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An official in Canadian football is a person who has responsibility in enforcing the rules and maintaining the order of the game, like their counterparts in the American game. In the Canadian Football League, seven officials operate on the field. Lower levels of play up to the university level use less than the standard seven.
Football officials are commonly, but incorrectly, referred to collectively as referees, but each position has specific duties and a specific name: referee, umpire, head linesman (or down judge), line judge, back judge, side judge, and field judge. Because the referee is responsible for the general supervision of the game, the position is sometimes referred to as head referee or crew chief.The centre judge, used only in the United States in NCAA Division I college football and in the AAF during its single season, has not been used in Canadian football yet; the CFL used an eighth official (with no official position name) only during the 2018 playoffs, but that official's only responsibility was watching for head contact with the quarterback.
Canadian football officials generally use the following equipment:
For ease of recognition, officials are traditionally clad in a black-and-white vertically striped shirt, black slacks with a white strip down the side (white knicker pants with black "Northwestern stripe" stirrup socks and white sanitary socks were worn in the past), with a black belt, black shoes, and a peaked baseball cap; the referee wears a white cap, whereas the other officiating crew members wear black ones; prior to 2019, the CFL used black caps for the referees, and white caps for the other officiating crew members; the convention was reversed in the 2019 season to match the convention used at the amateur ranks and all levels of football in the United States.
The referee is responsible for the general supervision of the game and has the final authority on all rulings. Thus, this position is sometimes referred to as head referee and is considered to be the crew chief. He can be easily identified by his differently coloured cap. Historically, in the Canadian Football League (CFL), the referee wore a black cap while the other officials wore white caps. In amateur football, including U Sports football, the referee wears a white cap with black piping while the other officials wear black caps with white piping. As mentioned above, in 2019, however, CFL referees now wear white caps while other officials now wear black caps, bringing the convention in line with all levels of playing in the American game and Canadian amateur football.
During each play from scrimmage, the referee positions himself behind the offensive team, favouring the right side (if the quarterback is a right-handed passer). He also counts offensive players.
On passing plays, he primarily focuses on the quarterback and defenders approaching him. The referee rules on possible roughing the passer and, if the quarterback loses the ball, determines whether it is a fumble or an incomplete pass.
On running plays, the referee observes the quarterback during and after he hands off the ball to the running back, remaining with him until the action has cleared just in case it is really a play action pass or some other trick passing play. Afterwards, the Referee then checks the running back and the contact behind him.
During punts and field goals, the referee observes the kicker (and holder) and any contact made by defenders approaching them.
In the CFL and other professional leagues, and in some U Sports football games, the referee announces penalties and the numbers of the players committing them, and clarifies complex and/or unusual rulings over a wireless microphone to both fans and the media. CFL referees, unlike their counterparts in the NFL and American college football, identify the city or province of the team committing the foul when announcing penalty enforcement, instead of using "offense" or defense".
During instant replay reviews in the CFL, the referee confers with a replay official, who is located at the CFL head office, on the play and then announces the final result from the replay official over the wireless microphone.
In addition to the general equipment listed above, the referee also carries a coin in order to conduct the pregame (and if necessary, overtime) coin toss.
The umpire (U) stands behind the offensive team, parallel to the referee, on the opposite side of the quarterback. He observes the blocks by the offensive line and defenders trying to ward off those blocks — looking for holding or illegal blocks. Prior to the snap, he counts all offensive players.
During passing plays, he moves forward toward the line of scrimmage as the play develops in order to (1) penalize any offensive linemen who move illegally downfield before the pass is thrown or (2) penalize the quarterback for throwing the ball when beyond the original line of scrimmage. He also assists on ruling incomplete passes when the ball is thrown short.
As the umpire is situated where much of the play's initial action occurs, he is considered by many to hold the most dangerous officiating position.
In addition to his on field duties, the umpire is responsible for the legality of all of the players' equipment.
The down judge (DJ; head linesman (H or HL) in amateur football) stands at one end of the line of scrimmage (usually the side opposite the press box), looking for possible offsides, encroachment and other fouls before the snap. As the play develops, he is responsible for judging the action near his sideline, including whether a player is out of bounds. During the start of passing plays, he is responsible for watching the receivers near his sideline to a point 5-7 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.
He marks the forward progress of the ball and is in charge of the chain crew in regard to its duties. In addition to the general equipment listed above, the down judge also carries a chain clip that is used by the chain crew in order to properly place the chains and ensure an accurate spot when measuring for a first down.
Prior to 2018, the CFL referred to the position as the head linesman.
The line judge (L or LJ) assists the head linesman at the other end of the line of scrimmage, looking for possible offsides, encroachment and other fouls before the snap. As the play develops, he is responsible for the action near his sideline, including whether a player is out of bounds. He is also responsible for counting offensive players.
