Football Officials

Chapter 11.1

Who are the officials and referees? What is their job during a football game? Get ready to learn about the officials in football.

Officials & Referees

In football, the officials control all. There are seven (7) officials in a professional NFL football game:

  1. The Referee
  2. The Umpire
  3. The Down Judge
  4. The Line Judge
  5. The Field Judge
  6. The Side Judge
  7. The Back Judge

Each official is responsible for interpreting the rulebook for a different part of a football game. However, the referee always has final say in a ruling if there is a disagreement.

Rookie Road Football Officials Image

As a football fan, don't worry about what each of the officials do. If you're curious we will look to cover them in future football tutorials.

Restricted Area

The restricted area is a part of the football field we have not discussed before. It can be found on the sidelines. Some officials will stand here during a football game. No personal shall enter this area.

Penalty Flags

An official will throw a yellow flag onto the field if a rule was broken.

LINGO ALERT: if a football fan notices a yellow flag on the field, they will say a flag was thrown on the play.

Official Signals

If you notice a penalty flag was thrown onto the field during a play, you should wait until the scrimmage down is over. At that point, the referee will announce to everyone the reasoning behind why the penalty flag was thrown. During this announcement, the referee will make a signal with his hands to define the penalty.


The head coach of a football team has the ability to challenge the penalty on the previous play. We will learn about challenge flags next.

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