Football Back Judge
What Is a Back Judge in Football?
The back judge is an official in the NFL who is positioned in the deep defensive backfield. They are one of seven officials present throughout each game. The back judge focuses primarily on the receivers, but they have other responsibilities, too.
The back judge keeps track of TV commercial breaks, play clock violations, and counting defensive players on the field. The back judge covers the field that is between them and the umpire, which is a wide part of the middle field. At the beginning of a play, the back judge is positioned 30 yards behind the line of scrimmage, between the hash marks.
Football Back Judge Responsibilities
A back judge in football has many responsibilities, including:
- Counting defensive players
- Managing the play clock and commercial breaks
- Looking for defensive and offensive holding on run plays
- Following passes and watching receivers on pass plays
- Determining fair catches
- Making pass interference calls
- Lining up the kicking team on kickoffs
- Ruling on fair catches and fair catch infractions
- Lining up under the goal posts to rule on field goals and extra-point kicks
Where does the back judge stand on the field?
For normal scrimmage plays, the back judge stands 30 yards behind the line of scrimmage and between the hash marks. This puts them in the deep defensive backfield. If the offense runs a pass play, the back judge will move to the spot of the reception, looking for pass interference fouls. During field goals and PAT kicks, the back judge stands under the goalpost and determines whether the kick is good.