History Biography Geography Science Games


Football: Officials and Refs

Sports >> Football >> Football Rules

In order to keep order and see that the rules are followed, most leagues have officials who run the game. The number of officials is different for different leagues. College football and the NFL use seven different officials to monitor the game. In high school football there are generally five officials, while youth leagues and middle school will typically use three officials at a game.

Each official has a specific position and responsibilities during the game:

Positions for football officials

Positions of the different officials Referee (R)

The referee is the leader of the officials and makes the final decision on any call. He wears a white hat while the other officials wear black hats.

Position: The referee stands behind the offensive team.

Umpire (U)

Position: The umpire traditionally stands behind the linebackers on the defensive side of the ball. Due to many injuries in the NFL, NFL umpires stand on the offensive side of the football except when the ball is inside the five yard line and during the last two minutes of the first half and the last five minutes of the second half.

Responsibilities: Head Linesman (HL)

Position: At the sideline on the line of scrimmage.

Responsibilities: Line Judge (LJ)

Position: Covers the opposite sideline from the head linesman.


Field Judge (F)

Position: Deep down the field behind the secondary on the side of the line judge.

Responsibilities: Side Judge (S)

Position: Deep down the field on the opposite side from the field judge.

Responsibilities: Back Judge (B)

Position: Covers the area between the field judge and the line judge. Behind the secondary in the middle of the field.

Responsibilities: Equipment

Flag: The main equipment used by the officials is the yellow flag. When the official sees a penalty they throw a yellow flag so the players, coaches, fans, and other officials know there has been a penalty. If the official sees another penalty after throwing the flag, they can throw their bean bag or hat.

Whistle: Officials blow a whistle to indicate that a play is over and the players should stop.

Uniform: Officials wear a black and white striped shirt and white pants.

Bean Bag: The bean bag is thrown to mark where a punt was caught or a fumble recovered.

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

Back to Football

Back to Sports

Ducksters Footer Gif with Ducks

About Ducksters Privacy Policy 


This site is a product of TSI (Technological Solutions, Inc.), Copyright 2024, All Rights Reserved. By using this site you agree to the Terms of Use.