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I've got a few questions for Jambun or anyone else who thinks they might know the answer:

1.  Why do refs take so long to blow their whistles, if they blow them at all?   Are high school officials being taught to act like pro officials, who rarely blow a whistle to signify a play is dead?   Here's why I ask.  In a recent game, when a rugby scrum developed, even when it was clear that the runner's forward progress had long stopped, it would take the officials a good 2 or 3 seconds before they would blow their whistles.   That lead to a specific play where players from both sides were still pushing hard on a run play, the defense ripped the ball out of the ball carrier's hands, and the defense recovered the apparent fumble . . . all before any whistle had been blown.  The refs then determined that the player's forward progress had stopped, so no fumble and no turnover.  Well, if the runner's forward progress had indeed stopped, why not blow the darn whistle??  Players, coaches, and fans understand that if the ball comes out after the whistle blows, it's not a fumble.  To do it the other way seems very discretionary.  

2.  If a whistle is not blown, how are players supposed to know when to stop playing?  Remember, these are high school players who undoubtedly have been taught to 'play until you hear the whistle,' or 'play through the whistle.'  Same game, offensive lineman downfield was hitting defensive players after the ball carrier had been on the ground for a second or two because, you guessed it, no whistle was blown and they had their backs to the play.  

3.  Which brings me to my next question:  do refs have the 'flexibility' and 'authority' to send a player off for a play?  Under what circumstances?  Say, for example, an offensive lineman is downfield still trying to block defenders after the ball carrier is down, but the whistle never blows, so he doesn't stop trying to block his man.   Can the ref elect to send the player off for being too aggressive, rather than penalize him?  There's a side of me that understands the logic behind giving an overly-excited player a personal "time out" and giving him a chance to collect himself.   But is that the ref's call or the coaches call?    And, to return to the theme of this question, why penalize a player (with a flag or by making him sit out a play) when there's no way he could know that the play was dead?

4.  Last one for now:   recent game, offense in punt formation.  Defensive end clearly jumps offsides.  No flag thrown;  punt is returned for a TD.   When asked, line judge on the 'far side' acknowledges that he saw the defender jump, but that it "wasn't his call to make."  White hat said he didn't see it.  Ref on the near side later says:  "yeah, defender jumped, but offensive player moved first, so I couldn't call it."   Say what?!?!   If the offensive player moved before the snap, it's a dead ball false start.  Reffing 101, right?   If the offensive player moved, throw the flag and blow the play dead. No punt; no TD.  If the offensive player didn't move, offsides on the defense negates the return and perhaps gives the offense a first down.  Worst case scenario, forces offense to punt again.  Either way, no TD (at least not on that punt).    From an officiating mechanics standpoint, why shouldn't far side official throw his flag if he sees a penalty and then huddle with other officials after the play is dead to decide whether a call should be waived off or not?

 

Thanks in advance. 

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11 hours ago, Perspective said:

I've got a few questions for Jambun or anyone else who thinks they might know the answer:

1.  Why do refs take so long to blow their whistles, if they blow them at all?   Are high school officials being taught to act like pro officials, who rarely blow a whistle to signify a play is dead?   Here's why I ask.  In a recent game, when a rugby scrum developed, even when it was clear that the runner's forward progress had long stopped, it would take the officials a good 2 or 3 seconds before they would blow their whistles.   That lead to a specific play where players from both sides were still pushing hard on a run play, the defense ripped the ball out of the ball carrier's hands, and the defense recovered the apparent fumble . . . all before any whistle had been blown.  The refs then determined that the player's forward progress had stopped, so no fumble and no turnover.  Well, if the runner's forward progress had indeed stopped, why not blow the darn whistle??  Players, coaches, and fans understand that if the ball comes out after the whistle blows, it's not a fumble.  To do it the other way seems very discretionary.  

2.  If a whistle is not blown, how are players supposed to know when to stop playing?  Remember, these are high school players who undoubtedly have been taught to 'play until you hear the whistle,' or 'play through the whistle.'  Same game, offensive lineman downfield was hitting defensive players after the ball carrier had been on the ground for a second or two because, you guessed it, no whistle was blown and they had their backs to the play.  

