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Old Fri Oct 27, 2006, 03:11pm
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Flag or no flag?

Had a situation in a Varsity game last week that bears discussion. I was line judge on the crew. A's ball, 2nd and 5 from their own 30 yl. Tight end to my side and trips to Linesman's side. Pass goes over the middle to one of the opposite side receivers then cuts back toward linesmans side and runs toward end zone along the inbounds lines. He gets about 5 yards in front of all B players chasing him and then cuts diagonally toward middle of the field. The B players close the gap and just before the goalline the A receiver gives a burst of speed for the TD. About 12 yaards deep in the endzone a B player catches the A player and grabs him and throws him down. At this time the backjudge throws his flag and immediately runs to R to tell him the penalty.

Since I ws LJ my duties on the play were to clean up along my sideline. I managed to officiate on the field and also keep the surge of coaches and others within the team box. I was around the other 30 yl when the TD was scored and as I ran by the coaches they all screamed about thier receiver being thrown to the ground.

I then quickly ran to the 5 yard line where players from Team B had grabbed their teammate who had thrown down the A receiver and were trying to calm him down. The receiver who had scored TD then came to me and asked me why the other official had called an Unsportmanlike foul on him. Of course I was as dumbfounded as the player so I went to R and BJ to get what happened.

The BJ said that the A receiver was penalized for taunting because he slowed down about the 5 YL to let the B player get close then sped away for TD. I asked what about the late takedown by B and the BJ said "I did not see it, I guess next time I need to watch the players longer." Biting my tongue I then said that the flag should be on the 5 YL to which both the R and BJ said that unsportmanlike fouls were dead ball fouls and TD stands. I corrected them and said the foul as reported by the BJ happened during a LIVE ball and that only the administration was as IF it were a dead ball foul. I then asked the R what we were going to do about the late takedown and he said nothing since my flag was not thrown. Too late to penalize that act. He then gave the preliminary signal of the foul and administered the penalty on the try.

Fortunately, the A coach on my sideline was a gentleman when I honestly explained everything to him. In fact, he said, Daryl, why should you have been the one to throw the flag, you were 40 yards away like we were. There were two officials closer to the play and they didn't do their job.

Here are my questions?

1. Should I have thrown my flag immediately when I saw the late hit? Remember, I was 40 yards away, the act was not in my primary coverage area (I was cleaning up behind the play). I know I assumed the BJ had a DB Per foul on B for late hit but should I have ran to the endzone and thrown my flag also?

2. During my conversation with R and BJ once I found out BJ had unsporting foul on A should I have thrown a late flag at that time to penalize what I saw. Does the fact that the R had not given any preliminary signals yet and that it was still during the same DB period have any merit?

3. Is a late flag in this instance better than no flag?

4. If you were the R what would you do?
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Old Fri Oct 27, 2006, 03:31pm
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It is my view that if you see clearly an unsportsmanlike act or a personal foul anywhere on the field, you should flag it -- especially during a dead ball or after a TD. There may be a few exceptions to this, but it would avoid the ridiculous situation the BJ put you in. As far as dropping your flag later when you find out what you thought was flagged wasn't, I wouldn't recommend getting into a habit of doing that, but you need to get the call right. If the BJ says honestly he didn't see it, then you say, OK, I did and here's the flag. Again, this isn't a great habit to get into but I'm a little dismayed that your crew didn't work as a team on this.

The good thing about 2 (or more) flags is its hard for the coaches to dispute that what happened wasn't a foul. I've seen as many as 5 flags fly and coaches gripe, so this isn't a given, but I start the response with something like, "we had 2 flags on that, coach; you can't seriously dispute it."
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Old Fri Oct 27, 2006, 03:33pm
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first, my nit pick. Just how does one get 12 yards deep into an endzone?

1) from your description, I don't think if I were you, I would've thrown my flag either at the time it happened. It certainly appears from the timing of the "foul" and the flag throw the BJ was calling what you saw.

