Author Topic: Coin Toss protocol  (Read 991 times)

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Offline ElvisLives

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Coin Toss protocol
« on: March 25, 2022, 10:35:33 AM »
A discussion in another forum prompted this topic. Not sure why, but some folks think the coin toss is an opportunity for the R to offer some sort of mini-lecture to the captains regarding sportsmanship. While no one can stop an R from offering such a lecture, in reality, it serves no useful purpose. They ain't listenin'. They are there for the coin toss. So, just get to it.
-Have the captains introduce themselves to each other. Something like, "Good evening, Captains. Why don't you introduce yourselves?" while motioning them to come together to shake hands and introduce themselves to each other.
-If you have a field mic, now is the time to switch it on.
-Not required, but a quick introduction of yourself helps serve as an ice-breaker. "My name is [state your name]. I'll be your referee tonight."
-Show the coin to the captains (both sides). If you need to explain which side is "heads" and which side is "tails," do so. (I have a coin with a red helmet on one side = heads, and a blue snapper in snapping position - seen from behind = tails, so I let them know "red is heads, blue is tails." So much easier to see on the ground while standing.)
-Turn to the visiting captain that will call the toss, touch him briefly on the shoulder and tell him, "[visiting school name], you are the visitors, you will call the toss. What is your call?
-Verify his call by repeating it in the form of a question: "Your call is [heads/tails]?"
-After confirming with the visiting captain, turn to the home captain and ask him, "He called [heads/tails], right?
-After getting concurrence from the home captain, pause just an instant, and position your self squarely between both sets of captains, set yourself, be sure you have a good flipping grip on your coin, say something like, "OK, here we go," then toss the coin up some 2 feet above your head, and FORWARD, so that is lands on the ground somewhere near the center of the captains (so it can be seen by all, and your U can retrieve it while you are announcing the choices).
Note: On grass fields, you might check prior to coin toss time if the coin will get lost in the grass. If so, catch the coin. Catch it flat - don't turn your hands over; just remove your upper hand to reveal the coin.
-Check the coin, and report the winning side, something like, "It is [heads/tails]. 
-Turn to the winning captain, place your hand on the captain's shoulder and say, "[school name], you have won the toss. Would you like to take your first choice now? Or defer to the Second Half?"

Defer
-If the winner chooses to defer their first choice to the second half, take a step or two directly to the side of them, face the pressbox, come to a complete stop, look up into the stands as you would for a penalty announcement, and announce, "[school name] has elected to defer their first choice to the second half" while using signal 10.
-Turn to the captain of the team with the first choice and say something like, "[team name], you have the first choice in this half." Since 99.99% of the time they will want to 'receive', just ask him, "You want to receive - right?" (If he says something else, turn off the mic, and have a conversation with him to make sure of their choice. Look to his head coach to make sure, if necessary. Don't let them screw up. If they want to kick, or defend a goal - which means they will end up kicking - make dang sure that is what their coach wants before going any further. Rare, but it has happened.)

No Defer
-Make certain they don't want to defer, like, "You want to take your choice now(?). You don't want to defer(?)." If he confirms he want to exercise his first choice now, then ask "You want to receive - right(?)" (If he says something else, turn off the mic, and have a conversation with him to make sure of their choice. Look to his head coach to make sure, if necessary. Don't let them screw up. If they want to kick, or defend a goal - which means they will end up kicking - make dang sure that is what their coach wants before going any further. Rare, but it has happened.)
-If they choose to receive, then turn to the opposing captain, and say something like, "They have chosen to receive. Which end of the field would you like to defend? If he points to an end, confirm by asking, "You want to kick from this end (pointing to that end), going in that direction?" (pointing in the other direction). This gives him a chance to correct any misunderstanding, if he really meant they wanted to kick toward the end to which he pointed. Be sure you have that right before you go any further.
-Once everybody knows their 'ends,' tell the kicking team, "Please place your backs to that goal" (while pointing them to move to the 48 yard line or so on the side of the 50 they will be defending), and then tell the receiving team, "Please place your backs to that goal" (while pointing them to the opposite side of the 50).
-Step to the pressbox end of the captains that made the first choice, and make the appropriate announcement, which 99.99% of the time will be, "[team name] has elected to receive, while giving the "catch" signal.
-Switch off the mic.
-Dismiss the captains with something simple like, "Good luck fellas; have a great game." I usually ask them to shake hands, while dismissing them, but that certainly isn't required.
Get your coin back from your U.  ;D

