Officials from pee-wee games to the Super Bowl all use a very simple piece of equipment to keep track of the downs.
All officials wear an elastic band around their wrist and a loop attached to the band. The officials move the loop over their finger or fingers to show the
It seems strange today, but NFL officials used to fire a starter's pistol to end each quarter. It's a mechanic that dated back to the start of pro football up until the NFL discontinued the practice starting in 1994.
When the NFL was in its infancy and up through the 1960s,
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
This past weekend, NCAA referee Mike Defee and his crew worked in miserable conditions as The Air Force Academy hosted San Diego State (photo of crew in the downpour). Lightning halted the game for 88-minutes, then resumed with a near empty stadium.
Defee's crew started in their regular uniform. But after
Big 10 referee and Officiating Development Program official Don Willard made a mistake Saturday.
He faced the wrong way when announcing a foul. It can happen. It has happened to the best, many times.
But, the way he handled himself with a live microphone places him into nomination for referee announcement of
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If you get the chance, watch umpire Jeff Rice (number 44) work the Monday Night Football game tonight. Rice uses a finger whistle and he is a maestro using the piece of equipment.
Officials working with a finger whistle have to blow their whistle and then signal. Fellow
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It can be fun and games for the officials, too ... at the right time
When you officiate, you have to find humor in the game. You have to, or you'd go insane with all of arguing, berating, second-guessing and dangerous situations on the field. Officials can't (and
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It's 3rd-and-5. The quarterback is under center. The crowd is roaring. The quarterback barks hard and someone on the defensive line jumps. Flags fly and the wing officials come running to the referee to report an infraction. The referee intones, "Offside. Defense. Five yards. First down!" When
The most controversial piece of cloth in all of sports wasn't always yellow
It won't get a cake or open house. It won't get cheered. In fact it's mere presence will illicit foul language and boos. Be that as it may, the gold penalty flag celebrates a big milestone this season.
It is time. Clinic attended, check. Rules test taken, check. Camps visited, check. Preseason games officiated, check. It is time for the 2014 NFL season. Just as officials have keys to read on every play, I'm going to be keying in on five things as I zebra-watch from now until