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Football: Referee Signals

Sports >> Football >> Football Rules

There are a lot of different signals that football officials use in the game. It can get confusing. This is a list of the different football referee hand signals and what they mean. The specific rules below are described in more detail on other pages (see links at bottom of page).

Football Official
Violations Signals

Holding or illegal use of hands

Offside signal in football
Offside or encroachment

False start by the offense
False start by the offense


Illegal motion

Personal foul
Personal Foul

Roughing the passer
Roughing the Passer

Delay of Game signal in football
Delay of game


Intentional grounding
Intentional grounding
by the quarterback

Illegal block in the back
Illegal block in the back

Pass interference signal
Pass interference

Roughing the kicker
Roughing the kicker

Unsportsmanlike conduct
Unsportsmanlike Conduct

Referee Football Scoring Signals

Touchdown signal
field goal,
or extra point scored

Safety hand signal
Safety scored

Other Referee Signals

First Down
First Down

30 Second Time out
30 Second Time out
(also illegal touching)

* referee signal pictures from the NFHS

More Football Links:

Football Rules
Football Scoring
Timing and the Clock
The Football Down
The Field
Referee Signals
Football Officials
Violations that Occur Pre-Snap
Violations During Play
Rules for Player Safety
Player Positions
Running Back
Offensive Line
Defensive Line
The Secondary
Football Strategy
Offense Basics
Offensive Formations
Passing Routes
Defense Basics
Defensive Formations
Special Teams

How to...
Catching a Football
Throwing a Football
How to Punt a Football
How to Kick a Field Goal

Peyton Manning
Tom Brady
Jerry Rice
Adrian Peterson
Drew Brees
Brian Urlacher

Football Glossary
National Football League NFL
List of NFL Teams
College Football

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