Characteristics of an Outstanding Football Officiating Crew

Characteristics Of An Outstanding Football Officiating Crew
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A number of people have asked me what characteristics does an outstanding football officiating crew have that average crews do not.  Here are some of the characteristics I have noted.- Mike Burton, NCAA National Director of Division II Football Officials (A retired 35-year high school and college football official who has been a coordinator of college officials and is the national director of division II football officials for the NCAA.)

  1. All members of the crew are athletic in their appearance and move with confidence and are active.  Crew members don’t walk but jog to where they need to be.  They don’t just run to run, but get quickly to the spot they need to be and set up.

  2. All members of the crew use their voices to prevent issues from happening.  They don’t need to throw the flag all the time as they are dealing with issues before they happen and use their voice and getting between players to solve problems before they become fouls.

  3. They communicate with each other and the head coach clearly and without wasting words or holding up the game.  Coaches feel they are heard.  Issues are dealt with early.

  4. GTBO – Get The Big Ones and leave the small stuff alone.  The crew calls the major fouls and ones that impact the game, but leave issues that can be “a talk to the player” alone from calling a foul.  They keep the game moving.

  5. They work before and after each play being great dead ball officials.  Seeing issues between snaps and dealing with them.

  6. Every official is a strong rules person.  Not just the referee but every official is a rules person.  They step up to help each other on rules.

  7. The entire crew are people you would like to be with.  They are not only great officials but great people off the field.

  8. The crew has outstanding judgment.  They are not influenced by others but call the game as they see it.  They have courage to call the game no matter how much pressure they feel.

  9. They have common sense to let the teams decide the game and not become the focus of the game.  

  10. The Crew is a CREW.  They act and officiate as one.

Great crews have these characteristics not just in one member, or a few officials, but all of the officials.  Hopefully this reminder and list helps your 2022 crew to be a great crew that leads to fun, great games, and lasting memories! - Steve Coover