Trouble
Both of these scenarios are possible, but, unless you know in advance they will want to do this, you really need to double/triple/quadruple check that they really want to do these things:

-If, in the rare circumstance of a team with the first choice electing to defend a goal, announce, "[team name] has elected to defend the [north/south/east/west] goal" and point toward the goal they will defend, and give a two-armed point. Then step to to the opposing team and announce their choice, which should be,"[team name] has elected to receive," and give the 'catch' signal.
-In a more rare circumstance, if the team with the first choice elects to defend a goal, but the opponent chooses to kick, then do the same thing, i.e., announce the choices of both teams, with the appropriate signals.
-In the most rare of circumstances, if the team with the first choice elects to KICK, then the opponent will receive, but also gets to choose the end of the field they want. You do the same thing, i.e., announce the choices of both teams, with the appropriate signals.

Go get 'em.

Offline AlUpstateNY

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Re: Coin Toss protocol
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2022, 12:50:38 PM »
A discussion in another forum prompted this topic. Not sure why, but some folks think the coin toss is an opportunity for the R to offer some sort of mini-lecture to the captains regarding sportsmanship. While no one can stop an R from offering such a lecture, in reality, it serves no useful purpose. They ain't listenin'. They are there for the coin toss. So, just get to it.
Go get 'em.

An EXCELLENT example of the many subtle/not so subtle differences between NCAA/NFL and NFHS football participants. There is opportunity at NFHS level contests to explain and demonstrate appropriate "Sportsmanship" requirements that will hopefully carry forward, whether the participants choose to continue participation in organized football, or apply towards general personal interaction.

Unfortunately, some such basic lessons are forgotten, and/or ignored, at higher participation levels creating false acceptance levels with impressionable younger participants, who tend to be overly impressed into following negative examples regularly displayed, and too often tolerated. or ignored, at higher levels, requiring somewhat tighter management of questionable behavior at the junior level. 

The objective of course should be a consistent expectation and requirement for "Sportsmanship" to be an integral behavioral  expectation at ALL Levels of participation which benefits the game at EVERY level. 

Offline TexDoc

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Re: Coin Toss protocol
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2022, 03:12:17 PM »
A discussion in another forum prompted this topic. Not sure why, but some folks think the coin toss is an opportunity for the R to offer some sort of mini-lecture to the captains regarding sportsmanship. While no one can stop an R from offering such a lecture, in reality, it serves no useful purpose. They ain't listenin'. They are there for the coin toss. So, just get to it.

I agree with this statement 100%.  Get them out there.  Have them introduce themselves.  I shake the hand of each of them and look them right in the eye while doing so.  Then toss.  Should be very quick and easy.  The stadium mics we have in this area are mostly garbage so I don't turn on the mic.  Just get 'er done and go kick off.  If you have a mock toss, no need to toss again.  Just do the introductions, then tell the young men, as you know, your coaches did the toss earlier, then go about signaling. 

Don't preach about sportsmanship, getting the ball back, blah, blah, blah.  You've done nothing bust waste time.

Offline AlUpstateNY

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Re: Coin Toss protocol
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2022, 05:20:16 PM »

Don't preach about sportsmanship, getting the ball back, blah, blah, blah.  You've done nothing bust waste time.

I understand Texas "teenagers" play under NCAA rules, but I don't doubt they're as easily distracted as NY teenagers, who at times have to be TOLD DIRECTLY to listen up. 

Nobody is suggesting a "Lecture" or a long blah, blah, blah.  The NFHS "Game Officials Manual" suggests something much simpler, "Game Officials can set the tone for the contest...by reminding Captains that it is their responsibility to help stop and prevent problems during a game by directing (their)) players to abstain from baiting taunting or similar practices".  Adding that the consequences of such involvement will likely prevent the necessity for those resulting when Game Officials get involved, can be helpful in holding their attention.

That [/b][/i]ENTIRE message can be conveyed in less than 30 seconds and is BEST given to BOTH sets of Captains TOGETHER. Neither an "answer" nor further discussion is expected or necessary.

Of course, it's entirely up to the Referee, whether such assistance is requested, however it can pay hand some and cost effective dividends throughout the contest.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2022, 05:24:11 PM by AlUpstateNY »

Offline Etref

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Re: Coin Toss protocol
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2022, 09:52:02 PM »
Guarantee the kids in NY ain’t listening either. Well they may listen but not pay attention! When I started working R position, I also thought it necessary to give the spiel. Longer you work the position, the shorter the talk gets. Like has been said, get the particulars of the toss, what did he call and what choice, then go to kickoff.

