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Old Mon Oct 20, 2008, 04:12pm
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When officially is the ball ready for play?

NFHS RUles

Had this in a JV game last week. Our crew is still discussing it and I'd like your opinion, please.

4.5 seconds left in the half. Offense just picked up a first down in bounds. Clock is stopped to move the chains. Offense does a great job of not waiting for us they get set in a correct offensive formation. Our umpire moves out of the way as the chains get set. WH starts to blow the whistle to wind the clock and put the ball ready for play. During the time while the whistle is blowing A snaps the ball and spikes it to stop the clock.

So the question is when is the ball ready for play? The instant the whistle starts blowing? That is when the clock is supposed to start running. In the situation above the WH blew long enough to crank his arm around twice quickly. What does that take maybe one second? If the offense may snap the instant the ball is marked RFP then how may there be a ball in play while a whistle is still sounding?

We met in the middle of the field and discussed it for a brief time then decided to assess a delay of game for snapping before the ball was marked ready for play. We backed them up 5 yds and started the clock on the next snap. How do you think we did?

Thanks for your input.
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Old Mon Oct 20, 2008, 04:22pm
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Lightbulb Canadian Ruling

Quote:
Originally Posted by cos_man99 View Post
When officially is the ball ready for play?
CANADIAN RULING:

When the Referee has blown in the Ready For Play whistle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cos_man99 View Post
4.5 seconds left in the half. Offense just picked up a first down in bounds. Clock is stopped to move the chains. Offense does a great job of not waiting for us they get set in a correct offensive formation. Our umpire moves out of the way as the chains get set. WH starts to blow the whistle to wind the clock and put the ball ready for play. During the time while the whistle is blowing A snaps the ball and spikes it to stop the clock.

So the question is when is the ball ready for play? The instant the whistle starts blowing? That is when the clock is supposed to start running. In the situation above the WH blew long enough to crank his arm around twice quickly. What does that take maybe one second? If the offense may snap the instant the ball is marked RFP then how may there be a ball in play while a whistle is still sounding?

We met in the middle of the field and discussed it for a brief time then decided to assess a delay of game for snapping before the ball was marked ready for play. We backed them up 5 yds and started the clock on the next snap. How do you think we did?

Thanks for your input.
If the clock starts running when the whistle is sounded, then of course A can snap as the whistle is sounding. It's not right to force them to wait for the whistle to stop sounding, since different R's will blow their whistle for varying lengths of time.

I think you were wrong.
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Old Mon Oct 20, 2008, 04:24pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cos_man99 View Post

We met in the middle of the field and discussed it for a brief time then decided to assess a delay of game for snapping before the ball was marked ready for play. We backed them up 5 yds and started the clock on the next snap. How do you think we did?
I think while you were looking for a nit to pick, you blew the ruling.
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Old Mon Oct 20, 2008, 04:26pm
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Mr. Precedent here, who may be overthinking again:

If the whistle doesn't make the ball dead, but only signals that the ball has already become dead by rule (most of the time), does it stand to reason that the RFP whistle signals that the ball has become "ready for play" and doesn't, in fact, make it ready for play?

The other way to look at it is this: does the referee have to complete his whistle before the ball is, in fact, "ready" for play? I hear WHs tell A, "on my whistle" in similar situations. If they snap it as soon as they hear the whistle, I can see where that might be disconcerting to the crew (and maybe the defense, who should have been clued in by the fact the offense was ready to go), but I'm not sure it's illegal.

I can honestly say that I've never ever thought about which point during the RFP signal the ball actually becomes "ready for play." Most of the time, it's not an issue. But here it was, apparently.
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Old Mon Oct 20, 2008, 04:33pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cos_man99 View Post
So the question is when is the ball ready for play? The instant the whistle starts blowing? That is when the clock is supposed to start running. In the situation above the WH blew long enough to crank his arm around twice quickly. What does that take maybe one second?
So there is 1 second left in the half, the clock will start on the RFP. Going by your logic there is no way A could snap the ball legally.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cos_man99 View Post
We met in the middle of the field and discussed it for a brief time then decided to assess a delay of game for snapping before the ball was marked ready for play. We backed them up 5 yds and started the clock on the next snap. How do you think we did?
So the clock will start on the RFP. A snaps the ball before the RFP so you call the foul. Now why would you not start the clock on the RFP?
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Old Mon Oct 20, 2008, 04:40pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cos_man99
So the question is when is the ball ready for play? The instant the whistle starts blowing?

Originally Posted by JugglingReferee
... then of course A can snap as the whistle is sounding. It's not right to force them to wait for the whistle to stop sounding...

Originally Posted by OverAndBack
...does it stand to reason that the RFP whistle signals that the ball has become "ready for play"?
I don't know if my brain is hurting because I'm in Mensa or in spite of that fact.
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Old Mon Oct 20, 2008, 05:02pm
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Without saying whether you were right or wrong, consider with 4.5 seconds the offense wants to use every one-hundredth of a second. Maybe, just maybe, rather than using a snap count, it could be they go on the whistle itself.

The RFP is a signal that the ball is ready. My personal preference is to blow a long ready whistle if I think my crew needs that extra tick to be in position which makes it harder for the QB to call out signals. In this situation the offense is ready and the sound of the whistle indicates they can snap.
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Last edited by Ed Hickland; Mon Oct 20, 2008 at 05:49pm.
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Old Mon Oct 20, 2008, 05:31pm
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Originally Posted by SC Ump View Post
I don't know if my brain is hurting because I'm in Mensa or in spite of that fact.
Hey, we get esoteric here. It's a long season.
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Old Mon Oct 20, 2008, 06:36pm
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If you have to think about it, it wasn't a foul.
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Old Mon Oct 20, 2008, 06:59pm
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LDUB,

I accidentally left my rulebooks in the crew cheif's van Friday night so I can't cite the rule reference, but I know there is a special exception for delay of game penalties that the clock is never started on the RFP after a delay of game. It is always started on the next snap.

I appreciate your replies. I was not sure we should have penalized. It was difficult to allow a ball to be live while a whistle was blowing and that was what we ultimately went with. We also decided later a little stronger preventative officiating would have prevented the whole thing (i.e. "wait for my whistle").
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Old Mon Oct 20, 2008, 08:24pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cos_man99 View Post
LDUB,

I accidentally left my rulebooks in the crew cheif's van Friday night so I can't cite the rule reference, but I know there is a special exception for delay of game penalties that the clock is never started on the RFP after a delay of game. It is always started on the next snap.

I appreciate your replies. I was not sure we should have penalized. It was difficult to allow a ball to be live while a whistle was blowing and that was what we ultimately went with. We also decided later a little stronger preventative officiating would have prevented the whole thing (i.e. "wait for my whistle").
Same problem as your OP.

Wait for your whistle to what? Start sounding? Finish sounding? Sound for at least 1 second?
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Old Tue Oct 21, 2008, 08:46am
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Yeah, well exactly. Then we are back to the original question. When is the ball officially ready for play?
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Old Tue Oct 21, 2008, 09:04am
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Stop over thinking things. The whistle sounds the ready for play. You're really looking for trouble if you're going to start defining the length of the whistle's sound. Some refs give a quick toot. Others give a long blast. It doesn't matter. As soon as you hear the whistle it's okay to snap the ball.

Using the argument that the whistle didn't stop blowing will lead coaches to instruct their players to play until the whistle stops!
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Old Tue Oct 21, 2008, 04:55pm
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How many angels fit on the head of a pin?
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Old Tue Oct 21, 2008, 05:10pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbyron View Post
How many angels fit on the head of a pin?

Straight pin or bowling pin?
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