge.

k. Reverse fade on interceptions

i. On interception run backs, switch responsibilities with the Line Judge.

ii. You are responsible for the runner’s forward progress to the opponent’s 2-yard line, the Line Judge will rule on action in advance of the runner.

iii. When the runner goes out of bounds, you will mark the spot of forward progress; the Line Judge is responsible for cleaning up the action around the play and in the team area.

SIDE JUDGE

a. You are responsible for action on and by the widest receiver on your side of the formation based on a snap-shot at the snap.

b. Hold your basic position at the snap and observe the type of play as it unfolds. Begin to fade when you read pass and maintain your 10-15 yard cushion at all times.

c. Be alert to the wide receiver voluntarily going out of bounds. Throw your hat to signify the receiver is voluntarily (or involuntarily) out of bounds.

d. Cover sideline from your original position to the end line.

e. Use Modified Fade Mechanics and maintain a 10-15 yard cushion.

f. Watch for holding and illegal checking of eligible receivers and all contact beyond the neutral zone both before and after the pass is thrown.

g. Stay with your receiver as long as possible; until another receiver enters your area or the pass is thrown. Know where the ball is. Never guard air.

h. Once the pass is thrown, all eyes go to the ball.

i..When ruling on a pass reception involving the sideline, watch foot and then ball. Give only incomplete signal if incomplete, timeout signal if complete.

j. Coordinate close sideline plays with Head Linesman.

k. Reverse fade on interceptions.

i. On interception run backs, switch responsibilities with the Head Linesman.

ii. You are responsible for the runner’s forward progress to the opponent’s 2-yard line, the Head Linesman will rule on action in advance of the runner.

iii. When the runner goes out of bounds, you will mark the spot of forward progress; the Head Linesman is responsible for cleaning up the action around the play and in the team area.

BACK JUDGE

a. Identify the receiver you will be responsible for at the snap based on a snap-shot at the snap.

i. If a balanced formation, your key is the second receiver on the Line Judge side.

ii. If an unbalanced formation, your key is the second receiver on the strong side.

iii. If trips, your key is the third receiver on the trips side.

iv. If quads, your keys are the third and fourth receivers on the quads side at the snap, then let them declare if they are bunched or stacked.

b. Hold your basic position at the snap and observe the type of play as it unfolds. Begin to fade only when your 10-15 yard cushion is threatened.

c. You are responsible for action on or by your receiver. Be alert to crackback blocks, blocks below the waist and holding.

d. Watch for holding or illegal checking of eligible receivers and all contact beyond the neutral zone both before and after the pass is thrown.

e. Stay with your receiver as long as possible; until another receiver enters your area or the pass is thrown. Know where the ball is. Never guard air.

f. Once the pass is thrown, all eyes go to the ball.

g. When ruling on a pass reception involving the end line, watch foot and then ball. Ensure receiver/defender controls the ball throughout the process, even if out of bounds.

h. Coordinate with Side judge, Field Judge on plays that involve the sideline/end line and plays snapped from 5-yard line and in.

PUNTS

REFEREE

a. Take position 3 to 5 yards behind the kicker and wider than the normal tight end position on the kicking leg side. See the ball from snap to kick. Be in position to see blockers, rushers, and kicker at the same time.

b. Count the kicking team.

c. Be alert to the kicking team’s substitution process and timing.

d. Warn the kicker if he is near the end line prior to the snap.

e. Watch blocking and action by players behind the line of scrimmage.

f. Observe action by and against the kicker. Give signal #11 if ball is tipped.

g. If the kick goes toward the sideline, move to the spot of the kick, observe the flight of the ball and use arm signals to assist covering official (Field Judge/Side Judge) in determining the out of bounds spot. Protecting the kicker is your first responsibility.

h. If the kick remains in bounds, observe players (especially the kicker) while proceeding down field.

i. If the kick is caught or recovered inbounds, be ready to use reverse fade on the return and be at the goal line when the runner crosses.

