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Articles from 2003:

Touch Football Referee's Clinic (11/11/2003)
Submitted by: Brian Nicholson

After some discussion at this weeks' MTFL meeting, about the current and soon to be worse numbers of referees, it was decided that another Clinic would be put on to certify people as Level 1 Ofiicials. This will occur on Thursday November 27th at 7pm. It will be located in the Second Floor Classroom at Sport Nova Scotia on Spring Garden Road.

Brian Nicholson will give a number of short presentations about the philosophies of being a referee as well as discussing the mechanics of a 3-person crew for touch football.

There is no cost to attend. Anyone is welcome, including people not afficiated directly with teams. Once certified, each game that you referee next year will pocket you $30!

Interested persons should contact Brian by e-mail at briannicholson@ns.sympatico.ca before November 24th so course materails may be prepared.

MTFL Officials Corner #2 (08/27/2003)
Submitted by: Brian Nicholson


Scenario: B7, the Team B rusher lines up 5 yards from the line of scrimmage (LoS) and moves forward early. When the ball is snapped the rusher is only 3 yards away from the LoS. Realizing the situation, the rusher decides not to cross the LoS. B2 was lined up 5 yards from the LoS at the time of the snap and rushes the QB.

What would you call?

In this scenario, no penalty should be assessed to the defense. The rusher is not considered offside if they never cross the line of scrimmage or if they reset completely behind the rushing bag after jumping too early. Any player may rush, provided they are at least five yards from the line of scrimmage before they cross it or have someone else in a legal position to rush cross first. In this case, B2 was in a legal position to rush and could do so without penalty. In order to receive special rushing rights (unobstructed path to the QB), B2 would have had to have been a yard off the rusher?s bag but within 5 yards of it at the time of the snap.


There have been a number of scenarios this year where infractions have occurred during or immediately after a punt. This is a difficult for both players and officials, as the rules concerning punting are often complex and poorly understood. This Officials Corner will discuss the finer points of punting and what infractions can commonly occur. Numbers in parenthesis after each paragraph give reference to the Canadian Rule Book for Touch Football 2000-3 edition.

In order for a player to punt the ball, they must deliberately drop the ball from their hand and kick it with their foot or any part of the lower extremity. (19.1.1)

A ball that is deliberately kicked by a player who does not have control of the ball (i.e. the ball is rolling on the ground) is a dribbled ball and is considered an onside or offside pass depending on its direction and will remain live until it hits the ground. (19.2.1 and 19.2.2)

After a punt, players on the punting team cannot touch or be touched by the ball before the receiving team touches the ball. Punting team members must be at least 5 yards away from the ball when an opponent first touches the ball. Violation of these rules is a 'no-yards' penalty. If the offending player(s) did not affect the play in any way, the 'no-yards' can be applied as a 5 yard penalty instead of a 10 yard variety. (19.5.1)

When the punt receiver muffs the ball in an offside direction, the ball is live until it touches the ground and is considered dead. This is in contrast to the same scenario with a kick off where a muff can be advanced by the player who muffed the kick off in an offside direction. Punts or kickoffs muffed in an onside direction can be advanced legally by any member of the receiving team. (19.6.2, 19.6.3 and 14.4.2)

A deflected punt, is one that is touched by any player, but continues to travel in a direction away from the punter's dead line (line marking the back of the end zone). A deflected punt is dead immediately if it touches the ground behind the line of scrimmage or in the punter's end zone. Otherwise, the punt is never considered to have been touched at all and all the rules applying to punts are in effect. (20.1.1-3)

A blocked punt, is one that is touched by any player, but travels toward or parallel to the punter's dead line. A punt blocked by a punter's teammate is considered to never have been touched at all, but any member of the punting team who subsequently touches the ball will be guilty of 'no-yards'. Blocked punts by the receiving team will be considered an offside pass by the player who blocks the punt. The ball is live to both teams until the ball hits the ground. The punting team does not have to stay out of the restraining zone in this instance. (20.2.1-4)

Immediately as the ball is punted, the punting team automatically loses possession to the opponents, UNLESS the punt is blocked or is considered to have never left the end zone. (19.3.1)


Scenario: A1 punts the ball into the end zone from the B15 yard line. B2 picks the ball up and attempts to punt the ball back out of the end zone. Yards are given by Team A on this punt. The ball is shanked during the punt and hits the ground on the B1 yard line and bounces back into the B end zone, where it is recovered by Team A. What is the call?

This actually happened twice this year?once during the finals of the Natal Day Tournament and during a regular season game between Tigers and Grizzlies.

MTFL Officials Corner (08/12/2003)
Submitted by: Brian Nicholson

Welcome to the Official's Corner, your on-line source for all things Official in the MTFL. The topic of this column is you're the Minor Official. Most of you have done it at one time or another, but do you really know what your responsibilities are? Who looks after the bean bags? What happens in a double rush scenario? Can you call pass interference?

Teams contribute Minor Officials at games in the MTFL to assist the paid referee ensure the game flow is smooth and is play is within the established rules of Football Canada's Touch Football Rule Book. Minor Officials are an important component of the game, as the Referee cannot 'see it all' while on the field. An alert Minor Official will recognize infractions and use the whistles and flags to communicate what their eyes and ears hear and see.

The Headlinesman and Back Judge are the two positions taken by the minor officials in our league. Let's break down each position and look at the responsibilites of each position.

The Headslinesman (HL) typically patrols the far sideline opposite the benches. During scrimmage plays he lines up with the ball on the line of scrimmage. His duties include--
- Watching for offsides, including watching the rusher lining up offside
- Moving at least as far as 1st down bag after the ball is snapped or moving downfield with play, watching for infractions and the spot of ball.
'Holding the spot of the tag until the referee has moved the bean bags
Near the goal line--
- Goal Line becomes 1 - responsibility
- When the ball is snapped, move downfield but hold at the Goal Line.
- The HL must determine the forward point of the ball when the player is tagged. If it breaks the plane of the goal, touchdown!
- The above applies on convert attempts.
In punting situations?
- Holding the line of scrimmage until you are certain that the ball will cross it.
- If the punt crosses the line of scrimmage, hustle downfield and get parallel to the ball carrier, and follow them.
- Call tags and penalties including 'no yards' where applicable

The Back Judge (BJ) positions himself a few yards behind either side of the QB and his duties include?

- Counting offensive players

- Noting side R is on.

- Watching for double rush

- Watching for interference on rush or remote zone interference on center

- Watching for QB tags including rough tags

If QB runs and throws noting point of release (was he over the line of scrimmage?)

After the whistle: Giving the bags to the Referee if appropriate

During a kick off the minor officials have the following duties?

The Headlinesman sets up with the kicking team and moves downfield to call tags and rough play after determining there has been no offsides.

The Back Judge begins on the opposite side of the field, on the sideline 20 yards away from the kicking team. He then moves downfield after determining the kick has traveled 20 yards, keeping outside the widest player on the receiving team. Be prepared for laterals! Call tags & rough play if appropriate.

It's really pretty simple when you break it down like this, and if you stay alert and communicate with the Referee, minor officiating can actually be fun. Where else can you get this close to the actual game without playing yourself?

Brian Nicholson


Scenario: B7, the Team B rusher lines up 5 yards from the line of scrimmage (LoS) and moves forward early. When the ball is snapped the rusher is only 3 yards away from the LoS. Realizing the situation, the rusher decides not to cross the LoS. B2 was lined up 5 yards from the LoS at the time of the snap and rushes the QB.

What would you call?

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