3.  Which brings me to my next question:  do refs have the 'flexibility' and 'authority' to send a player off for a play?  Under what circumstances?  Say, for example, an offensive lineman is downfield still trying to block defenders after the ball carrier is down, but the whistle never blows, so he doesn't stop trying to block his man.   Can the ref elect to send the player off for being too aggressive, rather than penalize him?  There's a side of me that understands the logic behind giving an overly-excited player a personal "time out" and giving him a chance to collect himself.   But is that the ref's call or the coaches call?    And, to return to the theme of this question, why penalize a player (with a flag or by making him sit out a play) when there's no way he could know that the play was dead?

4.  Last one for now:   recent game, offense in punt formation.  Defensive end clearly jumps offsides.  No flag thrown;  punt is returned for a TD.   When asked, line judge on the 'far side' acknowledges that he saw the defender jump, but that it "wasn't his call to make."  White hat said he didn't see it.  Ref on the near side later says:  "yeah, defender jumped, but offensive player moved first, so I couldn't call it."   Say what?!?!   If the offensive player moved before the snap, it's a dead ball false start.  Reffing 101, right?   If the offensive player moved, throw the flag and blow the play dead. No punt; no TD.  If the offensive player didn't move, offsides on the defense negates the return and perhaps gives the offense a first down.  Worst case scenario, forces offense to punt again.  Either way, no TD (at least not on that punt).    From an officiating mechanics standpoint, why shouldn't far side official throw his flag if he sees a penalty and then huddle with other officials after the play is dead to decide whether a call should be waived off or not?

 

Thanks in advance. 

Perspective, I will try to answer your questions.

 

1. The reason why officials seem to hesitate to blow their whistles is  because the whistle very rarely ends the play itself. Usually, the result of the play, such as a runner running out-of-bounds or a receiver making a catch on the ground. In those type of situations, a defensive player is not going to make a tackle or hit an offensive player after that action just because a whistle did not blow. Forward progress can be tricky, and it is usually better to wait to blow the whistle, and then determine the result of the play instead of blowing a whistle immediately which automatically ends the play.

2. The coaches teaching the players to play to the whistle is incorrect, and most officials would urge coaches to stop teaching that phrase. The result of the play ends the play, not the whistle unless it is an inadvertent whistle.

3. By the letter of the rule the officials do not have the authority to send out a player to the sideline. However, there is an understanding among coaches and officials of the idea of a penalty box, meaning an official can point out to a coach that one of his players is getting out of control, and needs a 'cooling off' period without drawing a penalty. The player then can come back into the game at the coaches discretion. I do not know of one high school coach who has every declined this arrangement.

4. That sounds like a blown call by the officiating crew.

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On 9/18/2020 at 11:16 PM, Jambun82 said:

 

2. The coaches teaching the players to play to the whistle is incorrect, and most officials would urge coaches to stop teaching that phrase. The result of the play ends the play, not the whistle unless it is an inadvertent whistle.

 

I appreciate the response.   Let me focus on this one for just a second.   If an offensive player (a lineman or a receiver) is out ahead of the play (such that the QB or RB is behind them), how are they supposed to know when the play ends if there is no audible signal?   I just don't understand how you can ask a downfield blocker to know when he's supposed to stop blocking.  Is he supposed to turn his head and look behind him every other second to see if the play has ended?  Kind of hard to keep his eye on the man he is blocking if his head is turned around.  Maybe Linda Blair could do it, but I don't know of anyone else.  While I understand the easy "play is over" situations like a ball carrier hitting the ground or running out of bounds, what's wrong with a short, loud whistle to let all players know the play is dead?  

Plant got burned by an inadvertent whistle in the playoffs a few years ago, so I understand the need to avoid that kind of situation.  But to not blow the whistle when a play is obviously over (to anyone looking at the play), and then turn around and penalize or send players off to cool down when they're still hitting after the play is over, despite no whistle having been blown, simply does not make sense to me.  But I appreciate the explanation. 

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12 hours ago, Perspective said:

I appreciate the response.   Let me focus on this one for just a second.   If an offensive player (a lineman or a receiver) is out ahead of the play (such that the QB or RB is behind them), how are they supposed to know when the play ends if there is no audible signal?   I just don't understand how you can ask a downfield blocker to know when he's supposed to stop blocking.  Is he supposed to turn his head and look behind him every other second to see if the play has ended?  Kind of hard to keep his eye on the man he is blocking if his head is turned around.  Maybe Linda Blair could do it, but I don't know of anyone else.  While I understand the easy "play is over" situations like a ball carrier hitting the ground or running out of bounds, what's wrong with a short, loud whistle to let all players know the play is dead?  