UMPIRE

a. Line up a little deeper (7-9 yards) than normal position.

b. Always able to see the snapper’s hands.

c. Stay over ball a little longer while teams change personnel.

d. Count kickers and signal to Referee and flanks.

e. Get numbers of interior lineman. Know exception rules.

f. Remind defense to avoid the snapper.

g. Watch for illegal blocks and holding by both teams.

h. Pay particular attention to the team B player over the snapper.

i. Pivot once the ball passes overhead and watch action ahead of the runner.

j. On a fake or broken play, move to the line of scrimmage and cover play.

HEAD LINESMAN

a. Same position as any scrimmage play.

b. Stay at the line of scrimmage until the ball crosses, move downfield, watch the fair catch signaler for blocking if he does not touch the ball.

c. Reverse fade on punt returns. Back pedal and give up progress to the Side Judge. Observe blocks in front of the runner. Get to the goal line if necessary. You have progress inside the 2-yard line. Clean up around the dead ball spot and out-of-bounds. Watch dead ball action.

d. Look for legal and illegal blocks into the kicker.

e. On a bad snap/ blocked kick behind line of scrimmage, bracket the ball with the Referee if you are facing him. Line Judge has the line of scrimmage.

f. On fakes, know eligible receivers.

LINE JUDGE

a. Same position as any scrimmage play.

b. Stay at the line of scrimmage until the ball crosses, then move slowly downfield.

c. Reverse fade on punt returns. Back pedal and give up progress to the Side Judge. Observe blocks in front of the runner. Get to the goal line if necessary. You have progress inside the 2-yard line. Clean up around the dead ball spot and out-of-bounds. Watch dead ball action.

d. Look for legal and illegal blocks into the kicker.

e. On a bad snap/blocked kick behind line of scrimmage, bracket the ball with the Referee if you are facing him. Head Linesman has the line of scrimmage.

f. On fakes, know eligible receivers.

FIELD JUDGE

a. Take a position on the sideline on your side of field no less than five yards behind the deepest receiver.

b. When the ball is snapped at approximately Team A’s 45 yardline, take an initial position at the goal line pylon.

c. You have responsibility for contact on or by your flyer(s).

d. Have a beanbag in your hand.

e. Count Team B players and verify count with Back Judge and Side Judge.

f. Be alert for blocked or fake kick. You have the widest receiver.

g. Be alert to kicker's ‘flyers’ voluntarily going out of bounds. Be ready to throw your flag at the spot of the player’s return to the field and participation in the play.

h. You must see any illegal blocks on or by your flyer, especially blocks into the receiver.

i. Be alert for fair catch signals and the actions of players when a signal is given. The offside official is responsible for blocking by the fair catch signaler.

j. Be prepared to rule on interference with the catch opportunity by your gunner.

k. When it is obvious that the kicked ball will not land in your area of responsibility:

i. Hold fast in your original position while the ball is in the air.

ii. Cover action in front of the receiver and then cover action around the runner if the play is away from you. Use cross field mechanics to assist the Side Judge with progress.

iii. Be ready to clean up and be alert for dead ball fouls.

l. If the return is to your side, take over the runner when he takes a step after catching the ball. You are responsible for his forward progress to the opponent’s 2 yard line.

i. The Line Judge will cover action in front of the runner and is responsible for cleaning up the action around the play and in the team area.

ii. When the ball comes down near your sideline, be prepared to rule on the receiver's position when he first touches the ball; inbounds or out of bounds.

iii. Be in position to rule on the legality of hand-offs on the kick return.

iv. On a kick out of bounds in flight, look to the Referee hacking waving you in position to the out of bounds spot. You are responsible for the out of bounds spot on kicks that come down inbounds and then roll out of bounds on your sideline. 

