Organizing member of iCanReferee & Head Offiicial of Friday Night Lights flag football league. Over 12 years experience with youth flag & tackle football. Major responsibilities are education, on-field training, game assignments, rules interpretation & expanding the organization.
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Week In Review
Guys & Gals I want to commend all of you for working so hard last week, even though we had so many call outs, we also had many of you step up and do a great job in single man games. I also want to thank those that normally do not referee in our league for coming out to help us man the fields. As always we need to continue to strive to get better as I had many positive comments this week, I did notice that the games are becoming increasingly intense as playoffs approach and we need to be on our "A games".
Our #1 rule is to keep players safe above anything else. Whenever see physical contact, unless you deem it incidental, you should be flagging it to prevent it from continuing or having the game get out of control. When you allow contact to continue without penalty players and coaches start to become more aggressive and physical. We all know people are watching and players are experiencing it, so when we allow games to get physical it possess a threat and danger to the players, as it is our jobs to protect everyone equally. The reason I'm bringing this up is that I have been officiating in FNL now going on 8 seasons or more and every year I've seen it happen as a normal progression that players, coaches and fans get more intense, which brings out the physical nature of the game of football. So remember the families and these players signed up for Flag Football, not Tackle Football and we must keep them within the framework of the FNL league rules.
We don't want to throw flags on every play, so be sure the fouls are deliberate, physical or create an unfair advantage. What I am trying to say is at this level or any level of football we can throw flags on basically every play, lets make sure that are safety related, physical in nature, excessive and/or give a team an unfair advantage. Like I always say being in the right position helps you to see what actually occurred, let's make sure we are hustling and following the proper mechanics. Keep this in mind when enforcing penalties that some penalties should be first warned and then penalized, such as delay of game or coaching interference depending on the severity of the interference. An example is last week while officiating I had a defense coach on the field yelling pass it's to number 6 and the defensive player turned towards number 6 and picked off the ball. When this happened I blew my whistle and stopped the play, threw a penalty flag, warned the coach that he cannot speak during live ball action or he will receive a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct and then replayed the down as the interception did not count. Now I could of gave the penalty yardage as well and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to the coach, but I choose to warn first which was my judgment call, so it is up to you to determine the severity of this penalty and whether to warn or enforce a penalty. Remember I will never change your call as you know better than I do what happened and why you called it the way you did. I am here to support you always.
We have had several people flagging snap infractions and we need to have a little bit more sensitivity to the deliberate intent of the foul. What I mean is a center is allowed to rotate the ball to position it with the laces where its comfortable, however they may not rotate it end over end and they are not allowed to pick up the ball. Although remember the age group your officiating and be considerate when this happens. If a deliberate snap infraction happens throw your flag, explain to the player and coach what took place and what should happen as a warning first and if it continues then penalize it accordingly. Remember at this level kids with often struggle with the center quarterback exchange, so let's try to help out instead of throwing 10 flags. I will explain this further detail in the Know the Rules blog post this week, please read it.