Rules Question of the Week?
I mentioned this before but I will mention it again as I have been asked about it by several referees & a few coaches. After a scoring play, when a team is attempting the try for 1 or 2 points they can either run or pass the ball. The only exception would be if a penalty moves the offensive team into the no-run zone, then they would only be allowed to pass the ball for the try. Please announce whether the try is for 1 or 2 points prior to signally the ready for play whistle.
Guys & Gals I'm am now spending time at both Murrieta and Temecula locations. I want to say that we are doing a great job of managing the games, however I have noticed that we are still needing to improve in minor areas. My expectations are that the senior crew members teach the rookies how to be a pro. Just a heads up, I am working on rotating officials back and forth from both locations to be fair to everyone working games. If you have questions please contact me & Let's keep up the good work.
We need to make sure we are holding our ball spots. I noticed quite a few times in most everyone's games that we are not holding our spots and by not doing so we are inadvertently placing the ball short or giving more yardage to teams. I know we don't have lined fields so I'm not expecting perfection, but with 2 officials on the field whoever is closest to the spot needs to hold the spot while the other official helps to get the ball placed. Both officials need to work together to get the correct spot and maintain it, until the ball is placed and both LOS & blitz markers are placed on the ground. Let's not cheat the players out of what they worked so hard for & earned. This is especially important during OT as yardage can be the difference in winning or losing an overtime game, and again only Junior & Senior have OT games until we get to playoffs when all games will have OT if needed.
We need to work on our communication, physically, vocally and when using our whistles. I have seen this way too often someone blows a whistle barely loud enough for the players to hear and they continue playing. You need to be able to signal your whistle loud enough that it stops the play from continuing, as bad things can happen if a play continues once you've blown it dead. Remember you still need to officiate even after the play is over as there are two parts to officiating, one is live ball officiating & the other is dead ball officiating and both are equally important to managing the game. When being more vocal i mean you need to announcing "no-run zone pass only", "timeout" and signal timeout & who called it, time warnings like "2min remaining" & signaling penalties like "illegal contact". I have heard from coaches, players & fans don't understand what is going on because the ref isn't signaling or explaining what is happening. Please be considerate & take time to announce what the situation is, whether turn over on down, interception, penalty, etc. We should be announcing these things loud enough for everyone to hear on both sidelines. Trust me when you communicate even if you have to over communicate, it helps your games run more smoothly and helps with calls because people hear the call and the explanation. We all watch football and when things happen we want to know whats going on and we would likely be upset if a penalty was called and we never saw a signal or heard the announcement of the penalty, but just the ref walking off the distance. You are the game manager and that means you're also the game communicator and people are expecting you to be professional and give them the information in a way we all are familiar with. I will be addressing these things as I monitor games, so please don't take offense at what I am saying I'm just trying to make your game easier and eliminate the problems before the arise.
In games when coaches are on the field, once the play has started they need to be silent they cannot continue to coach. This presents an unfair advantage as coaches are much more familiar with the game and can see things the quarterback or other players are unaware of or have yet to see. What I mean is there is no quarterbacking of the offense or defense by a coach on the field, even though I have had 2 coaches tell me it's not in the rule book it doesn't matter, anything that obviously presents an unfair advantage to one team is an unsportsmanlike penalty. Please give them warnings before penalizing any coach, also they will likely want an explanation since its not in the rule book. We are not going to write a 100 page rule book for flag football. You just need to explain to the coach that while in the field of play he cannot affect the play once it starts whether physically or vocally because the coach has now become the 7 player on the field when he interferes and that is unsportsmanlike as it compromises the integrity of the game. I need players to develop not coaches, so please don't allow coaches to communicate with players during a live ball. Whether they tell players to rush, blitz, drop in coverage, throw the ball to Johnny, run the ball or hand it off to Billy, after the play has started it is illegal warn them and if they continue then flag them and explain the unsportsmanlike penalty. Let the coach know that if he wants to do communicate or direct players that he must do it from the sidelines and not when he is in the field of play as it directly impact the kids on the opposing team. If you still have problems with a coach direct them to me or another field director to explain the issue. Joysticking or quarterbacking of the play, while the coach is on the field and the play is live, is not allowed by coaches.
Rules Question of the Week?