SIDE JUDGE

a. Take a position on the sideline on your side of field no less than five yards behind the deepest receiver.

b. When the ball is snapped at approximately Team A’s 45-yard line, take an initial position at the goal line pylon.

c. You have responsibility for contact on or by your flyer(s).

d. Have a beanbag in your hand.

e. Count Team B players and verify count with Back Judge and Field Judge.

f. Be alert for blocked or fake kick. You have the widest receiver.

g. Be alert to kicker's ‘flyers’ voluntarily going out of bounds. Be ready to throw your flag at the spot of the player’s return to the field and participation in the play.

h. You must see any illegal blocks on or by your flyer, especially blocks into the receiver.

i. Be alert for fair catch signals and the actions of players when a signal is given. The offside official is responsible for blocking by the fair catch signaler.

j. Be prepared to rule on interference with the catch opportunity by your gunner.

k. When it is obvious that the kicked ball will not land in your area of responsibility:

i. Hold fast in your original position while the ball is in the air.

ii. Cover action in front of the receiver and then cover action around the runner if the play is away from you. Use crossfield mechanics to assist the Field Judge with progress.

iii. Be ready to clean up and be alert for dead ball fouls.

l. If the return is to your side, take over the runner when he takes a step after catching the ball. You are responsible for his forward progress to the opponent’s 2 yard line.

i. The Head Linesman will cover action in front of the runner and is responsible for cleaning up the action around the play and in the team area.

ii. When the ball comes down near your sideline, be prepared to rule on the receiver's position when he first touches the ball; inbounds or out of bounds.

iii. Be in position to rule on the legality of hand-offs on the kick return.

iv. On a kick out of bounds in flight, look to the Referee hacking you in position to the out of bounds spot. You are responsible for the out of bounds spot on kicks that come down inbounds and then roll out of bounds on your sideline.

BACK JUDGE

a. Basic position is 7-10 yards behind and just outside shoulder of the deepest punt receiver, always inside the hash marks. Have a bean bag in your hand.

b. Count defense and confirm with Field Judge and Side Judge.

c. You are responsible for the receiver and the ball from sideline to sideline with help from the Field Judge and Side Judge when the ball comes down outside the numbers.

d. Find the path of the ball and move with the receiver to maintain a 45° viewing angle when ball is caught.

e. Rule touchback if the kick crosses R's goal line.

f. Rule on legality of a fair catch signal, validity of the catch, kick catch interference, first touching and batting by the kicking team.

g. Follow the ball if it is not caught.

h. Bean bag the spot of first touching or the spot where the kick ends.

i. After the catch, cover the runner until he takes the first step and then observe blocks around the runner.

j. On the return, observe action around the runner while remaining between the hash marks. Field Judge and Side Judge have coverage of the runner and forward progress.

k. Coordinate with Field Judge, Side Judge on fakes and blocked punts.

FIELD GOALS AND TRYS

REFEREE

a. Take position mid-way between the holder and kicker outside the normal tight end position and facing the holder. See the ball from snap to kick. Be in position to see blockers, rushers, and kicker at the same time.

b. Referee is responsible for action by and on the kicker and holder.

c. Be alert to possible fakes and/or bad snaps. Holder must rise to hand, pitch or pass.

d. On broken plays and fakes, observe action behind the line of scrimmage and the runner while he is behind the neutral zone.

e. Cover passer if runner throws a legal forward pass.

f. If the kick is caught or recovered inbounds, be ready to use reverse fade on the return and be at the goal line when runner crosses.

UMPIRE

a. Line up behind the defense, always able to see the snapper’s hands.

b. Focus is on the snapper.

c. Count kickers.

d. Get numbers of interior lineman. Know exception rules.

e. Watch for holding, pull-and-shoot, and personal fouls.

f. Watch for the defense using a teammate or opponent to gain leverage to block the kick.

g. Hustle to the end of the kick and clean up action.

h. On a fake or broken play, move to the line of scrimmage and cover play.

HEAD LINESMAN

a. Same position as any scrimmage play.

b. Know down & distance, count offense, signal with Line Judge, identify formation, identify eligible receivers, ensure legal snap, watch wing back, think kick rules, who’s facing Referee to help with blocked kick?

c. Watch action of widest blocker on the line of scrimmage.

d. Help Referee if rusher is illegally blocked into the kicker.

e. You have the goal line and must be at the pylon and ready to rule on a possible touchdown.

f. If you are facing the Referee, you will retreat on blocked kicks and snaps over the kicker/holder’s head and bracket the play with the Referee to the opposite goal line. If you are not facing the referee, you will remain on line of scrimmage.

g. You have sideline responsibility to the goal line on a runback.

