From: "Rich Kollen" - firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Friday, September 30, 2016
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION
2016 WEEKLY BULLETIN #5
In the officiating world, we hear a lot about mechanics. There are manuals written about it, camps that teach it, and officials are evaluated on proper mechanics. Good mechanics and appearance will make or break you as an official. The average fan needs to understand that there are two basic things: (1) how officials' signals look, i.e. when calling time out, incomplete passes, touch down, etc., and (2) their positioning on the field. On every play, SCCFOA officials follow the NCAA mechanics manual. It prescribes where they need to be and where they need to be looking on the field. Using proper mechanics will always put the official in the best possible position, giving the official a much better opportunity to get the call correct on the field.
The NCAA has issued a new and important interpretation on targeting. Effective immediately, the "crown" of the helmet for Rule 9-1-3 fouls has been expanded. The new rule provides: No player shall target and make forcible contact against an opponent with the crown of his helmet. The crown of the helmet is the portion of the helmet above the level of the top of the facemask. This foul requires that there be at least one indicator of targeting. When in question, it is a foul. (The new language is in bold.)
If the quarterback is out of the pocket, and legally throws the ball past the line of scrimmage, there is no foul for intentional grounding. If the quarterback is legally grounding the ball out of bounds at or beyond the line of scrimmage, any ineligible players downfield or offensive pass interference fouls should be ignored. It is OK to pick up the flag after throwing it, using this philosophy.
We need to remember that if a touchdown is scored as time expires to end the game, and the score differential is three or more points, we do not have a try down. The game is over. (Rule 8-3-2-a) Nothing good can come from allowing the try in this situation.
Recently, in many TV games, we've seen players on long runs drop the ball before they get into the end zone. If we signal touchdown, but the ball was dropped before crossing the goal line, that's the same as an inadvertent whistle. The team in possession may either take the ball at the spot of the fumble, or replay the down. If there is no signal for touchdown, we have a live ball. If it goes out of the end zone, it is a touchback. If no one attempts to recover the ball that comes to rest in the end zone, it is a touchdown. (Rule 8-2-1-c) If recovered by the defense, it is live. At our level, without replay, when in doubt as to whether the player fumbled it in the field of play or in the end zone, make it a touchdown.
PHILOSOPHY: I watched a play on video from last weekend that was ruled as a catch-fumble. When I called the official who made the ruling, he told me the play was "bang-bang." Please know our philosophies and the rules. BANG-BANG plays should always be ruled incomplete. (Rule 2-4-3-h: "When in question, the catch, recovery or interception is not completed.") Will the defensive coach complain? Probably, but we can always sell that call. If in doubt, the receiver did NOT have possession. Incomplete pass. Keep the play from getting too messy.
With all the technology everyone is exposed to on TV games, replay is making all the tight scoring play calls. When officials were wearing white knickers, the philosophy on close plays at the goal line or pylon was to call a touchdown and give a strong signal. Since we do not use replay on these tight/tough calls, rule positively and sell the call with an emphatic signal. Even if you're wrong, BE WRONG STRONG! Much of what we do is appearance-based. If we look confident, observers will be confident in our decision.
The rules provide that only the head coach (and players) may call a time-out. During the heat of the game, officials cannot, and should not, look to see if it is the head coach requesting a time out. Officials have been instructed to respond to any coach requesting a time-out. Head coaches, if you are not in agreement, coach up your assistant coaches. If they call time-out, it is likely to be granted.
Remember, a ball carrier (including the quarterback) is NOT subject to the "horse collar" rule while they are in the tackle box. (Rule 9-1-15) This does not happen often, but if it occurs, know the rule. The fans and many players will not.
I've heard that some of you have been reporting dead-ball personal fouls as unsportsmanlike conduct fouls. Remember, to be an unsportsmanlike conduct foul, dead-ball contact must occur "clearly after the ball is dead" and not be "part of the game action." (Rule 9-2-1-a-1(j)) A late hit may seem unsportsmanlike, but it is a personal foul, not an unsportsmanlike conduct foul. Discuss this big difference in the pre-game conference, since two unsportsmanlike conduct fouls require disqualification.
Questions have come up regarding fourth down punting situations. When the offense runs their kicking team in late, we still need to give the defense the opportunity to change their personnel. This is the responsibility of the Umpire and the Referee. Do not let the offense snap until the defense has had the opportunity to match-up. That said, do not hold up obvious field goal attempts near the end of a half or game. The late field goal situation is not being done "with the obvious attempt of creating a defensive disadvantage." (Rule 3-5-2-e)
In order to have an illegal forward pass beyond the line of scrimmage, the passer must have his ENTIRE body beyond the line of scrimmage when he releases the ball. (Rule 7-3-2-a) This call must be supported by video.
I have seen videos where officials pull out their game cards to write down information while the ball is live. Continue to officiate and record the information later. You should be able to remember it for a few minutes. Make a mental note, and write it down during a dead-ball. In addition, don't chase balls. You are there to officiate. The home team should produce ball personnel to chase down balls.
People will forget what you said.
People will forget what you did.
But people will never forget how you made them feel.
Good luck this week. Safe travels, as always!
Director of Football Operations
Southern California Football Association