14 Aug 2015

Back Judge Position Guide

Submitted by admin



A. Arrive at dressing room at least a 1 ½ hour before kickoff and leave the dressing room on time.

B. Have complete uniform (warm & cold weather).

C. Make sure you have the proper time and coordinate with other officials.

D. Be sure to have a stop watch as you have play clock responsibilities.

E. Line Judge is responsible for the game clock in 5 man mechanics


A. Give all officials the correct time.

B. Make sure the crew is on the field 30 minutes before kickoff.

C. Know the elapsed time of the game.


A. Work with Line Judge to instruct the clock operator and find out his exact location during game.

B. Be sure game balls are available.

C. You have the captains of the team on the Head Linesman sideline.

D. After completing your duties, retire to bench with Head Linesman.


A. You are responsible to make sure captains are available on the sideline. You are also responsible to make sure the team on the Head Linesman side is on the field prior to the game.

B. Record results of coin toss, place the kicking team’s ball at their free kick line. . Join the other officials.


A. On kickoffs following a score, you should go up the sideline of the scoring team to get a ball so you are ready when the kicking team comes on the field.

B. Move to the middle of the field and provide the kicker with the ball. Instruct him that he will tee the ball on the restraining line and wait for the Referees whistle and signal before he kicks the ball. Move to your sideline (which sideline?)

C. Count the kicking team and verify with the Line Judge. Do not let play start with more or less than 11 kicking team players. Back Judge is responsible for noting whether no Team K player other than the kicker is more than five yards from Team Ks free kick line

D. Raise your hand above your head indicating to the Referee that you are ready.

E. It is not necessary to wait for the kicker to complete his pre-kick routine before you signal to the Referee and he gives the ready-for-play. Every effort should be made to expedite the process and start the 25-second clock.

F. You MUST know if the ball was kicked in the air or directly into the ground. The Line Judge also has responsibility for this. Have your bean bag in hand.

G. Once the ball is kicked, observe the kicker for fouls on or by him in the first 5-yards.

H. The kicker’s goal line is yours. Watch the scoring players for unsportsmanlike/taunting fouls.

I. If there is a penalty that involves a re-kick, the Back Judge gives the appropriate signal and enforces the required yardage.



A. Count the defense and the kickers on a free kick.

B. If in doubt as to the correct count and you want to indicate to the crew to recount, use the squirrel cage signal with your index fingers for this purpose.


A. Take a position clear of the ball and time all timeouts.

B. On a measurement, go to the ball and hold in place on the ground to assure the ball is not moved during the measurement.


A. Should line up at least 25 yards deep from the ball. Try to favor the wide side of the field, although there will be times where you will want to line up on the short side.

B. You will always be deeper than the deepest defensive back. Remember you are being paid to make sure the goal line and end line are covered.

C. As the offensive team comes out of the huddle locate the tight end and make sure there is an offensive player (flanker) outside of him. If balanced formation you favor the line judge’s side of the field.

D. You are responsible for the tight end and his opponent on the line opposite him. Continue to observe the actions of the tight end and the linebackers.

i. EXCEPTION: If no flanker is outside of the tight end, the Flank Official will observe the tight end and the BJ should immediately shift his attention to the second man in from the widest offensive player on the opposite side of the line. Observe him and his opponent at snap and afterwards. Discuss in the pre-game conference with the Flank Officials how you will cover a double tight end offensive formation. When Team A is in Trips formation, the Back Judge keys on the two inside receivers. The wing on the strong side keys on the widest receiver. Weak side wing has end on his side and the first back out of the back field.

E. At snap to assist Umire in observing players near tight end.

F. As pass develops fade back. No one gets behind you.

G. You are the sole guardian of the end line.


A. On running plays down field, assume responsibility for action in front of the runner.

B. If runner goes out of bounds cover the action in that area unless you have the sideline spot. Escort the runner back on the field.