LINE JUDGE

a. Same position as any scrimmage play.

b. Know down & distance, count offense, signal with Line Judge, identify formation, identify eligible receivers, ensure legal snap, watch wing back, think kick rules, who’s facing Referee to help with blocked kick?

c. Watch action of widest blocker on the line of scrimmage.

d. Help Referee if rusher is illegally blocked into the kicker.

e. You have the goal line and must be at the pylon and ready to rule on a possible touchdown.

f. If you are facing the Referee, you will retreat on blocked kicks and snaps over the kicker/holder’s head and bracket the play with the Referee to the opposite goal line. If you are not facing the referee, you will remain on line of scrimmage.

g. You have sideline responsibility to the goal line on a runback.

FIELD JUDGE

a. Take a position just behind the upright of the goal on your side of the field.

b. Count Team B players and verify count with the Back Judge and Side Judge.

c. Read the offensive formation and determine your player responsibility/eligibility.

d. Be ready to rule on success or failure of field goal/try attempt.

e. Be alert for fake field goal attempts; be ready to cover runs or passes.

f. Be alert for the ball striking an upright or crossbar. If the ball strikes your upright, you are responsible for the ruling.

g. Coordinate with Back Judge on fakes and blocked kicks

1. When the ball is snapped outside the 20-yard line:

a. Move at a 45-degree angle to the intersection of the goal line and sideline on your side of the field. Be at the pylon. You have goal line responsibility.

2. When the ball is snapped on or inside the 20-yard line:

a. Move to the intersection of the end line and sideline on your side of the field. Be at the pylon. Line Judge has goal line responsibility.

b. If the return is to your side of the field, you are responsible for forward progress to the opponent’s goal line. The Line Judge will cover action in front of the runner and is responsible for cleaning up the action around the play and in the team area.

SIDE JUDGE

a. Take a position as a “Double Umpire” behind the defensive line.

b. The Side Judge should be on the strong side of the kicking team formation. Communicate your position with the Umpire.

c. Count Team B players and verify count with Field Judge and Back Judge.

d. Observe line play on your side of the center.

e. Be alert for fake field goal attempts; be ready to cover runs or passes.

f. If there is a Swinging Gate Formation, start in your normal scrimmage play position then shift to the Double Umpire position if the offense shifts.

BACK JUDGE

a. Take a position just behind the upright of the goal post on the Head Linesman side opposite the Field Judge.

b. Make sure Field Judge is under the goal post with you.

c. Give the illegal procedure signal to remind you and other officials that the ball is live during kick on a “field goal” attempt.

d. Count Team B players and confirm with Field Judge and Side Judge.

e. Read the offensive formation and determine your player responsibility/eligibility.

f. Be ready to rule on success or failure of field goal/try attempt. Whistle at the end of play when appropriate.

g. Be alert for fake field goal or try attempts; be ready to cover runs or passes. You are responsible for the end line

h. Be alert for the ball striking an upright or crossbar. If the ball strikes the crossbar or upright, you are responsible for the ruling.

i. If a long field goal attempt is short, you may need to move to the goal line and rule on possible touch.

j. Coordinate with Field Judge on fakes and blocked kicks.

GOAL LINE PLAYS

REFEREE

a. Positioning is the same as for any other scrimmage play.

b. COMMUNICATE AND THINK GOAL LINE.

c. Reverse Goal Line Mechanics – Be prepared to rule on the ball and the goal line (safety)

d. Start on a position on or near the end line.

e. From seven-yard line and in, you are responsible for knowing if a pass is forward or backward.

UMPIRE

a. Use basic scrimmage play mechanics.

b. In the pregame, discuss with the flanks how to communicate position of the ball.

c. Never signal touchdown.

d. From seven yard-line and in be prepared to assist in determining if the passer was beyond the line of scrimmage and if the pass is beyond the line of scrimmage.

