Referee Reminders

REFEREE REMINDERS
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CLOCK WIND ON THE READY FOR PLAY

The UMPIRE and LINE JUDGE will signal by twirling their index finger at the waist.

CLOCK STARTS ON THE SNAP

The UMPIRE, HEAD LINESMAN, and LINE JUDGE will signal with arms forming an X at the chest.

REFEREE SIGNAL TO ASK THE STATUS OF THE TAPE FROM THE HEAD LINESMAN

With both arms straight out below the waist outside the frame of the body, wiggle both hands.

RESPONSE OF TAPE STATUS FROM HL

  1. A single-arm straight out below the waist outside the frame of the body wiggle hand.

  2. Downfield arm if the ball is beyond the tape.

  3. Up-field arm if the ball is behind the tape.

OFFICIAL RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CLOCK

Within one minute of the end of any period, the official facing the clock (REFEREE or UMPIRE) may be responsible for the clock. Indicate responsibility by tapping the top of your hat. Make certain the other officials noted above recognize the signal.

LINE TO GAIN REACHED AND CLOSE

  1. If the line to gain is clearly reached, the LINE JUDGE will stop the clock and indicate first down by pointing his index finger across his chest.

  2. If it is close (within one yard on either side of the line to gain), the LINE JUDGE will pinch-in and yell to the crew, “close” until the crew recognizes the situation.

  3. The REFEREE will then determine if the clock should be stopped to take a longer look or to indicate first down.

  4. The UMPIRE may also indicate if the play is “close” to a first down.

CHARGED TIME OUTS

Upon player or Head Coach request, any official will stop the clock and the REFEREE will point with both arms 3 times toward the team charged with the time out.

CROSS-FIELD MECHANICS

  1. Flank officials can use Cross-field mechanics to help each other with the progress of runners on plays ending near the sideline.

  2. Flank officials should be mirroring the progress of the runner at all times.

  3. If the covering official uses the WIND THE CLOCK signal for a play that ends near the sideline, it is imperative that the flank official move to the runner’s forward progress spot on the other side of the field.

  4. The covering official can then trail the play appropriately and safely. He can allow the players to clear and then look to the opposite flank official for the appropriate spot.

  5. Both officials must agree to use cross-field mechanics before the game.

REFEREE FOUL AND ENFORCEMENT SIGNAL

In most cases, it is not necessary for the REFEREE to give a preliminary foul and enforcement signal.  Once a foul has been appropriately communicated to the REFEREE, they shall quickly find a spot facing the Press Box and in a still and command stance, provide the proper foul signal, indicate offending team and acceptance/declination of the penalty, and the next down.

If penalty enforcement requires an extended conversation with the coaches/teams, the REFEREE has the discretion to provide a preliminary signal to the Press Box then confer with the coaches.  Once all communication is complete, the REFEREE will then prove a final enforcement signal.  A preliminary signal in these cases tells the teams, announcers, and fans what happened and allows the officials the time to communicate with coaches properly. 

Indicator signals are used by the 'calling' official to communicate with the crew and REFEREE the foul type, offending team, and enforcement spot.  Indicator signals are especially effective on pre-snap/dead ball fouls and fouls that occur downfield.  With their proper use, the calling official can convey all the necessary information to the crew to begin enforcement and keep the game's flow going.