C. Be alert for wide sweeps that end up being a pass play. Stay deep and don’t get caught up too close. Keep R/U informed on a long gainer.

D. If there is wet weather or a muddy field where it is necessary to change the ball on every play, assist the Umpire in this chore, if necessary. The primary responsibility is that of the Umpire.


A. Your position is to the rear of the deepest defensive back.

B. Vary your position in the field according to the down, yardage to be gained.

C. You must always be able to rule on the end line of the end zone.

D. Delay your signal slightly until you’ve had a chance to think about the close one.

E. Be alert for any offensive blocking downfield before the forward pass is thrown or while it is in the air and before it has been touched by anyone.


A. Take initial position 5 yards BEHIND the punt receiver and 7 to 10 yards to the side of the field opposite the Line Judge.

B. On long kicks (20 yards or more) and on all in-bound kicks inside the 20 yard line, take charge while the ball is in the air. Follow the receiver, if required, all the way to the goal line on the runback.

C. Short kicks (20 yards or less) will be covered by the HL or LJ.

D. Watch for illegally batting the ball by K. Legal if backwards.

E. If receiver attempts to play the ball on long kicks, be in position to see both the ball and the receiver.

F. If a coffin corner kick is possible, take a position at the snap at the intersection of the goal line and the sideline opposite the Line Judge. –have a good angle to see where the ball crossed the sideline in relationship to the pylon.

G. You have to be an authority on the kicking rules that pertain when a kick can be advanced from the end zone. - NEVER

H. When you cover the receiver on kicks that remain inbounds, be alert for the following possibilities:

i. Fair catch signal.

ii. Runner on his knee touching the ground in possession.

I. Be in position to see who first touched the ball and where it occurred.

J. Always have your bean bag in hand on any scrimmage or free kick. HAVE 2 WHITE or Blue BEAN BAGS, one to mark the end of the kick and one for marking illegal touching.

K. Interference with an opportunity for a catch. Know that it can happen without contact.


A. You must be in position to be the guardian of the end line at all times.

B. On long plays from scrimmage be on the goal line in position.

C. Do not give the touchdown signal unless you see the ball in player possession break the goal line.


A. Take a position 6 feet or less behind the goal post. You will be on the opposite side of the post from the flank official who will have the pother post.

B. Verbally confirm success or failure of a kick, and then move forward to the end line where you both simultaneously give the signal.

C. Blow your whistle indicating the ball is dead. Continue to officiate.

D. If a fake FG or try, stay on backline as in any normal situation. You are not responsible for the goal line.

E. Be alert for illegal batting of the ball in the end zone.

F. The Head Linesman/Line Judge is responsible if the kick goes over or under the cross bar.

G. If a FG is obviously short and is a touchback by rule, give only the ‘touchback’ signal, do not give the ‘not good /incomplete’ signal (Signal #10) you may also give the time out signal prior to the touchback signal.


A. Back Judge is responsible for the 25 second count. LJ responsible for game clock.

B. Instruct the clock operator in pre-game duties on the field 15 minutes before kickoff. Discuss with line judge.

25-Second Play Clock

A. Back Judge will use a visible hand signal to indicate that 5 seconds remain on the 25-second play clock.

B. This will only be used at the varsity level.

C. Lower division games using 5-man mechanics may also use this mechanic. The Referee must inform both head coaches of its use during the pre-game conference.

D. One open hand will be raised straight in the air when 5 seconds remain on the play clock.

E. Do not change the 25-second count that you have previously used.


A. Be conscious of the remaining time.

B. When time expires, sound whistle only if ball is dead.

C. At close of first and third periods, see that ball is not disturbed until exact position transfer has been determined. The BJ keeps the game ball during the halftime intermission.

D. Know how much time is left in the quarter. Don’t fall asleep and allow a play to start after time has expired.


A. Back Judge can stand at spot of the penalty or cover the flag in case we need to know where the foul occurred