This weeks question deals with players jumping, spinning, diving or leaving their feet & feet placement. It is important to know the rules as many coaches come from other leagues and don't understand all the rules or assume rules are different. It is our job to read the rules week to week so that we know, without a doubt, what is the proper interpretation of the rules. All players are legally allowed to jump, spin, dive or leave their feet, however we must address some issues and penalties that arise out of that situation. When a player leaves their feet for any reason you need to know that rules state that the ball is placed where their feet are in-bounds and that they are only required to have 1 foot in-bounds to be considered in the field of play. This means catches where a player jumps to catch the ball and comes down with 1 foot in-bounds it is a legal catch and the ball is placed where the in-bound foot came down. A Knee touching the ground counts towards placement of the ball and is considered part of the feet in-bounds as well. This is especially important as it pertains to scoring plays. Case in point: I had a player this week in my game running towards the end zone and right before he entered the end zone he jumped to avoid a player over the pile-on landing with both feet out of bounds. Unfortunately it is not a touchdown due to the rules as neither of his feet were in the end zone after he jumped into the air, although he crossed the plane of the goal. Remember regardless if the ball crosses the end zone plane or not the player must establish at least 1 foot or knee in-bounds to be considered a touchdown. The ball is considered to be placed where the feet are located not where the ball is located, please remember this when spotting the ball, it is not where the defender grabs his flag that is the spot it is where the players feet are as many times the defender is grabbing the flag as the player is in front of them. We need to get better at placing the ball where the feet are as the spot where the play ends. Last we need to know when a player leaves their feet if they are the initiator of contact with another player while in the air it is a penalty is on the player who left their feet. Remember leaving the feet is allowed but can be very dangerous for either of the players, as I have penalize a player who left their feet and kneed another kid in the face as he was attempting to pull his flag. Know that a player in the air has no control over his body direction and it was their decision to leave their feet, so if they initiate the contact they will receive the penalty for illegal contact. Also it is very easy for a player to go to the ground hard as a result of a flag pull, while they are in flight as they have no stability since their feet aren't in contact with the ground. Let's do our best and try to keep the kids safe out there.
Guys & Gals we are really starting to look good. I want to say that the rookies are really getting a hang of the games and the seasoned guys & gals have done a great job showing them the ropes. You all have had many positive comments from fans, players & coaches. As always we need to continue to improve to keep pace with the teams as they are picking up their games and getting better each week.
Everyone needs to print out a penalty card, the link is located at the bottom of the 2018 Fall Season page. This is now going to be a requirement because I have seen and received many phone calls about penalties not being correctly enforced such as marked off with the wrong yardage, no yardage, no loss of down(LOD) nor automatic 1st down being assessed. Guys this card will save you, so please print it out put it in your top pocket of your officials shirt and reference anytime you assess a penalty until you've memorized it. Trust me I still make mistakes myself and I use the card and it has helped me correct my mistakes before the next play. Remember all penalties are marked from the line of scrimmage(LOS), their are no spot fouls. Also every penalty is a LOD or an automatic 1st down with it's yardage including delay of game. The only infraction with no yardage is the 7 second rule for the quarterback and it results in the LOD.
Overtime(OT) games are only for Junior & Senior division games only & playoffs. All OT games must have a winner, whether that means double or triple OT. Also any penalties called during overtime are assessed just as they would be in regular time., their are no changes to how penalties are enforced & all penalties can be declined except for an unsportsmanlike penalty.
After this week we should all be able to purchase our Official's gear. So let's look the part even if we are still learning the nuances of the games. If we all dress alike it is much harder for the coaches and fans to pick on a rookie and it gives all participants the appearance of professionalism and respect. You can't expect someone to believe your call if you aren't wearing an Official's hat and your hair is in a Man Bun, just saying I wouldn't believe you know what your doing either. So please make sure you have all the appropriate gear. which includes pants or shorts with white stripe on side, a collared football official's shirt long or short sleeve(either 1" or 2-1/4 inch stripe is acceptable), a black hat with white piping, a whistle, a yellow flag, 2 bean bag markers, a pad of paper & pen to write with and finally a watch to keep time with. Also please do not wear red shoes with your outfit it just makes you stand out black shoes are the acceptable color that fits the uniform.
Rules Question of the Week?
This weeks question deals with substitution and advantage rules. Their are only 2 rules that requires the referee to be involved. First is the 8 vs 7 advantage rule, this rule states that the coach with an 8 player team is allowed to select one player from the opposing 7 player team to sit a quarter, however the coach of the 7 player team gets to choose what quarter that player sits. As an official you must notify the coaches of this rule anytime you have an 8 vs 7 game, so please read the rule in the rules manual. Once the coaches agree to sit a particular player, please make note of the player and quarter the player will sit on your score card for record. If both coaches agree not to sit a player please make note that they agreed to ignore the advantage rule. The second rule deals with free substitutions. Only a team with 9 players is allowed free substitutions. The rules works as follows, at the beginning of the game the coach of the 9 player team can select which quarter he would like to freely substitute players on offense or defense. Once they choose the quarter this is the only quarter they can use free substitutions and cannot change or substitute players in any other quarter. Any violation of the rule is an unsportsmanlike penalty for cheating. Please make note of the quarter the coach wants free substitution and announce it to the opposing team head coach.