During the start of passing plays, he is responsible for watching the receivers near his sideline to a point 5-7 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. Afterwards, he moves back towards the line of scrimmage, ruling if a pass is forward, a lateral, or if it is illegally thrown beyond the line of scrimmage.
On punts and field goal attempts, the line judge also determines whether the kick is made from behind the line of scrimmage.
The field judge (F or FJ; back umpire (BU) in amateur football) works downfield behind the defensive secondary on the same sideline as the line judge. He makes decisions near the sideline on his side of field, judging the action of nearby running backs, receivers and defenders. He rules on pass interference, illegal blocks downfield, and incomplete passes. He is also responsible for counting defensive players. He has sometimes also been the official timekeeper.
With the back judge, he rules whether field goal attempts are successful. For the CFL, this was the fifth official, added in 1951.
The side judge (S or SJ) works downfield behind the defensive secondary on the same sideline as the head linesman. Like the field judge, he makes decisions near the sideline on his side of field, judging the action of nearby running backs, receivers and defenders. He rules on pass interference, illegal blocks downfield, and incomplete passes. He also counts defensive players. During field goal attempts he serves as a second umpire. For the CFL, this was the seventh official, added in 1991.
The back judge (B or BJ) stands deep behind the defensive secondary in the middle of the field, judging the action of nearby running backs, receivers (primarily the tight ends) and nearby defenders. He rules on pass interference, illegal blocks downfield, and incomplete passes. He covers the area of the field in between himself and the umpire. He has the final say regarding the legality of kicks not made from scrimmage (kickoffs).
With the field judge, he rules whether field goal attempts are successful. For the CFL, this was the sixth official, added in 1979.
In CFL football, the replay official is not located at the stadium, rather at the CFL Command Centre at the CFL Head Office in Toronto.The official is responsible for the final determination of challenges made by the two teams' head coaches; and in the final 3 minutes (and all of overtime) of the game initiating a review of any play they believe warrants such attention. The official also reviews all scoring plays during the game. When a review is underway, the referee speaks to the replay official via headset at the sideline. The replay official has the final call over all challenges and reviews.
U Sports and other leagues in Canada do not utilize the replay-review process.
Late in the 2018 playoffs, the CFL added an eighth official to the on-field crew; it did not have an official position title. This official lined up in the offence's backfield, and his sole responsibility was helmet contact on the quarterback. This position was only used in the Eastern and Western finals and the Grey Cup.The eighth official did not return in 2019.
Up until 1950, the forerunner leagues to the present-day Canadian Football League (founded in 1958) used only four officials: The referee, umpire, head linesman and line judge. Over the next 40 years, the system would change into what is more-or-less equal to what most American football leagues use today, a seven-official system. The first new addition to the crew was the field judge (also referred to as the back umpire) in 1951, then the next addition being the back judge in 1979, and the seventh official, the side judge being added in 1991.
Among the various Halls of Fame for major North American sports, unlike the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the United States (which has not inducted any of its officials into its Hall of Fame), but like the Baseball, Basketball, and Hockey Halls of Fame, there have been some officials that worked in the CFL that have been inducted as members of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
Junior football, high school football, and other levels of football commonly use less officials than the standard seven-man officiating crew.
Canadian football is a sport played in Canada in which two teams of 12 players each compete for territorial control of a field of play 110 yards (101 m) long and 65 yards (59 m) wide attempting to advance a pointed oval-shaped ball into the opposing team's scoring area.
In gridiron football, not all players on offense are entitled to receive a forward pass. Only an eligible pass receiver may legally catch a forward pass, and only an eligible receiver may advance beyond the neutral zone if a forward pass crosses into the neutral zone. If the pass is received by a non-eligible receiver, it is "illegal touching". If an ineligible receiver is beyond the neutral zone when a forward pass crossing the neutral zone is thrown, a foul of "ineligible receiver downfield" is called. Each league has slightly different rules regarding who is considered an eligible receiver.
The quarterback, colloquially known as the "signal caller", is a position in gridiron football. Quarterbacks are members of the offensive platoon and mostly line up directly behind the offensive line. In modern American football, the quarterback is usually considered the leader of the offense, and is often responsible for calling the play in the huddle. The quarterback also touches the ball on almost every offensive play, and is the offensive player that almost always throws forward passes. When the QB is tackled behind the line of scrimmage, it is called a sack.
A referee or simply ref is the person of authority in a variety of sports who is responsible for presiding over the game from a neutral point of view and making on-the-fly decisions that enforce the rules of the sport, including sportsmanship decisions such as ejection. The official tasked with this job may be known, in addition to referee, by a variety of other titles as well, including official, umpire, judge, arbiter, arbitrator, linesman, commissaire, timekeeper, touch judge or Technical Official.