2) I would have dropped the "late" flag as soon as the BJ said he had not seen it and if I was 100% sure I did. You can't let a safety related foul like this just go. As a side note, I find the TE simply slowing at the 5 after a 65 yard run not worthy of a taunt if that is all that happened. This type of foul call, as described, is really looking for problems that just arn't there.

3) Yes, a late safety related foul call is always better than just letting it go because of the "embarassment" for being late with the call.

4) First of all, I would have done by best to reason the BJ out of his call. I mean if all he did was slow down, I'd be really hesitant about calling a USC. The placement of his flag is not really important. A USC is enforced as a dead ball foul. Which means you have to take the succeeding spot as the enforcement spot. This may be the only thing they got right. I definitely would not have ignored the late hit just because it's going to require some explaining on my part probably to both coaches. If you can't take that kind of heat, maybe you shouldn't be a R.
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Old Fri Oct 27, 2006, 03:38pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daryl H. Long
Biting my tongue I then said that the flag should be on the 5 YL to which both the R and BJ said that unsportmanlike fouls were dead ball fouls and TD stands. I corrected them and said the foul as reported by the BJ happened during a LIVE ball and that only the administration was as IF it were a dead ball foul.
It is my understanding that they were correct, at least on this part. PF's at the 5 would be administered from the 5. But USC is treated as a DBF and administered as if it were a DBF (not sure what distinction you were trying to make by saying "only the administration was as if it were a DBF". This is a correct statement, and tells you that this foul is treated as a DBF, like they did.

As to your other situations, since nothing had been signaled, I surely would have told BJ that he missed a late PF that the rest of the stadium (including you) saw - and let him act as if his flag was for both. If he didn't like that, then sure, you could drop your flag too, but I think it looks better for him to have inadvertently only thrown 1 flag for the 2 fouls (as far as everyone else's perception goes) than for you to have to drop the flag.

But in any case, I would make sure that PF got penalized, regardless of how bad it might have looked administration wise.
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Old Fri Oct 27, 2006, 03:41pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike L
first, my nit pick. Just how does one get 12 yards deep into an endzone?
By running 2 yards beyond the back line of the EZ!
Quote:
As a side note, I find the TE simply slowing at the 5 after a 65 yard run not worthy of a taunt if that is all that happened. This type of foul call, as described, is really looking for problems that just arn't there.
I completely agree. It's far more likely that he slowed down because he's a big boy and just ran 65 yards, and then sped up when he realized he might be caught.
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Old Fri Oct 27, 2006, 03:44pm
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To answer your questions:
1) if you are 40 yards away and the HL and BJ are close, it's probably not your flag.
2) I wouldn't recommend throwing your flag after conferencing with the other officials, although I'd be interested in what the others have to say.
3) A late flag after conferencing is probably not a good idea, a late flag several seconds after the foul as you are getting closer to the play may not be so bad. had to be there for that.
4) I have no problem with BJ calling taunting. And USCs are always succeeding spot enforcement whether it is live ball or not. As R, I'd take the penalty of the guy who threw the flag.

I'm more concerned about your mechanics on the TD. You don't need to be at the team box on a TD to control the sideline. I've never heard of such a mechanic. What would you have done if the receiver cut all the way across the field and got tackled at the pylon? Yes, you should be trailing the play in this situation and cleaning up behind it, but R and U are also doing that. You still have a potential goal line / sideline coverage. If you are at the 10-15 yard line when the player scores, you'll be around the 5-10 when the takedown happens and you don't have a problem throwing your flag for the DB PF. If you throw the flag there, you don't have any other problems.
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Old Fri Oct 27, 2006, 04:14pm
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Thanks to nitpickers:

