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20 Halo Principle

Halo Principle

Chapter 20. Halo Principle
Pg 92

The halo principle is designed to not
only provide coverage when the ball is
in those areas, but to ensure that all 22
players are observed on every play.
When a player is in possession of the
ball (or the ball is loose on the ground,
such as a rolling punt or a fumble),
the halo surrounding the ball and all
players in it is called the main halo.
There is no hard-and-fast definition for
the size of halos; use two to five yards
as an average. The official nearest
the main halo is responsible for the
actions of players within the halo. The
remaining officials are responsible for
the secondary halos, which surround
the players in their area.
The halos shift in depth, width and
location as the runner advances and
varies his direction left or right.
When the quarterback takes the
snap and spins to hand the ball to the
halfback, the quarterback, the halfback
and any other Team A players in the
vicinity (possibly the fullback, a pulling
lineman or a receiver who was in
motion) are inside the main halo, which
is observed by the Referee. But once
the play moves into and beyond the
line of scrimmage, the Referee should
no longer be watching the ball carrier;
he should instead be observing what
happens to the quarterback, those
other Team A players mentioned above
and perhaps any Team B players who
have broken through the line. The main
halo becomes the responsibility of the
appropriate wing official (or the Umpire
if the run is up the middle).
When the runner has moved beyond
the line of scrimmage, all halos shift.
That’s the turning point, the pivotal
factor in coverage. The appropriate
wing official should take the secondary
halo in front of the runner, 15 or 20
yards ahead of the runner. The scope
of the wing official’s observation can be
extremely wide, because all the action
is directly in front of him.
As the runner advances, the main
halo moves with him and other
members of the crew have to make a
sudden shift of focus. The Back Judge
in a crew of five must be prepared to
sweep past the sidelines to assist in
direct coverage if the runner should
wind up out of bounds. When the
runner goes beyond the sideline, the
Back Judge must follow him.
When a punt flies overhead, the
Umpire will be in the midst of players
streaming downfield and will actually
be inside the secondary halo described
earlier (the secondary circle in front of
the receiver’s immediate perimeter). The
Umpire should watch the players who
are trying to get into position to make
the tackle and the opponents who are
blocking them.
Some punters choose not to try to
become involved in the pursuit and
simply admire their punt as it flies
downfield. If the Referee is also looking
at the ball far downfield, he could fail to
see an unnecessary and illegal block on
the punter. Even if the punter is no longer
covered by roughing the kicker rules, an
opponent should not get a free shot at
punishing a player who is not moving to
participate in the play.