Author Topic: Goal Line Play  (Read 6613 times)

Offline AC-Ump

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Goal Line Play
« on: October 08, 2012, 10:20:45 PM »
In a JV game today a qb tried to sneak it in from the two and as umpire I saw his knee obviously hit the ground before he reached the ball across the line. Because of the pile up in the middle I started shaking my head to indicate to the wings that he didn't get in. The white hat told me not to shake my head yes or no during plays at the goal line.

What signals do other umpires use to communicate that they see the ball cross the line or that they saw a knee down before the ball crossed the line?

Offline Roscoe

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Re: Goal Line Play
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2012, 10:43:16 PM »
It's all about the pregame. This is something that should always be discussed. In Georgia, the umpire places his hands on his chest if he's certain the ball broke the plane of the goal line.

Offline VALJ

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Re: Goal Line Play
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2012, 10:48:15 PM »
It's all about the pregame. This is something that should always be discussed. In Georgia, the umpire places his hands on his chest if he's certain the ball broke the plane of the goal line.

Our association has the U put his hand to his chest to show that the ball is in the end zone.  He isn't saying it got into the EZ before the runner was down; just that the ball has crossed the goal line.

Offline SD_Casey

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Re: Goal Line Play
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2012, 11:18:22 PM »
At my most recent region meeting, they talked about "secret signals" such as the U putting a hand or fist on his chest.

They basically said that unofficial 'signals' like that are becoming so well known that when a coach sees an Umpire with his hand on his chest and then the wings call the runner short, he's going to want to know why the U is signalling the runner in.  They basically told us that it basically equates to this:  ^good ^no

They told us that it's best to stay away from those sorts of "secret signals."

When I've subbed in as an Umpire, in the pregame we've basically decided that I'm going to keep my hands to myself and keep my mouth shut and leave that sort of thing to the guys on the wing.  Now since I'm only a second year official, this could be the wrong thing to do but it's worked so far.  More thoughts on this?

Offline TampaSteve

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Re: Goal Line Play
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2012, 07:15:38 AM »
The U 'secret signals' are an interesting topic.
For the reasons SD Casey said, I was at a camp a few yrs ago, an NFL U said never do it.  It can only potentially get you in trouble, etc. (but he also said do what your conf wants you to do).

Conversely, just last Sat a local guy was working a televised SEC game and he gave a "he's in" signal which was a simple grab of his lariat/zipper (a popular signal for this scenario and one I use when I'm advised to use a signal).  Dont grab it & pull on it, & twirl it aroundetc.  Just grab it like you're grabbing a lariat.

So my advice would be if you use a signal, make it very, very non-obvious.

One thing for U's though: when the ball is near the goal line, ensure you stay away from the goalline.  Nothing makes a wing madder is when he can't see the line/ball because  a U is in the way.
 

Offline bbeagle

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Re: Goal Line Play
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2012, 08:20:21 AM »
So my advice would be if you use a signal, make it very, very non-obvious.

Around our area, the umpire simply verbalizes a word such as 'pizza' or one of the wingmen's names like 'joe' or 'bob' if he CLEARLY sees the ball in. This way, nothing is seen on the video.

If the umpire does NOT see the runner in, on a normal play, he says nothing.

If the umpire sees the ball loose before the line, he says 'fumble'. If the umpire sees the knee CLEARLY down BEFORE scoring, he says 'knee'. But the umpire always lets the wingmen determine the call.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2012, 08:25:43 AM by bbeagle »

Offline maven

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Re: Goal Line Play
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2012, 12:46:05 PM »
I have no issue with verbal communication. My instruction was that the U may signal not TD but possession. The wings need to know whether the runner had the ball when he did or didn't cross the GL.

If your U is ruling on whether the ball crossed the GL before the runner was down, he's better than mine and why are you paying for wings?
Quality is not an act, it is a habit.
Aristotle

Offline Bob M.

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Re: Goal Line Play
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2012, 03:39:51 PM »
...If the umpire sees the ball loose before the line, he says 'fumble'.

REPLY: Unless he absolutely knows that the ball came loose before the runner was down, this is bound to cause problems.
Bob M.

Offline VALJ

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Re: Goal Line Play
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2012, 03:40:36 PM »
One thing for U's though: when the ball is near the goal line, ensure you stay away from the goalline.  Nothing makes a wing madder is when he can't see the line/ball because  a U is in the way.

That's the truth.

Offline Livin' in the pit

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Re: Goal Line Play
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2012, 06:44:23 PM »
I still have no idea - and have yet to hear an explanation why - the umpire isn't supposed to ever signal a touchdown, under pain of a lightning bolt from the heavens.

