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22 Dead Ball Officiating

Dead-Ball Officiating

Chapter 22. Dead-Ball Officiating
Pg. 97

It is sometimes difficult for officials
to accept the fact that officiating “while
nothing is going on” is more important
than observing live action. Missing a
holding infraction is not as devastating
as missing a shot to the head after
the ball is dead. Thus, the first step to
becoming a great dead ball official is
recognizing its importance, followed by
the ability to maintain focus throughout
the entire game.
Dead-ball officiating is consistent
with an official’s number one priority
— player safety. Player fights will ruin
a football game. Officials must be
able to sense trouble and take the
necessary steps to prevent tempers
from escalating. Anticipate problems
by observing how players behave after
the whistle and using voice, whistle, and
physical presence to control players.
There is a fine line between warning
and threatening as well as brutality
and firmness. Sometimes letting the
players know they are being watched
is a sufficient deterrent. The standards
should be set early and remain
Most dead-ball fouls occur within five
seconds after the ball becomes dead.
All officials need to keep their eyes on
players until there is enough separation
among opponents. Each official should
gently pinch-in after the play keeping
all 22 players in view if possible. Each
official also has a halo area and they
need to keep their head up and observe
it. Do not stare down on the progress
spot. Chasing after the football removes
you from dead ball coverage and should
only be done after players have cleared.
Plays that end with players out of
bounds, especially in the opponent’s
team box, deserve special attention.
The wing official must turn and watch
the players while holding his spot. The
Referee and Back Judge must get
there quickly, carefully avoiding the
other players in the bench area. The
Back Judge must always be there. The
Referee only has a realistic chance of
helping if the play goes to the passing
arm side of the quarterback. The
opponents must be brought out of the
bench area visually, if not physically.
When preventive officiating fails and
trouble breaks out, officials must keep
their cool as those around them are
losing their poise. The official’s job then
becomes to make sure all violations are
identified and that all those penalized
are in fact the true violators. The task is
to step back and record the numbers.