Author Topic: How muddy is too muddy?  (Read 2805 times)

Offline bbeagle

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How muddy is too muddy?
« on: October 29, 2012, 12:51:01 PM »
I just officiated 2 playoff games over the weekend on the same tournament field. I was in the middle.

The field was a complete mud-pit outside the 20's. Somewhere from the 15 in on both sides, the field markings could be seen, and both endzones had grass.

Between the 30s, it was impossible to tell where on the field we were. When spotting the ball, I could not tell if I was perpendicular to the linesman or line judge. Many times I would spot the ball a good 5 yards from the linesman or line judge because I couldn't tell. I'd look back and forth at the HL and LJ to see if I was in the middle of them. We eventually had a new thumbs up signal where I moved until they gave me a thumbs up, and then I spotted the ball there.

The sidelines were muddy but you could tell where the sideline was supposed to be, except for inside the 40s, where they were gone.

I ended up as muddy as the players, as I was handling the ball every play, and bumped into the players occasionally. Their numbers were too muddy to see, and both teams looked the same muddy color in the second half. There were even players on the same teams tackling and blocking each other.

When a kick off hit the ground, it splatted and stayed right there. We even had a play where a player fumbled the ball (which was caked in mud and was almost impossible to see on the muddy ground), and the ball stayed there a good 10 seconds while teams were trying to find it and jump on it. We didn't blow it dead, because every player knew the ball was fumbled, and sort of the location where it was, but it just took that long to get to the ball.

The ball boys stayed on the field 20 yards from the ball (because it took them too long to trudge through the muck if they stayed on the side lines). We used a new ball every play, and just setting it in the mud caked half of it with mud. We had like 30 fumbles in each game.

Do we have a rule for when we would cancel a game because of extreme weather conditions other than lightning, tornadoes or hurricanes?
« Last Edit: October 29, 2012, 12:54:43 PM by bbeagle »

Offline Jason Kramer

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Re: How muddy is too muddy?
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2012, 01:01:16 PM »
This would be your only option:

ART. 5 . . . When weather conditions are construed to be hazardous to life or
limb of the participants, the crew of game officials is authorized to delay or
suspend the game.

Offline bbeagle

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Re: How muddy is too muddy?
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2012, 02:54:01 PM »
Say you all came to nice turf field in 75 degree weather, where there were no yard line markings, no out-of-bounds markings visible - just a large 120 yard football-sized field with only end zones marked. Would you start the game?

I would think we would say, 'The field needs to be lined'. But if weather conditions make a field appear this way, we still play.


Offline FBUmp

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Re: How muddy is too muddy?
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2012, 04:22:01 PM »
Quite yer whining...I've worked slow-pitch softball in conditions worse than that.  ;)

Batter would hit the ball into the mud in front of home plate and get a triple before the defense found it.  ;D

Offline AlUpstateNY

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Re: How muddy is too muddy?
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2012, 06:17:54 PM »
Rain, mud and sometimes even snow are part of the game, and are not usually considered, "weather conditions are construed to be hazardous to life or limb of the participants".  That's reserved for lightening and possibly volcanic action.

As for ball placement I would suggest focusing on the end zone pylons (if visible) or goal posts to help you judge where the ball might be placed across the width of the field, and using the wing official and some other permanent point to help establish where to spot the ball.  It's not a good idea to keep the "ball boys" on the field, and although we usually don't like to see clean balls tossed into the field, working with the ball boy and wing official to lesson the chance of dropping it, tossing it it might be the best of available options.

Measurements are a tool to help the Referee determine reaching the Line to gain, requests from other parties are irrelevant and are simply rejected.

The Umpire holding the spot, and the ball, and placing it down when the snapper is on the line, may also be the best option available under certain conditions.  The Umpire should have a towel with him, that may need to be changed often, but you have to do the best with what the circumstances allow. 

As for a field being too sloppy to play (as opposed to potentially dangerous) that's a game management issue, although they might appreciate your advice. The single indispensible necessity for a football game is players, if one team decides not to play, there can be no game.  Whatever will be the final disposition of a game, where either one or both teams decide not to play,because of "field conditions" other than thunder or lightening will be decided by game management and exceed our control.

Other than the rare situation of a forfeit, which is beyonf weather conditions, we do not terminate games.  We may interrupt, cause a postponement or rescheduling, but the final decision about if, or when, to reschedule will be a game management issue.

Offline golfingref

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Re: How muddy is too muddy?
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2012, 09:14:35 PM »
Where are the before and after pictures of you and the crew, bbeagle??

Offline JasonTX

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Re: How muddy is too muddy?
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2012, 11:18:44 PM »
Reminds me of a game I had several years ago.  The ball was literally floating on water on the field.  There was a fumble and I didn't have a clue as to which team recovered it.  Once I seen the player who had it, I had to wait to see which huddle he was going to before we could signal whose ball.  These kind of games may be miserable when they happen but they make good stories to talk about afterwards.

buckshot

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Re: How muddy is too muddy?
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2012, 04:54:52 AM »
Reminds me of a game I had several years ago.  The ball was literally floating on water on the field.  There was a fumble and I didn't have a clue as to which team recovered it.  Once I seen the player who had it, I had to wait to see which huddle he was going to before we could signal whose ball.  These kind of games may be miserable when they happen but they make good stories to talk about afterwards.

We had a world cup qualifier game recently here in Australia on an artificial field which has very poor drainage, the water ended up 3-4 inches deep in the middle of each half of the field.  Same thing the ball would just float away from the spot if it was left there.

Offline bbeagle

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Re: How muddy is too muddy?
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2012, 07:42:49 AM »
Where are the before and after pictures of you and the crew, bbeagle??

Hahaha.... actually - there was a photographer at the game. We were teasing that this would be a great day for a team picture. So, after the game, he took a team picture for both of the participating teams. The kids all enjoyed it. I'd imagine these pictures will last these kids a lifetime. They'll be telling their grandkids about the game last weekend.

The referee team picture would have been interesting. The guys in the middle were muddy head to toe, and the guys on the sidelines were relatively clean. We should have thought of taking a picture, but we didn't. If I find the photographer's web site, I'll try to link an action photo.


Offline srhendon

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Re: How muddy is too muddy?
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2012, 09:01:56 AM »
Was 3 or 4 years back where we played on that type of field nearly every week? Had kick offs from outside the hash becuase the mud in the middle would not support the tee, no measurements because no yardlines were visible, the crew taping their shoes so they didn't come off in the mud ,that kind of stuff all year.