Week 2 is now in the books and we are doing a great job. Thanks to all of you for getting your gear so quickly and for those that haven't I know you will have it soon. Please remember we are all here to help each other, so look out for each other and try to help each other in any way possible. Now this week focus will be on field ettiquette, what this means is how we carry ourselves, our attitudes and our actions on the field. You are all for the most part doing an exceptional job, but I have received some complaints so I wanted to make sure things are clear. As I have said in the past you are always being filmed and recorded, so please always act professionally.
You are not to be on your phone while on the field, so please put them in your pocket, bag or leave them in your car. I have had a few comments already this season from coaches and fans that refs taking phone calls and/or looking down at their phones during a live ball play. This is unacceptable, as you are being paid to do a job and the expectation is that you give your full attention to the game and plays. If for any reason you need to take a phone call you need to wait until a break in the game and excuse yourself from the action. In the case of an emergency please wait till the end of the play, as each play only last seconds, then excuse yourself from the field of play and take the phone call, while the remaining ref can continue to officiate the game. I cannot stress enough that your wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, son or daughter calling you to ask when your coming home or when to pick you up at the field or anything that is not dire in nature, qualifies as an emergency call. Again, please do abuse your position or use your phone for personal use while on the field or for managing the game clock (buy a watch).
We are officials and as such are impartial managers of the game. Please refrain from anything that may appear as if you're favoring another team. I'm not saying you can't appreciate a great play or say nice catch, interception, etc. However, patting a player on the back or high fiving a player or any celebration act should not be done, as fans, players and coaches are watching and may interpret this as favortism. We are here to officiate a game and must stay impartial, as such we don't want people to have reason to accuse us of being unfair or bias towards their team and/or players. If you would like to congratulate a team or player please wait till the end of the game and do it in manner that respects the position you hold.
We need to make sure that we are paying attention to the play and anything that happens after the play is over or inbetween plays. We have had a few players and teams doing celebrations after scores, interceptions or great plays. These celebration acts are not allowed and should be considered unsportsmanlike penalties for "taunting." I will leave the call up to each ref as to the severity of the infraction, but at a minimum the referee should be warning the player, players or coach that they are not allowed perform that celebration acts as they are considered a penalty for taunting. Some examples of "Taunting" are jumping chest or shoulder bumps, group celebration performances, spiking of the ball or running down the field with hands up displaying #1 sign. All these types of gestures or celebrations are not allowed, this is not the "NFL" and any celebration act that can be perceived as taunting another player or team is not allowed by rule. I'm not telling you that a team cannot celebrate a play, get excited and scream or yell, just make sure it is within normal reason and not a performance that can be seen by all the fans and players.
CHECK IN POLICY INSTITUTED
Due to multiple coaches violating or bending the rules of the league, we will be implementing a Check-In policy. Please make sure that the coaches and players are available at the time of check in. Check-In will commence at least 5 mins before the start of the game and it will be the referee's responsibility to check in both teams, coaches and players.
Check-In is as follows:
1. Have the players line up in a straight line and check each player to make sure they have the proper equipment such as mouth pieces, cleats(no metal spikes), flags are on properly(with VELCRO facing outward), no shorts with pockets are allowed and hoodies must be tucked under jersey. Any discrepancies must be fixed immediately and if they cannot be fixed prior to start of the game,(such as player is wearing shorts with pockets), then the player will be disqualified from playing in the game.
2. Ask the coach if all his players are present and let him know that any player that shows up after check-in is completed, will be disqualified from playing in the game. We cannot allow players to show up late or not at all and affect the outcome of a game. Especially in regards to the 8 vs 7 advantage rule. If you are unsure of the rules please download rule manual from the website on the 2018 Fall Season page the link is at the bottom. Read the rule and how to implement it, as this rule is one many coaches are intentionally violating.
3. Ask the coach if he has any questions in regards to the rules or situations that he needs clarification on and do your best to answer the question as it pertains to rules. Also you must explain to the coach that no communication devices are allowed to be used on the field at any time, for example walkie-talkies, headphones or earbuds, mega phones or any other amplification devices are not allowed. These devices present an unfair advantage to the game and any use of them by coaches or players will result in an unsportsmanlike penalty and ejection. If you are unsure of any rule please contact me and I will explain the rule and it's interpretation to you. As always please read the rules every week so that you are well versed and won't be confused by coaches trying to bend the rule to their favor.
