Blog Entry

NFL makes changes to umpire positioning

Posted on: September 7, 2010 11:33 am
Edited on: September 7, 2010 11:35 am
Posted by Andy Benoit

The NFL just sent the CBS NFL Facts & Rumors Blog an outline of the changes made to the umpire positioning. The league is hoping to fix the many kinks that were discovered in the preseason with the relocation of the umpires to the backfield. We'll find out in two days how it goes. 
Here's what the league wrote:

In a memo to clubs today, NFL Vice President of Officiating Carl Johnson confirmed the following regarding the implementation of the decision to move the Umpire to a position in the offensive backfield. 
1.      Umpires will be lined up no more than 12 yards from the line of scrimmage. At the beginning of the preseason, they were approximately 15 yards back.
2.      The Umpire must be beyond the deepest offensive player before the offense can legally snap the ball. Originally, the ball could not be snapped until the Umpire had assumed his position.
3.      A line of scrimmage official (either the Head Linesman or Line Judge) will signal when a legal snap is permitted. The original procedure required the quarterback to check with the Referee. The official will signal when the Umpire (or the Referee, if that is the case) is even with the deepest player.
4.      Umpires will assume a position on the defensive side of the ball after the two-minute warning of the second quarter and inside five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, instead of after the two-minute warning of each half.
5.      Umpires will assume a position on the defensive side of the ball when the offense is at or inside the defensive five-yard line. For potential scoring plays near the goal line, it is useful for the Umpire to be operating in close proximity to the line of scrimmage.
6.      Since this is a change in mechanics, the Referee has the authority to warn the offense that it could be penalized for an illegal snap for future action. This is similar to other situations in which warnings may be issued (i.e., tackles not on the line of scrimmage, etc.). However, in the event of a clear violation, a foul will be called without warning.
In addition, the referees and umpires will meet on Friday in Dallas to review the preseason and the mechanics of the umpire position (A conference call will be held with the referee and umpire in advance of Thursday night’s game to review the same material).
As a reminder, the most important factor in considering the move of the Umpire to the offensive backfield is the safety of the Umpire.

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Category: NFL
Tags: NFL umpires

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: February 1, 2012 3:45 am

NFL makes changes to umpire positioning

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 17, 2011 2:10 am

NFL makes changes to umpire positioning

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 4, 2011 3:07 pm

NFL makes changes to umpire positioning

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Since: Sep 4, 2006
Posted on: September 8, 2010 7:57 am

NEVER a problem in the past.....

Now it's a huge deal for the NFL?  Give me a break.

All this does is screw teams who need/want to run a hurry-up offense.  And what happens when the ref, as he's moving into position, trips and falls?  (And you know it'll happen!)  The teams need to wait as he collect himself and there's a further delay to the game.  Odd.  I thought the NFL was all about making the game faster, not finding dumb ways to slow it down even more.

Put him back where he belongs.  The NFL already treats QBs like delicate litle flowers, we don't need this.

Next up:  NFL institutes a rule to make the defensive line count to 3 before rushing the QB! 

Since: Aug 25, 2009
Posted on: September 8, 2010 2:09 am

NFL makes changes to umpire positioning

Call me insensitive, but I couldn't care less about the reffs getting hurt.  I've never seen it happen, so it's not an issue.  I do like that the reff is gone from the defensive side of the ball because the WRs can't use him as a pick anymore.

Since: Jun 21, 2008
Posted on: September 8, 2010 1:34 am

NFL makes changes to umpire positioning

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Since: Jan 17, 2010
Posted on: September 7, 2010 11:36 pm

NFL makes changes to umpire positioning

Can't they just make a special stripped helmet for the ref and put some pads on him?

Since: Sep 7, 2009
Posted on: September 7, 2010 10:29 pm

Side judge spots it?

The side judge is on the head linesman's sideline 22 yards downfield. How is he the closest to the hashes?

Normally, the R spots the ball 60 - 70% of the time anyway. What is really lost is the look at passes over the middle that the umpire had the best look at from the inside out. That, and defensive holding. Word is, they are thinking of adding an eighth guy at some point.

Since: Jul 6, 2008
Posted on: September 7, 2010 7:39 pm

NFL makes changes to umpire positioning

It is good they are making the change inside of 5 minutes left in game because all teams that are down more than one score will be in hurry up mode. Keeping the umpire will affect teams like the colts who run the no huddle most frequently. More and more teams though are starting to use the no huddle just as a change of pace and also when they want to take advantage of a certain defense that is on the field.

The comment that there were fewer holding calls with the umpire in the back field instead of more like expected was because it was only the preseason and they dont make every call they would in a game that counted.

Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: September 7, 2010 7:32 pm

NFL makes changes to umpire positioning

Just get rid of the umps! They are so old and fat that they have trouble getting into position so Goodell made it so that being an NFL ump would not be so tough. I say if an ump is out of position let a NFL player run his sorry butt over. I guarantee you those idiots in pinstripes won't be out of position that often thereafter.

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