HEAD LINESMAN

a. Goal line responsibility when the ball is snapped from the 7 yard-line and in.

b. Same position as any scrimmage play.

c. Get to the goal line immediately and officiate the play-rule on progress from there.

d. Stay wide & know the location of the ball when it crosses the goal line.

Reverse Goal Line Mechanics

a. Goal line responsibility when the ball is snapped from the 3 yard-line back.

b. Between 3 and 10-yard line, read the play and react to the goal line if necessary.

c. Same position as any scrimmage play.

d. Get to the goal line immediately and officiate the play, rule on progress from there.

LINE JUDGE

a. Goal line responsibility when the ball is snapped from the 7 yard-line and in.

b. Same position as any scrimmage play.

c. Get to the goal line immediately and officiate the play-rule on progress from there.

d. Stay wide & know the location of the ball when it crosses the goal line.

Reverse Goal Line Mechanics

a. Goal line responsibility when the ball is snapped from the 3 yard-line back.

b. Between 3 and 10-yard line, hold the line of scrimmage

c. Same position as any scrimmage play.

d. Get to the goal line immediately and officiate the play, rule on progress from there.

e. When ball snapped between Team A’s five and ten yard lines, be prepared to move to the goal line if the play dictates.

FIELD JUDGE

a. When the ball is snapped outside the 25, assume your normal position. You are responsible for being at the goal line when the runner crosses.

b. When the ball is snapped from the 25 to the 7-yard line, your position is on the goal line at the pylon. WHEN THE PLAY TERMINATES ON OR NEAR THE GOAL LINE, YOU MUST BE ON THE GOAL LINE TO RULE ON PLAY. You are responsible for progress inside the last two yards.

c. When the ball is snapped from the 7-yard line in, take a position at the pylon at the intersection of your sideline and the end line.

d. Count Team B players and verify count with Back Judge and Side Judge.

e. Read the offensive formation and determine your player responsibility.

f. Concentrate your attention on the sideline in the end zone and the end line in your area.

g. Coordinate with Back Judge on plays that involve the end line.

SIDE JUDGE

a. When the ball is snapped outside the 25, assume your normal position. You are responsible for being at the goal line when the runner crosses.

b. When the ball is snapped from the 25 to the 7-yard line, your position is on the goal line at the pylon. WHEN THE PLAY TERMINATES ON OR NEAR THE GOAL LINE, YOU MUST BE ON THE GOAL LINE TO RULE ON PLAY. You are responsible for progress inside the last two yards.

c. When the ball is snapped from the 7-yard line in, take a position at the pylon at the intersection of your sideline and the end line.

d. Count Team B players and verify count with Back Judge and Field Judge.

e. Read the offensive formation and determine your player responsibility.

f. Concentrate your attention on the sideline in the end zone and the end line in your area.

g. Coordinate with Back Judge on plays that involve the end line.

BACK JUDGE

a. Start on the end line near the middle of the field.

b. Same coverage of receivers as for normal plays.

GENERAL GAME DUTIES

REFEREE

a. Substitutions and counting players

b. R (and U) is primarily responsible for counting offense and kickers. Count offense while in their huddle; observe their substitution process.

c. Give visual signal to confirm count with Umpire and notify Head Linesman/Line Judge.

d. Must know down, distance and clock status every play.

e. At the end of the down, communicate with and signal HL the next down.

f. Referee may spot the ball on 2nd and 3rd downs if it helps the flow of the game.

UMPIRE

a. Substitutions and counting players

b. Always count offense or kickers.

c. Use wristbands for lateral position of the ball on the field.

d. Spot the ball on runs up the middle, on change of possession, fourth down, hurry-up or no-huddle offense.

e. Referee may help spot the ball on normal 2nd and 3rd downs.

f. Know ball location and be ready to advise R of the position when he spots the ball.

HEAD LINESMAN

a. Be particularly aware of player and/or substitutes entering or leaving on your sideline.

b. Be aware of substitutions to deceive.

c. Must know down, distance and clock status every play.