Offline maven

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Re: Goal Line Play
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2012, 06:58:16 PM »
I still have no idea - and have yet to hear an explanation why - the umpire isn't supposed to ever signal a touchdown, under pain of a lightning bolt from the heavens.

Because on plays where there's doubt, he's not in position to rule, and on plays where there's no doubt, he's better used for DB officiating.
Quality is not an act, it is a habit.
Aristotle

Offline bbeagle

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Re: Goal Line Play
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2012, 10:16:46 PM »
REPLY: Unless he absolutely knows that the ball came loose before the runner was down, this is bound to cause problems.

I don't agree.

The U only says fumble to stop the wingmen from blowing their whistles (which they shouldn't do unless they see the ball anyways).

If the wingmen SAW the ball cross the goal line in possession, they should be blowing their whistle and signaling touchdown before the U says fumble. The U saying fumble just alerts the wingmen to come in to check the status of the ball.



Offline Roscoe

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Re: Goal Line Play
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2012, 05:52:12 AM »
I don't agree.

The U only says fumble to stop the wingmen from blowing their whistles (which they shouldn't do unless they see the ball anyways).

If the wingmen SAW the ball cross the goal line in possession, they should be blowing their whistle and signaling touchdown before the U says fumble. The U saying fumble just alerts the wingmen to come in to check the status of the ball.

I don't care if the U says fumble. He should be throwing his bean bag anyway. If I see the ball cross the goal line with possession I'm signaling touchdown. To me, him saying fumble is just another way of saying "I'm not sure if it was a touchdown, but the ball came out, what do you think?" If a coach has a problem with it, I saw the touchdown, the other guy who saw only what he was supposed to see.

Offline bbeagle

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Re: Goal Line Play
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2012, 08:13:55 AM »
I don't care if the U says fumble. He should be throwing his bean bag anyway. If I see the ball cross the goal line with possession I'm signaling touchdown. To me, him saying fumble is just another way of saying "I'm not sure if it was a touchdown, but the ball came out, what do you think?" If a coach has a problem with it, I saw the touchdown, the other guy who saw only what he was supposed to see.

I don't get the issue.

If the wingmen see the ball across the line, they don't care what the Umpire is saying. They call touchdown.

If the wingmen see the ball short of the goal line, they don't care what the Umpire is saying. They call the play short.

The issue is when the wingmen don't see the ball. This is where the Umpire helps out. If the wingmen lose track of the ball, and the Umpire says, 'Pizza', the wingmen stay settled and go up with their arms up in the air for touchdown without ever seeing the ball. If the Umpire says, 'Fumble', the wingmen rush in to clear bodies out and figure out who has the ball. We don't want a crazy pileup for a ball with ONLY the UMPIRE clearing out bodies and figuring out who has it. This is the umpire's signal that a fumble occurred. What use is a beanbag if the ball is in the endzone and there are 22 players surrounding the ball with a bean bag that probably never hits the ground and is in someone's shoulder pad?

The Umpire is NOT yelling 'fumble' or 'pizza' loud enough for the coaches to hear. It's for informational purposes to the wingmen only. If the Umpire wants to yell 'fish' on a fumble instead, so the players don't know. So be it.


« Last Edit: October 10, 2012, 08:23:25 AM by bbeagle »

Offline TampaSteve

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Re: Goal Line Play
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2012, 08:28:12 AM »
Just to  :sTiR:   it seems we're really changing mechanics for GL plays. (?)

while GL is certainly 'paydirt', and important, what about other plays where we have short yardage? - I would specualte 'no'.

Not sure if I support U yelling things out. - but again, conferences, states, etc. has their unique nuances.

Offline bbeagle

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Re: Goal Line Play
« Reply #15 on: October 10, 2012, 11:46:42 AM »
while GL is certainly 'paydirt', and important, what about other plays where we have short yardage? - I would speculate 'no'.

Our Umpires do not yell out anything unless the ball is in the endzone. All those calls are the wingmen calls.

If an umpire sees a fumble in the field of play, he throws a bean bag. And the umpire only whistles in a couple of live ball situations. When the umpire clearly sees the ball carrier down, and he has been down for a second, and no wingmen know where the ball is, the umpire will blow the whistle.

For passes, the umpire normally does nothing, except move up to the line of scrimmage. But for quick passes over the middle, the umpire, if he can, will pivot around to watch and see if the ball is trapped, or bounces from the turf. In those situations, only, will the Umpire blow his whistle and signal incomplete.

Are these not normal things, or only in our area?

Offline AFSST

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Re: Goal Line Play
« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2012, 06:49:34 PM »
I have no issue with verbal communication. My instruction was that the U may signal not TD but possession. The wings need to know whether the runner had the ball when he did or didn't cross the GL.

