Football Officiating > War Stories

"Count your players"


Thursday on day one of the season it was your standard rough start. My standard comment when I don't have 11 on the field it to tell the coach to "count your players."  I have always said that in case I miscount and get 12 when there are only 11.

However, on this night he only had 10. I said "coach count your players," and the play went off with 10 on the filed but only 3 in the backfield. Once again I say "count your players." at which time he immediately orderd off one of his players and they snapped with 9 with only a QB and tailback.

I didn't have the heart to let it continue any further and let him know that next time he removed a player everyone other than the QB needed to be on the line.

He had gained on both plays so we had a decent laugh about it.

At Line Judge. Counting defense. 9, 10, 11, 12 again. 9, 10, 11, 12

Blow whistle, throw flag for illegal participation. Back Judge says, "No there are only 11" I explained, "You had one behind you that didn't get counted and he left the field"

White Hat calls the Head Linesman over ..... "How many on defense?" Head Linesman says "11" "OK, I'll pick up my flag and wave it off."

Head Coach taps me on the shoulder and says "Ya caught my knucklehead that slipped in behind the Back Judge didn't you?" Now I'm a little miffed.

Halftime we are going into the locker room, door closes behind us ....I say "OK, even the coach admits he had 12 on the field, how did we screw up?"

Head Linesman says "OK. I wasn't counting, so you lost at Rock, Paper, scissors"

Needless to say, after the tongue lashing from our White Hat ....... we all count on every play.

Team A scores on the last play of the half, but it is called back for not enough men on the line.  Coach comes running from the press box"You misssed it!  Here is the formation I had" written on a wipe board:

B                                 Q                    B


Yes coach, it sure was.


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