This is a glossary of terms used in Canadian football. The Glossary of American football article also covers many terms that are also used in the Canadian version of the game.
American and Canadian football are gridiron codes of football that are very similar; both have their origins in rugby football, but some key differences exist.
Gameplay in American football consists of a series of downs, individual plays of short duration, outside of which the ball is dead or not in play. These can be plays from scrimmage – passes, runs, punts, or field goal attempts – or free kicks such as kickoffs and fair catch kicks. Substitutions can be made between downs, which allows for a great deal of specialization as coaches choose the players best suited for each particular situation. During a play, each team should have no more than 11 players on the field, and each of them has specific tasks assigned for that specific play.
In gridiron football, the chain crew is a crew that manages signal poles on one of the sidelines.
In gridiron football, an official is a person who has responsibility in enforcing the rules and maintaining the order of the game.
The 1978 NFL season was the 59th regular season of the National Football League. The league expanded the regular season from a 14-game schedule to 16 games, where it has remained since. Furthermore, the playoff format was expanded from 8 teams to 10 teams by adding another wild card from each conference. The wild card teams played each other, with the winner advancing to the playoff round of eight teams.
Phil Luckett is a retired official in the National Football League (NFL), having served from 1991 to 2005, and again in 2007. His officiating uniform number was 59. He entered the NFL as a field judge in 1991 and officiated Super Bowl XXXI, his last game at that position before he became a referee in 1997 after Red Cashion and Howard Roe announced their retirements. He also refereed in the WLAF/NFL Europe, including being assigned World Bowl '97. He returned to the NFL back judge position in 2001, three years after the NFL switched the titles of back judge and field judge. He took a leave of absence from the NFL for the 2006 season. In 2007, he returned to officiating as the back judge on Bill Carollo's crew and retired at the end of the season. After retiring, he was employed by the league as an officiating supervisor.
Ghost to the Post is a significant play in NFL history. It refers specifically to a 42-yard pass from Ken Stabler to Dave Casper, nicknamed "The Ghost" after Casper the Friendly Ghost, that set up a game-tying field goal in the final seconds of regulation in a double-overtime AFC divisional playoff game played between Casper's Oakland Raiders and the then-Baltimore Colts on December 24, 1977. Casper also caught the last pass of the game, a 10-yard touchdown pass. The game is currently the fifth-longest in NFL history, and has become synonymous with the play that made it famous.
Ronald J. Winter is a retired American football official who officiated in the National Football League (NFL) from the 1995 through 2013 seasons. Winter previously served as a football official for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
Jerry Markbreit is a former American football referee in the National Football League (NFL) for 23 seasons and became one of the most recognizable referees in the game. Markbreit officiated football games for 43 seasons. From 1965 to 1975, Markbreit officiated college football games in the Big Ten Conference. He then joined the NFL in 1976 as a line judge on the crew of Tommy Bell before being promoted to the head referee position in just his second year. His uniform number in the league was 9, which is now worn by Mark Perlman. In his 23 seasons in the NFL, Markbreit had 25 postseason assignments: two wild card games, 10 divisional games, eight conference championships, one Pro Bowl (1978), and four Super Bowls: Super Bowl XVII, Super Bowl XXI, Super Bowl XXVI, and Super Bowl XXIX and was an alternate in Super Bowl XIX, Super Bowl XXII, and Super Bowl XXVIII. To date, he is the only NFL head referee to officiate four Super Bowl games.
The 1992 Rose Bowl was a college football bowl game played on January 1, 1992, the 78th Rose Bowl Game. Before 103,566 in attendance in Pasadena, California, and a national television audience, the #2 Washington Huskies defeated the #4 Michigan Wolverines 34–14.
The A-11 offense is an offensive scheme that has been used in some levels of amateur American football. In this offense, a loophole in the rules governing kicking formations is used to disguise which offensive players would be eligible to receive a pass for any given play. It was designed by Kurt Bryan and Steve Humphries of Piedmont High School in California.
The following terms are used in American football, both conventional and indoor. Some of these terms are also in use in Canadian football; for a list of terms unique to that code, see Glossary of Canadian football.
American football, referred to simply as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, the team with possession of the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with the ball or passing it, while the defense, the team without possession of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and to take control of the ball for themselves. The offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs or plays; if they fail, they turn over the football to the defense, but if they succeed, they are given a new set of four downs to continue the drive. Points are scored primarily by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.
In gridiron football, replay review is a method of reviewing a play using cameras at various angles to determine the accuracy of the initial call of the officials. An instant replay can take place in the event of a close or otherwise controversial call, either at the request of a team's head coach or the officials themselves.