If your U is ruling on whether the ball crossed the GL before the runner was down, he's better than mine and why are you paying for wings?

Don't agree...the umpire can sometimes see the ball down in player possession better than the wings when there is a pile at the GL, especially when the QB sneaks it in.  So the wings come sprinting in to get a good look; however, between the runner going down and the time the wings arrive, you could have the ball go from outside the GL to across the GL, or from across the GL to outside the GL.  So the U can signal to the wings that he saw the ball down in player possession across the GL.  U can use a visible signal or can use a verbal signal like "deposit."
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Offline Livin' in the pit

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Re: Goal Line Play
« Reply #17 on: October 10, 2012, 08:19:59 PM »
So the U can signal to the wings that he saw the ball down in player possession across the GL. 

There is already an established signal for "I have a player in possession, across the goal line." But I have yet to hear a reasonable argument for why am umpire in NFHS/NCAA/NFL mechanics shouldn't use it.

Offline fudilligas

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Re: Goal Line Play
« Reply #18 on: October 11, 2012, 09:48:36 PM »
I personally do not like this "secret signal".  All you are indicating is that the ball is in the EZ.  It does not specify whether the runner's knee hit the ground prior to the ball crossing the plane, just that the ball made it into the EZ.   I instruct my wings to crash and make a decision.  That is why they get the "big bucks".  Also,  in situations like this, if one wing signals TD, the opposite wing also signals TD.  If you hustle it helps selling the call.

Offline Magician

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Re: Re: Goal Line Play
« Reply #19 on: October 12, 2012, 07:09:22 AM »
There is already an established signal for "I have a player in possession, across the goal line." But I have yet to hear a reasonable argument for why am umpire in NFHS/NCAA/NFL mechanics shouldn't use it.
Because from your angle you don't know if the runner was down before he got into the end zone.

I was at a key NCAA clinic last Spring and we were told as umpires to never bag fumbles when the ball is snapped inside the 5. We should avoid conflicting signals when possible.

I use "I have the ball" if I see the runner in the end zone with the ball. It doesn't mean I have a touchdown. It just means I have him there at the moment.

Offline FBUmp

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Re: Goal Line Play
« Reply #20 on: October 13, 2012, 12:19:11 AM »
If your U is ruling on whether the ball crossed the GL before the runner was down, he's better than mine and why are you paying for wings?

I'm not telling you that the ball crossed the GL before the runner was down.

I'm telling you the ball is in the end zone.  And that's what I'll tell a coach who questions my signal as well.

It's still up to the wing to decide if the knee was down before he broke the GL.

At one time, the fist across the chest was an approved signal.  Not sure when it was removed from the Officials' Manual.

Offline RGraydonR

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Re: Goal Line Play
« Reply #21 on: October 14, 2012, 08:59:34 PM »
I heard this is a pre-game once and I like it quite a bit:
If the umpire sees the ball in, he stands his ground in the end zone and looks in on the activity on the goal line as if he were just continuing to officiate the play.  That is the "secret signal"" that the U has the ball in the end zone.  If the umpire clearly sees that ball did not break the gl plane, he steps in and begins to "dig" for the ball.  That is the "secret signal" of No TD.  Pretty subtle stuff...but effective.  I think the NFL umps sometimes use this method.

Offline sir55

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Re: Goal Line Play
« Reply #22 on: October 14, 2012, 09:26:01 PM »
Don't know if its any better or worse than the hand on the chest move, but several of our umpires use the same signal that the wings use to let the Referee know that the ball was out of bounds on the sideline to show the ball crossed the goal line.  (arms extended down with a backward motion towards the end line)  Never have had any problems with it.  As referee, I prefer no signals from the umpire.  If the umpire sees the knee was down etc., I want the umpire to get my attention and I want the umpire and wings to conference with me and we will find out who had the best view and get the call right.

Offline Tom.OH

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Re: Goal Line Play
« Reply #23 on: October 15, 2012, 06:45:43 PM »
I heard this is a pre-game once and I like it quite a bit:
If the umpire sees the ball in, he stands his ground in the end zone and looks in on the activity on the goal line as if he were just continuing to officiate the play.  That is the "secret signal"" that the U has the ball in the end zone.  If the umpire clearly sees that ball did not break the gl plane, he steps in and begins to "dig" for the ball.  That is the "secret signal" of No TD.  Pretty subtle stuff...but effective.  I think the NFL umps sometimes use this method.
I subbed on a crew years ago and they did about the same thing. If the U had the ball in the EZ he backed out towards the EL watching the action. If he was digging the wings had better be pinching in to find the ball.
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