It is a simple procedure. The game can’t begin without it. Before any football game starts the referee has to decide who gets the ball first. That question has been decided by the coin toss for the past 100 years. The coin toss determines who gets the first choice of
Today, it is rare to see officials spot the same football for two straight downs. Watch the next game and you'll see the wing officials tossing a new football to the referee or umpire after every play. For a regular game, the NFL prepares 48 game footballs and 6 special
When the NFL was born, only three officials called the game. Now there are seven --nine if you include the replay official and replay assistant -- with calls to add another pair of eyes at field level.
As a part of the NFL's 100th season, Football Zebras takes a look at
NFL officials wear several pieces of equipment out on the field, draped around their neck, wrapped around their wrists and fingers and hooked on their belt. In the last 10 years, NFL officials are hooked up to several wireless devices to help them do their jobs.
Every NFL official takes the
If you want to watch, buy a ticket.
-- back judge Stan Javie to rookie official Jerry Bergman Sr., in 1966.
You might be surprised how little time NFL officials spend watching the ball during a play. When the offense snaps the ball, where do non-officials' eyes go? The camera, announcers and
Several times a season, we get fans asking us about delay of game. The play clock on the TV screen hits :00, and an instant later the quarterback snaps the ball. It certainly looks like the offense is guilty of delay of game, but there is no flag.
Officiating mechanics build
If you watch a game, there are times you may notice that officials take a few extra moments to throw a flag after the infraction takes place. Sometimes people comment that "the flag was pretty late." But many times the official throws a late flag because they are weighing the impact
The NFL is using two new kicking mechanics this season on field goal and extra point attempts and on free kicks (kickoffs).
Football Zebras contacted the NFL officiating office to see if these changes are a preseason experiment or will be permanent; however the NFL did not respond to our request at
For the past several preseasons, the NFL has experimented with eight-person crews. Football Zebras has learned that experiment is on hold this year.
Eight-person crews started in the NCAA. In college, the eighth official is the center judge, who lines up in the offensive backfield with the referee. NCAA umpires stay in their
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It is hard to watch a preseason game from start to finish, but the Hall of Fame Game is a chance to welcome the NFL back after a six month hiatus. After a turbulent off-season that saw many rule changes and other officiating challenges, here are three