1. A player was tackled 12 FEET into endzone not 12 yds.
2. My correction to the crew was that it was a Live ball unsporting foul not a dead ball foul. I was nitpicking a little because over ten games they continue to use incorrect terminology which grates on me. They got the administration part correct becaue all unsporting fouls are administered from the succeeding spot. Sadly, live ball unsporting fouls by the scoring team do not negate the score like other fouls would, but until the rule is changed to apply a distinction between live and dead ball fouls a team can continue to benefit from taunts DURING a down in which they score.
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Old Fri Oct 27, 2006, 04:22pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcrowder
As to your other situations, since nothing had been signaled, I surely would have told BJ that he missed a late PF that the rest of the stadium (including you) saw - and let him act as if his flag was for both. If he didn't like that, then sure, you could drop your flag too, but I think it looks better for him to have inadvertently only thrown 1 flag for the 2 fouls (as far as everyone else's perception goes) than for you to have to drop the flag.
I agree with trying to talk the BJ into having both fouls. As for the USC, it wasn't the TE who scored. It was a receiver running free for a TD who cut across the field and slowed down at the 5 yard line. I wasn't there, but the way that sounds, it could very easily be taunting.
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Old Fri Oct 27, 2006, 04:26pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daryl H. Long
Thanks to nitpickers:

1. A player was tackled 12 FEET into endzone not 12 yds.
Well, to me that changes EVERYTHING I said before.

4 yards into the endzone is different than 2 yards BEYOND the back of the EZ. In this case, with you being way out of position to make this call, I'd be A LOT more reluctant to insist on (or flag after the fact) a PF for that tackle. For one, distance and timing are hard to judge, and it may very well be that it was not as late a hit as you thought. In the OP, 2 yards behind the back of the EZ can much more easily be flagged from 30-50 yards away than your correction.
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Old Fri Oct 27, 2006, 04:29pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simpson
I agree with trying to talk the BJ into having both fouls. As for the USC, it wasn't the TE who scored. It was a receiver running free for a TD who cut across the field and slowed down at the 5 yard line. I wasn't there, but the way that sounds, it could very easily be taunting.
TE, WR, whatever - he's still a kid at the end of a 70 yard run. Not completely out of the question that he was merely slowing. I would have to see some other evidence of taunting than merely slowing and then realizing you might get caught and speeding back up. Kind of a flimsy taunt, don't you think?
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Old Fri Oct 27, 2006, 04:30pm
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This whole situation can be avoided if the official is not so geared to report the foul and continue officiating the entire play. Thats why we see so many NFL officials and College officials turning their backs on the field and following the players. If this was done you may have an entirely different situation.

The other thing is this...in this particular situation dont you have a live ball foul treated as a deadball. Score the touchdown and administer the USC on the try? And, if you have the take down after the touchdown...after going back to the 18 ... you now go half the distance.

As far as do you throw the flag from 40 yards away...I tell my guys if you see it...and it is critical....throw it.
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Old Fri Oct 27, 2006, 04:34pm
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by simpson
To answer your questions:
1) if you are 40 yards away and the HL and BJ are close, it's probably not your flag.
2) I wouldn't recommend throwing your flag after conferencing with the other officials, although I'd be interested in what the others have to say.
3) A late flag after conferencing is probably not a good idea, a late flag several seconds after the foul as you are getting closer to the play may not be so bad. had to be there for that.
4) I have no problem with BJ calling taunting. And USCs are always succeeding spot enforcement whether it is live ball or not. As R, I'd take the penalty of the guy who threw the flag.

I'm more concerned about your mechanics on the TD. You don't need to be at the team box on a TD to control the sideline. I've never heard of such a mechanic. What would you have done if the receiver cut all the way across the field and got tackled at the pylon? Yes, you should be trailing the play in this situation and cleaning up behind it, but R and U are also doing that. You still have a potential goal line / sideline coverage. If you are at the 10-15 yard line when the player scores, you'll be around the 5-10 when the takedown happens and you don't have a problem throwing your flag for the DB PF. If you throw the flag there, you don't have any other problems.
Without seeing the play I may be inclined to question mechanics as you did. The lone back on the play went in motion to my side. At the snap he ran down my sideline about 15 yards. The tight end ran out about 5 yards and cut straight toward my sideline. The defense adjusted but when the pass went over middle and then ran toward L side of field the R was cleaning up down the L's sideline. U was cleaning up the middle. I was forced to view the blocking by TE and back on my sideline. I maintained them in my sight while also viewing the entire sideline which was possible because I had already established the sideline decorum I expected and the coaches were great to keep players back in the team box even though they surged toward the opposite end.