LINE JUDGE

a. Be particularly aware of player and/or substitutes entering or leaving on your sideline.

b. Be aware of substitutions to deceive.

c. Must know down, distance and clock status every play.

FIELD JUDGE

a. Be particularly aware of player and/or substitutes entering or leaving on your sideline.

b. Be aware of substitutions to deceive.

c. Must know down, distance and clock status every play.

d. Count B players before every down and confirm with Back Judge and Side Judge.

SIDE JUDGE

a. You have primary responsibility for the game clock. Know status of the clock before and after every play. Keep the game clock during the game.

b. You are responsible for all other timing except for the 25-second play clock.

c. Be particularly aware of player and/or substitutes entering or leaving on your sideline.

d. Be aware of substitutions to deceive.

e. Must know down, distance and clock status every play.

f. Count B players before every down and confirm with Back Judge and Field Judge.

BACK JUDGE

a. You are responsible for the 25-second play clock. Call delay of game penalty if the ball is still on the ground after observing the play clock reading “00”.

b. Know status of the game clock before and after every play.

c. Be aware of substitutions to deceive.

d. Must know down, distance and clock status every play.

PENALTY ENFORCEMENT

REFEREE

N/A

UMPIRE

N/A

HEAD LINESMAN

a. Mark off all penalties with the U. Verify accuracy.

b. All officials are responsible to verify that the penalty has been properly enforced.

LINE JUDGE

a. Stay at the enforcement spot until the march-off is complete, then verify accuracy.

b. All officials are responsible to verify that the penalty has been properly enforced.

FIELD JUDGE

a. You are responsible for reporting the type of foul, number of player who fouled and a brief description of ‘what he did’ to the Head Coach on your sideline.

b. All officials are responsible to verify that the penalty has been properly enforced.

SIDE JUDGE

a. You are responsible for reporting the type of foul, number of player who fouled and a brief description of ‘what he did’ to the Head Coach on your sideline.

b. All officials are responsible to verify that the penalty has been properly enforced.

BACK JUDGE

a. Cover the dead ball spot and/or flags thrown by other officials if you are not involved.

b. All officials are responsible to verify that the penalty has been properly enforced.

MEASUREMENTS

REFEREE

a. When spotting the ball after each play, be alert to the possible need for a measurement.

b. Avoid unnecessary measurements; however, if in doubt, measure.

c. When the ball becomes dead in the side zone or out of bounds, the measurement should be from at the dead ball spot.

d. Once the chain is down, face the press box and rule whether or not the ball is beyond the front stake. Signal appropriately (1st down or uses hands or fingers to indicate the distance that the ball is short of the 1st down).

e. If the ball is short and in the side zone, grasp the chain with the link that will be used to place the ball, and bring the ball with you to re-set the ball at the proper inbounds location, or have the Side Judge or Field Judge provide you with a new ball if considered necessary.

UMPIRE

a. Pull the forward stake.

HEAD LINESMAN

a. Box is at the forward stake with the old down. Take the clip into the field.

b. If not a first down, personally reset the chains.

LINE JUDGE

a. Provide the spot on the appropriate line to place the clip.

FIELD JUDGE

a. Ensure that players and/or officials do not block a view of the ball from the press box.

SIDE JUDGE

a. Ensure that players and/or officials do not block a view of the ball from the press box.

BACK JUDGE

a. Hold the ball. Your back should be to the defensive side of the field.

Fade Mechanics

At the snap the Field Judge/Back Judge/Side Judge are to read their keys and the play and react accordingly.  

If the receiver’s action at the snap indicates a run or short pass pattern

a. Maintain initial position until cushion (at least 7 to 10 yards from the receiver) is threatened. At that time, begin to fade remaining at least 7 to 10 yards in front of their receiver and, if necessary, be at the goal line when the receiver/runner crosses the goal.

If their receiver’s action at the snap indicates a deep pass pattern

a. Begin to fade immediately in order to maintain cushion of at least 7 to 10 yards from the receiver and, if necessary, be at the goal line when the receiver/runner crosses the goal.

b. The key is to read the receivers initial action at the snap and work to be in the best position to cover the play that is indicated.