And Elvis, I had one that went like this.
Winning captain   WE DEFER
Losing captain       we will defend the north end
Winning captain.   We will kick

And it was not a particularly windy Panhandle night.
" I don't make the rules coach!"

Offline ilyazhito

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Re: Coin Toss protocol
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2022, 10:15:09 PM »
In some states, there is a required sportsmanship message that must be read verbatim before all games. In those cases, after the introductions, I would say "The [name of the state athletic association] requires me to inform you about proper sportsmanship.", and then read the required message. After that, I would go on to describing the coin and proceeding with the toss.

Is it unnecessary, yes. However, I'd rather you not get in trouble for not reading the message. A good disclaimer might help to diffuse tension ;).

Back to the OP, is there a required message to be read in Texas?

Offline ElvisLives

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Re: Coin Toss protocol
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2022, 10:48:46 PM »
In some states, there is a required sportsmanship message that must be read verbatim before all games. In those cases, after the introductions, I would say "The [name of the state athletic association] requires me to inform you about proper sportsmanship.", and then read the required message. After that, I would go on to describing the coin and proceeding with the toss.

Is it unnecessary, yes. However, I'd rather you not get in trouble for not reading the message. A good disclaimer might help to diffuse tension ;).

Back to the OP, is there a required message to be read in Texas?

No. There is no direction in our manual, or from the UIL, to address anything about sportsmanship or behavior to the captains. There is direction to address any special timing or “ground rules”. (Not sure what ground rules are in football…) Our manuals do direct the R and U to introduce themselves to their captains at the sideline, then the R is to introduce the captains to each other. (I may be doing it wrong, but I just let them introduce themselves to each other - way more expedient.) Otherwise, just execute the toss and get the game started.

Offline Ralph Damren

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Re: Coin Toss protocol
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2022, 07:33:10 AM »
In 1984, the NFHS added the option to defer the choice at the coin toss. It has since became a popular choice, but in its beginning caused some confusion. In several games the winning captain would ask to kickoff in error. Our spiel then was :
"You've won the toss, you can kickoff, receive, choose our end of field ,or defer."
Our new spiel became :
"You've won the toss, do you wish to D-E-F-E-R  your choice to the second half ?"
If his response is :
"Ayuh, 'spect so !"
Our response to the opposing captain is:
"Can I assume you want the ball ?"
"Ayuh, 'spect so! " is the common response.

Adult supervision, brining out the coaches with the captains for the coin toss, satisfies NFHS 1-1-5 and starts everything on a sportsmanlike note. Maine has been doing that since 2001 with an easy adjustment.

PS : The state of Alaska is larger than : Texas, California, and Montana combined  FlAg1
« Last Edit: March 26, 2022, 07:34:58 AM by Ralph Damren »

Offline MowerMan

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Re: Coin Toss protocol
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2022, 08:18:24 AM »
If my coin is red on one side and blue on the other. During the flip I don’t ask them to call heads or tails. Just the color they want. Don’t confuse these kids!

Offline ElvisLives

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Re: Coin Toss protocol
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2022, 09:46:12 AM »
If my coin is red on one side and blue on the other. During the flip I don’t ask them to call heads or tails. Just the color they want. Don’t confuse these kids!

The colors are just aids - mostly for me. One side is still heads - a helmet - and the other tails - the snapper’s bee-hind. I’ll stick with the traditional “heads” or “tails.” They are smart enough to figure that out. In 47 seasons, never been a problem.

Offline ilyazhito

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Re: Coin Toss protocol
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2022, 05:46:41 PM »
No. There is no direction in our manual, or from the UIL, to address anything about sportsmanship or behavior to the captains. There is direction to address any special timing or “ground rules”. (Not sure what ground rules are in football…) Our manuals do direct the R and U to introduce themselves to their captains at the sideline, then the R is to introduce the captains to each other. (I may be doing it wrong, but I just let them introduce themselves to each other - way more expedient.) Otherwise, just execute the toss and get the game started.
That males sense, because some states, particularly in the Northeast, are anal retentive about these things.

Offline AlUpstateNY

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Re: Coin Toss protocol
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2022, 07:14:46 PM »
That males sense, because some states, particularly in the Northeast, are anal retentive about these things.

