In football, there are seven officials, each of whom plays a critical role. Officials keep the game moving by keeping track of the game clock and the play clock. They also call a penalty when a rule is broken, keep track of all rule violations, and ensure that the athletes do not injure each other unnecessarily.
Officials are commonly referred to as referees, but there is only one referee on the field at any given time during a game. The referee, umpire, head linesman, line judge, back judge, field judge, and side judge each have their own titles and responsibilities. The only official who wears a white hat is the referee; all other officials wear black hats.
The referee is the game’s in-charge official and, in most cases, the final authority in all decisions.
The referee is responsible for announcing all penalties. The referee explains penalties to the captain and coach of the offending team and names the player who is responsible for the penalty. Before the start of the play, the referee is positioned in the backfield, approximately 10 yards behind the quarterback. The referee keeps an eye out for illegal quarterback hits, illegal blocks near the quarterback, and whether or not yardage chains are required on the field for measurement.
On the defensive side of the ball, the umpire is the official who lines up about five yards off the line of scrimmage.
In judgments concerning ball possession, the umpire assists the referee. The umpire keeps an eye on the legality of play at the line of scrimmage, with a focus on offensive holding and illegal linemen downfield. The umpire ensures that the offence does not have more than 11 players on the field and that the players’ equipment is lawful. During adverse weather, the umpire keeps track of all scores, timeouts, the winner of the coin toss, and wipes the ball dry between plays.
Linesman in Charge
The head linesman is a sideline official who crosses the line of scrimmage, checking for scrimmage violations such as offsides or encroachment, as well as penalties such as illegal motion, illegal shifts, illegal hand use, and illegal personnel downfield.
All out-of-bounds plays along the sideline where the head linesman is positioned are decided by the head linesman. The head linesman keeps track of the chain crew and uses a yard marker on the field as a reference point for field measurements. In addition, the head linesman keeps track of all eligible receivers and notes the ball’s forward movement.
Judge of the Line
The official who lines up on the other side of the field from the head linesman is known as the line judge. The line judge aids the head linesman in making illegal motion, illegal shifts, offsides, and encroachment calls. On improper use of hands and holding calls, the line judge aids the umpire, while on false start calls, the line judge assists the referee.
The line judge ensures that the quarterback does not cross the line of scrimmage before throwing the ball, keeps an eye on offensive linemen travelling downfield too early on punts, oversees game time, and oversees substitutions by the team on the side of the field where they are positioned.
On the wide receiver side of the field, the back judge is the official who sets up 20 yards deep in the defensive backfield. One of the back judge’s responsibilities is to ensure that the defence team has no more than 11 players on the field. On the wide receiver side of the field, the back judge keeps an eye on all eligible receivers. The back judge is in charge of keeping an eye on the space between the umpire and the field judge. The back judge makes the final decision on the legality of catches and pass interference penalties, as well as the legality of kickoffs. The back judge is positioned beneath the goalpost during field goals and determines if the field goal attempt was successful.
Judge in the Field
The field judge is a referee who stands 25 yards deep in the defensive backfield on the tight end’s side of the field. The field judge is in charge of keeping track of the play clock and signalling a game delay if it runs out. The field judge, like the back judge, ensures that the defensive team does not have more than 11 players on the field. The field judge makes decisions on plays that cross the defense’s goal line, the legality of catches, and pass interference penalties, as well as keeping track of all qualified tight end receivers on the field. A field judge also marks the spot where a play goes out of bounds on the tight end side of the field.
Judge on the other hand
The side judge is a 20-yard official in the defensive backfield, near the same sideline as the head linesman. The duties of a side judge are virtually the same as those of a back judge. From that side of the field, the side judge ensures that the defensive team has no more than 11 players on the field and keeps an eye on all qualified receivers. The side judge is in charge of keeping an eye on the area between the umpire and the field judge, assisting in the legality of kickoffs, and ruling on catches and pass interference penalties.