4. Once you have checked in both teams call for captains at the center of the field for the coin toss and proceed with the start of the game.
Thanks and keep up the good work.
The first week is always a little rough as we get back into the swing of football, not only for us refs, but also for the coaches, players and fans too. Although we were missing quite a few refs out there this week, we managed to pull it off successfully. Congrats to all those who showed up and worked single man games and/or were moved around from field to field to cover for missing refs, we will get better, with that said we have a few things we need to focus on this upcoming week.
Please make sure you are visiting this website often, as the games assignments & blog will be posted here the Sunday prior to Thursday and Friday night games. It is your responsibility to notify me ASAP and at least 24 hrs prior to the games, when you cannot show up for your game assignments. Any no call or no show will result in you being removed from all future game assignments until you speak with me and are cleared to be reassigned games. I know life happens and I am a very reasonable person so please don't make a habit of missing games assignments, I don't want to remove anyone from the 2018 Official Roster.
With so many new faces out there I need the more experienced refs to help out with bringing the rookies up to speed. I want to stress please follow the mechanics posted on the website under the 2018 Fall Season page. That means both refs should be in the center of the field slightly offset to either sideline and each is responsible for following up the play that comes toward your sidelines. Believe it or not, it is more important for rookies to be in the correct position before they learn all the right calls. The focus should be that rookies will be on defense primarily until they have mastered it at which time you seasoned refs can decide when they are ready to switch back and forth between offense and defense. I expect the season refs to make all the penalty calls, manage the game and train up their partner. This is why I am trying to partner you with the same person each week so it gets easier and you guys will be able to work together while getting better and better as a team.
Remember out there that this is the first couple of weeks and the players and coaches are trying to get acclimated to game and how you referee, so please lets not throw flags on every single penalty. If at all possible try to coach up the players and coaches with the understanding of the rules and or penalty that should of been called so that we aren't slowing down the game. This doesn't mean you don't call any penalties nor will you ever tell a player, coach or fans "that we don't call penalties in the first few weeks." If a penalty causes a serious disadvantage call it and especially call every penalty that happens to be a safety foul, but lets not call every illegal shift, false start, illegal rush, etc if it doesn't affect the outcome of the play or is insignificant. For Example: the wide receiver barely false starts before the snap and the quarter back hands the ball off and it's a running play, let's tell the coach to remind his players to watch the snap of the ball and not go off the hike call. Also let the player know that they false started and that it is a penalty, this is what I mean by coaching them up. However, if a player false starts and is 3 yards down field before the ball is snapped, you must call a penalty for false start as it is more than obvious that the player violated the rules. I will leave penalty calls to your discretion, let's just make sure if we are calling penalties we are calling it the same for both teams.
Rules Question of the Week?
We had a question about the extra point try. After the offense scores a touchdown they have the choice between a 1 or 2 extra point attempt. The 1 point try line of scrimmage (LOS) is marked 5 yards from the goal line and the 2 point try LOS is marked 12 yards from the goal line. On either extra point attempts the team is allowed to run or pass the ball, however, if a penalty is called on the defense which moves the offense's ball into the no run zone (5 yards out from the goal line) then the offense can only pass the ball. If the offense chooses to decline the penalty they will receive the result of the play. For example, if the extra point try was no good and the offense declined the penalty then they would not receive an extra point nor would they get to retry the extra point attempt. If a dead ball foul occurs after the offense scores the extra point try, the penalty is enforced on the next offensive possession. If you have any question please feel free to contact me or comment on anything you don't understand in the comment section below.
We had a very successful turnout at our paid training and wanted to thank everyone for showing up and getting some work in prior to the start of the season. The season Week#1 starts this Thursday and Friday Sept 6th & 7th , please make sure you follow the email instructions to create an account so that you can log in and see what games you are assigned. I know most of you work and live in Murrieta and that is your field of choice and while I will do everything I can to schedule you there, I do need officials in Temecula as well. So please understand I will do my best to rotate officials around so that you are not always working in Temecula when Murrieta is your field of choice, however please show up for your assigned games no matter what field location you are assigned. I thank you and look forward to another great season and as always please check back frequently for more information to come.
Organizing member of iCanReferee & Head Offiicial of Friday Night Lights flag football league. Over 12 years experience with youth flag & tackle football. Major responsibilities are education, on-field training, game assignments, rules interpretation & expanding the organization.