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01 Officiating Football

Intangibles of Preventive Officiating

Chapter 1. Officiating Football
Pg 12

While a thorough knowledge of the
rules is important, it is not enough to
guarantee the competency of a game
official. There are other attributes which
are equally important. Game officials must
possess a combination of these if they are
to fulfill their duties adequately. In addition
to a complete mastery of the rules, game
officials must have a good knowledge of
human nature and the ability to control
situations as they arise. Football is a
game played by physically sound athletes
blocking and tackling one another. At
times, the emotions of players, coaches
and crowds run high, and game officials
must control themselves in order to
provide necessary leadership. No manual
can tell officials how to make instant
decisions, how to adjust to emergencies,
how to show poise and control temper,
or how to be courteous and considerate
yet firm and decisive. Officials who
are familiar with the mechanics and
understand their individual duties find the
intangible requirements of good officiating
usually follow naturally.

Preventive officiating facilitates the
smooth conduct of a game within the
rules. The good game official, by actions
and/or words, can frequently prevent
certain fouls from happening. A game
official must be able to “draw the line”
between preventive officiating and
coaching. Telling a coach to “get that
player out so I don’t have to throw him
out” is dictating playing time to a coach,
and has crossed that preventive officiating
line. Yet, a well-placed remark with the
coach such as “Coach, I could use some
help with No. 24” may keep the official out
of trouble.