Considering Age old advice "When in Rome do as the Romans do" and that ALL STATES in the Northeast accept the jurisdiction of the NFHS, for all levels of Interscholastic football, following the advice of the NFHS Game Officials Manual would be appropriate.

As previously suggested that Manual suggests "Game Officials can set the tone for the contest by putting a stop to derogatory comments between players.....REMIND CAPTAINS that this is THEIR RESPONSIBILITY to help stop and prevent problems during a game by directing (their) players to abstain from baiting, taunting or similar practices."

Considering the "Coin Flip" is the ONLY consistent opportunity to gather Captains from BOTH teams to gather together, in a semi-private conversation opportunity, it would seem this is a perfect opportunity to convey that message  EXACTLY to both teams.  The NFHS Manual leaves the exact content of that delivery to the discretion of the Game Officials assigned to EACH specific contest.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2022, 07:20:03 PM by AlUpstateNY »

Offline ElvisLives

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Re: Coin Toss protocol
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2022, 10:59:30 PM »
This is the Texas Topics forum. As virtually everyone knows, Texas does not follow NFHS for anything having to do with high school football. It serves no purpose to offer NFHS practices to TASO officials. We ain't paying any more attention to that than the players do to a mini-lecture on sportsmanship at the coin toss.

I am more interested in making sure that we don't screw up the coin toss. I have seen Rs fail to make certain that the captains exercise the options that the coaches really want, and one team ends up kicking off both halves, when they had no intention of doing that whatsoever.
FYI, Darrell Royal was known to choose to defend a goal when the prevailing wind was strong from that end. They were good enough to get away with kicking off in both halves. But I've never known a HS coach to choose to defend a goal as their first choice. Ever. It could happen. But question it before you accept it.

And make sure you verify the toss call with BOTH captains, and do that BEFORE you toss the coin, so there is no repeat of what happened to Phil Luckett in '98. Luckett was an exceptionally good NFL official, but is considered by the general public as the guy that screwed up this coin toss. I don't think he did, but the media and the public don't want to remember it that way.

So, let's stay on topic, and discuss the protocol, but leave the sportsmanship thing alone, now. We ain't doin' it in Texas. End of story.

Offline AlUpstateNY

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Re: Coin Toss protocol
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2022, 08:36:49 AM »
This is the Texas Topics forum. As virtually everyone knows, Texas does not follow NFHS for anything having to do with high school football. It serves no purpose to offer NFHS practices to TASO officials.
So, let's stay on topic, and discuss the protocol, but leave the sportsmanship thing alone, now. We ain't doin' it in Texas. End of story.

If memory serves, Elvis YOU were the one who carried this topic over from the NFHS discussion to the Texas thread.  I agree, Romans get to decide what Laws govern behavior in Rome.  It seems the same opportunity should apply to those living in the rest of the World.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2022, 08:42:17 AM by AlUpstateNY »

Offline ElvisLives

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Re: Coin Toss protocol
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2022, 12:02:25 PM »
Staying on topic, we were asked by our supervisor (in my FBS days) to ask the coaches before the game what their choices would be, i.e., defer, receive, which goal they would want to defend, to make sure their Captains didn’t screw up. He told the coaches we would be doing this, and they wholeheartedly cooperated. Worked great.
So, now back working Texas high school football, I did that for one season. The reactions from the coaches were quite surprising. Mostly disinterested. Their expressions were like, “Why are you asking?” They seemed confused. More suspicious than anything. So, I don’t do that any more. But I do ask my captain if he knows what his coach wants him to do? They usually do, but occasionally, they realize they need to confirm, mostly on “defer” or not.
A botched coin toss is not a good way to start a game. Conversely, an efficient, smooth coin toss presentation goes a long way toward establishing credibility.
Go forth and prosper.

Offline AlUpstateNY

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Re: Coin Toss protocol
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2022, 12:25:08 PM »

A botched coin toss is not a good way to start a game. Conversely, an efficient, smooth coin toss presentation goes a long way toward establishing credibility.
Go forth and prosper.

Good to know that even in Texas, HS aged players can learn and be expected to,  pay attention to, understand and respond to important questions directed to them when asked.  The important thing is to avoid unnecessary or foolish, mistakes of any kind.

Offline Etref

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Re: Coin Toss protocol
« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2022, 02:37:37 PM »
Think we have beat this one to death!
" I don't make the rules coach!"