How Football Officials Should Handle Feeling Like They Must See Everything

Many football officials, especially younger or newer ones, feel like they must see everything that happens out on the field. That is simply not true as well as impossible. I want to share my over six years of football officiating experience, as well as my family experience in football officiating to help put officials minds at rest.

To start, in what profession are people right all the time? That is even looking at full-time professions. Football officials are not working for a full-time job, they usually aren’t even doing it for the money, just the love of the game and staying connected. So why should officials be held to a higher standard than full-time professionals in other fields? They shouldn’t be! Additionally, a coach may be yelling at an official for a missed call, but more likely than not, that official could tell the coach about numerous plays he called wrong. No one is perfect, so don’t hold yourself to that standard.

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Next, mistakes happen. You will miss a call and you will get yelled at if you officiate football. But you must be able to put that play behind you and officiate what is being presented to you at the time. If you are still thinking about a past play, you are much more likely to miss another call on the play going on in front of you.

But what about that coach that continues yelling at you about that call 5 plays ago? Sometimes all a coach is looking for is for the official to acknowledge that they may have missed a call. If a coach keeps yelling at you, you could take the option of telling the coach, “look, I may have missed that one and I am sorry. I will have to take a look at that after the game.” That is usually all it takes to make a coach happy again and get out of your ear.

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Finally, football officials need to make sure they are in the right position. Read the mechanics books for the number of people on your crew so you know where you should be on every play and what you should be looking at. When a football official is out of position, it is obvious to the person grading the game. If there is a call you made, or may have missed while out of position, some graders will be much tougher on you because you were out of position. Those mechanics are built to help put you in the best position to see what you need to. Take advantage of that and read the mechanics books and practice those mechanics.


by Bill Zebra