I disagree with your point of who covers goalline. In this situation it is the BJ responsibility. As LJ my only responsibility was the players in my side zone, the sideline, and bench decorum. The A Player crossed the goal line right in the middle of the field so the pylon on my sideline is a nonfactor. I can only react to what happens and if to adjust but always within my primary coverage area.
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Old Fri Oct 27, 2006, 04:41pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcrowder
TE, WR, whatever - he's still a kid at the end of a 70 yard run. Not completely out of the question that he was merely slowing. I would have to see some other evidence of taunting than merely slowing and then realizing you might get caught and speeding back up. Kind of a flimsy taunt, don't you think?
I guess it's a "you had to be there type of thing." I'm just trying to run the image through my mind. If you have a guy slow down/jog and run toward the middle of the field/maybe even come close to stopping/looking back at the defender only to burst full speed into the end zone when he gets close, I probably have a USC.

If the kid is winded and clearly just losing steam - I got nothing. The reason I think the kid did more than just slow down because he was tired is because he a)cut across the middle of the field as he slowed down, and b) had enough energy to burst through the endzone when the defender got close. Obviously, it's a judgement call that we can't make from a typed 2nd-hand description.
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Old Fri Oct 27, 2006, 04:51pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daryl H. Long
Without seeing the play I may be inclined to question mechanics as you did. The lone back on the play went in motion to my side. At the snap he ran down my sideline about 15 yards. The tight end ran out about 5 yards and cut straight toward my sideline. The defense adjusted but when the pass went over middle and then ran toward L side of field the R was cleaning up down the L's sideline. U was cleaning up the middle. I was forced to view the blocking by TE and back on my sideline.
Fair enough, but 4 players 40 yards behind the play are probably just watching while your crew clearly missed a PF where the action was. This isn't a 7 man crew, you're not going to be able to see everything. But, a DB PF on the ball carrier who scores needs to be called a lot more than a little chicken fighting 40 yds behind the play or even a sideline warning. You're a lot more valuable to your crew on this play at the 10-15 yard line than you are at the 30. Just my opinion of course, but U and R can and most likely will see anything really bad back there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daryl H. Long
I disagree with your point of who covers goalline. In this situation it is the BJ responsibility. As LJ my only responsibility was the players in my side zone, the sideline, and bench decorum. The A Player crossed the goal line right in the middle of the field so the pylon on my sideline is a nonfactor. I can only react to what happens and if to adjust but always within my primary coverage area.
Sure the BJ has goal line on a 70 yard play, but he can't cover both sidelines as well. The kid cut across the field at the end of the play. Your BJ was probably standing on the GL in the middle of the field. Your HL had his sideline and was close so he could help the BJ. What would have happened if the kid cuts across the field and dives at your pylon? Who helps the BJ? You're 30 yards away, was he in or out? Sideline decorum shouldn't matter / nor should any surge because you should be closer to the play.
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Old Sun Oct 29, 2006, 09:50am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daryl H. Long
Thanks to nitpickers:

1. A player was tackled 12 FEET into endzone not 12 yds.
2. My correction to the crew was that it was a Live ball unsporting foul not a dead ball foul. I was nitpicking a little because over ten games they continue to use incorrect terminology which grates on me. They got the administration part correct becaue all unsporting fouls are administered from the succeeding spot. Sadly, live ball unsporting fouls by the scoring team do not negate the score like other fouls would, but until the rule is changed to apply a distinction between live and dead ball fouls a team can continue to benefit from taunts DURING a down in which they score.
Daryl, I would have, as mentioned above somewhere, used the BJ flag for two fouls (late hit PF and, if you can't talk him out of it, the USC). This way, you wouldn't have to throw your flag really late but still get your foul flagged. I think you have an obligation to flag late hits, regardless of where you are on the field. I was a BJ for a few years and I always cleaned up plays and sometimes had the late hit flag from quite a few yards away. Sometimes the guys closest to the play miss the stuff that happens after the play because it is out of their field of vision.


BTW - Daryl was a great runner on my junior high track team many years ago. I won't say how many.
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