Plant got burned by an inadvertent whistle in the playoffs a few years ago, so I understand the need to avoid that kind of situation.  But to not blow the whistle when a play is obviously over (to anyone looking at the play), and then turn around and penalize or send players off to cool down when they're still hitting after the play is over, despite no whistle having been blown, simply does not make sense to me.  But I appreciate the explanation. 

A good umpire or back judge will yell " Play's Over" as soon as a play ends. That reduces the chance of an inadvertent whistle. A whistle will usually be blown when the play is over in High School Football about 90-95% of the time anyway because High School Coaches think that the whistle ends the play, and player safety is paramount.

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9 hours ago, Jambun82 said:

A good umpire or back judge will yell " Play's Over" as soon as a play ends. That reduces the chance of an inadvertent whistle. A whistle will usually be blown when the play is over in High School Football about 90-95% of the time anyway because High School Coaches think that the whistle ends the play, and player safety is paramount.

I hear what you're saying, but let me just make sure I've got this right:   the umpire or back judge will yell "Play's Over!" even though a couple of quick whistles would be faster, clearer and louder.  And they do this because they don't want to risk the chance of blowing an inadvertent whistle.   That seems to suggest that an inadvertent whistle would immediately kill the play (which is what I understand the rule to be), but a ref yelling "Play's Over" would not end the play, even though the ref just yelled that the play was over. 

So, let's say you've got a play where it appears the running back has been stopped at the line of scrimmage, but he eventually bounces off the linemen and runs around them for a long scoring run.   If a whistle had been blown, the play would be considered dead and the ball would be brought back.   If no whistle was blown, but the back judge yells "Play's Over" loud enough for the safety to hear him and the safety stops pursuit of the running back allowing him to score, the scoring play would stand.   And the safety would come tell his coach that he heard the ref yell that the play was over.  And then the coach would call time out and conference with the white hat, at which time the white hat would say what?  "Yeah, well he was wrong.  The play wasn't over."  Or "Well, we never blew the whistle."  Or "Yeah, I guess we blew that one Coach.  Sorry that just cost you a playoff game; good luck next season."   Seriously, what would/could the white hat say that would make any sense here?  

In my view, if the umpire or back judge has time to say "Play's Over," they have time to raise the whistle to their mouth first and send out a couple of quick tweets so that there is no confusion whatsoever whether the play was or was not over.  

Jambun, I've beaten this dead horse to a pulp.   Again, I appreciate your responses.  I just don't understand the rule or the way the officials are calling the game. 

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13 hours ago, Perspective said:

I hear what you're saying, but let me just make sure I've got this right:   the umpire or back judge will yell "Play's Over!" even though a couple of quick whistles would be faster, clearer and louder.  And they do this because they don't want to risk the chance of blowing an inadvertent whistle.   That seems to suggest that an inadvertent whistle would immediately kill the play (which is what I understand the rule to be), but a ref yelling "Play's Over" would not end the play, even though the ref just yelled that the play was over. 

So, let's say you've got a play where it appears the running back has been stopped at the line of scrimmage, but he eventually bounces off the linemen and runs around them for a long scoring run.   If a whistle had been blown, the play would be considered dead and the ball would be brought back.   If no whistle was blown, but the back judge yells "Play's Over" loud enough for the safety to hear him and the safety stops pursuit of the running back allowing him to score, the scoring play would stand.   And the safety would come tell his coach that he heard the ref yell that the play was over.  And then the coach would call time out and conference with the white hat, at which time the white hat would say what?  "Yeah, well he was wrong.  The play wasn't over."  Or "Well, we never blew the whistle."  Or "Yeah, I guess we blew that one Coach.  Sorry that just cost you a playoff game; good luck next season."   Seriously, what would/could the white hat say that would make any sense here?  

In my view, if the umpire or back judge has time to say "Play's Over," they have time to raise the whistle to their mouth first and send out a couple of quick tweets so that there is no confusion whatsoever whether the play was or was not over.  

Jambun, I've beaten this dead horse to a pulp.   Again, I appreciate your responses.  I just don't understand the rule or the way the officials are calling the game. 

I have never seen that scenario happen, but presumably it might happen in a game. The official yelling "Play's Over" waits until he/she knows for sure that the play is over before calling that out. If a runner was not clearly down, no good official would call that out, it would be left up to the wing officials to determine if forward progress was stopped, in which case those officials would blow their whistles.

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