Referee’s Signals

When watching a game of American Football whether live at a game or on television you will notice that the referee (the one with the white hat) periodically waves his arms around and makes an announcement. This usually happens after one of the officials drops (or throws) a weighted yellow hanky (flag) – he does this if he has noticed a foul occur and the flag marks the spot of that foul. The play is allowed to continue until it reaches its natural conclusion, when he will report in to the referee who will make a preliminary signal to the press box so that everyone knows what is happening before talking to an on-field captain of the team offended against to explain his options. A further signal is then made together with the announcement confirming the infringement and the option selected by the captain (accept or decline). If you are watching this on TV or at a live professional game, this announcement can be heard as he will be wearing a microphone which is connected to the stadium’s (and TV) PA system.

If you are at a “grass-roots” game you will have to listen very carefully as he will have no microphone. This is where the arm-waving comes in, because the referee is giving a visual signal as well as the audible. This dates back to the early days of American Football games when radio mikes were not thought of.

Below is a table of the more commonly used signals under the NCAA set of rules (as used in Great Britain), and whilst there is significant correlation between these and the ones used in the NFL (shown on TV) there some differences. The signalling of a foul and its outcome may well consist of two or more of these signals.

To find out more about each signal (when it is most commonly used, the penalty involved, how it is executed) hover the mouse pointer over the picture of that signal, and then click. These are not intended to give a compreshensive list of fouls and penalties, just the most common. For a more in-depth investigation, you should use the BAFA rulebook.

 

Ready for PlayReady forPlay Start the ClockStartthe Clock Time OutTime Out Two Minute WarningTwo Minute
Warning
ScoreScore SafetySafety
Ball deadBall dead First DownFirst Down Loss of DownLoss of Down Incomplete PassIncomplete Pass
Penalty Declined
No Score
Toss Option Deferred
Legal TouchingLegal Touching Inadvertant WhistleInadvertant
Whistle
Disregard FlagDisregard Flag End of PeriodEnd of Period Sideline warningSideline warning Illegal TouchingIllegal Touching Uncatchable PassUncatchable Pass OffsideOffside
False StartFalse Start
Illegal Formation
Illegal ShiftIllegal Shift
illegal Motion
Delay of GameDelay
of Game
Substitution InfractionSubstitution
Infraction
Equipment ViolationEquipment
Violation
Illegal Helmet ContactIllegal Helmet
Contact
Unsportsmanlike ConductUnsportsmanlike
Conduct
Illegal ParticipationIllegal
Participation
Roughing/Running into KickerRoughing/Running
into Kicker
Illegal BattingIllegal Batting
Illegal Kicking
Catch InferferenceCatch
Inferference
Roughing the PasserRoughing the
Passer
Illegal PassIllegal
Pass
Intentional GroundingIntentional
Grounding
Ineligible DownfieldIneligible
Downfield
Personal FoulPersonal
Foul
ClippingClipping Illegal Block Below the WaistIllegal Block
Below the Waist
HoldingHolding Illegal Block in the BackIllegal Block
in the Back
Assisting the RunnerAssisting
the Runner
Face MaskFace Mask TrippingTripping PlayerPlayer Disqualified
Contents show

Referee’s Signal Number 1 – The Ready for Play

Ready for PlayWhen used

This signal is used by the Referee to make the ball ready at the beginning of every play as soon as all the officials are ready and the ball has been placed.

How executed

Begin the motion with your arm raised a few inches in front of your face and bring it down in an unhurried manner to about the horizontal, whilst giving a short but loud blast on the whistle.

Referee’s Signal Number 2 – Run (or Restart) the Game Clock

Start the ClockWhen used

This signal is used by any official to indicate that the clock is not to stop – particularly if a ball becomes dead near the side-line. It is also used by the Referee when blowing the Ready-for-Play (S1) whistle to re-start the clock if it has been stopped to administer a foul, or to set the chains for a First Down or for a Referee’s time-out.

How executed

Begin the motion with your arm at the bottom of the circle in front of your body and move it across your body and around above your head and out to the side and down to complete the circle. Don’t be too vigourous, but don’t dawdle. Repeat it two or three times.

If you are using this to indicate that the ball has become dead in-bounds near the sideline, accompany it with a loud blast on the whistle. It is appropriate to make this signal in this circumstance even when you are the on-field timekeeper, as it lets everyone else into the secret.

Make sure that you do not hit anyone with your hand (it hurts!).

Referee’s Signal Number 3 – Stop the Game Clock

Time OutWhen used

This signal is used to denote that the game-clock is to be stopped and may be made by any official. It will be used when the ball-carrier has run out of bounds or when a (team or official’s) time-out is granted.

How executed

The hands should start above the head and should be moved to the “10-to-2” position and back – don’t go any further if you are in a crowd as you risk hitting a player on the helmet with your hand (it hurts!). This should be repeated 3/4 times in an unhurried manner, and is the only signal that may, and indeed should, be repeated by the other officials. It may also be made whilst on the run.

If you are the covering official, it should be accompanied or preceded by a loud blast on the whistle, and if you are the on-field timekeeper you should stop the clock before starting the signal.

Referee’s Signal Number 4 – Two-Minute Warning

Two Minute WarningWhen used

This signal is used by the Referee to signal the 2-minute warning – it has no other meaning the the British game. This occurs with 2 minutes of game-time remaining at the end of the second and fourth quarters when there is no stadium clock.

How executed

Make a capital “T” shape with your hands in front of your chest and hold for a few seconds.

Referee’s Signal Number 5 – Touchdown, Field-goal or Successful Try

ScoreWhen used

This signal is used to denote the successful scoring of a touchdown, field-goal or try.

How executed

The hands should start at the waist and be extended to the vertical in an unhurried motion.

It should be accompanied or preceded by a loud blast on the whistle. If you are the on-field timekeeper, stop the watch before making the signal.

Maintain the signal until eye-contact has been established with the Referee, who will then turn and confirm the score by making the same signal to the press-box.

Referee’s Signal Number 6 – Safety

SafetyWhen used

This signal is used to denote the concession of a safety (2 points).

How executed

The hands should start at the waist and be extended until they meet over the head in an unhurried motion.

It should be accompanied or preceded by a loud blast on the whistle. If you are the on-field timekeeper, stop the watch before making the signal.

Maintain the signal until eye-contact has been established with the Referee, who will then turn and confirm the score by making the same signal to the press-box.

Referee’s Signal Number 7 – Dead-ball Foul

Ball deadWhen used

This signal is used by the Referee as part of a foul announcement to denote that the foul that will be signalled next is a dead-ball foul.

Penalty

This simply signifies that the foul(s) being reported is/are treated as dead-ball and that the result of the play stands, however there will be a penalty assessment from the end of the play (known as the succeeding spot). If there is more than foul then they are usually administered separately and in order of occurrence.

How executed

The hands should start at the waist with one being extended vertically over head in an unhurried manner.

There is no other use for this signal in British American Football.

Referee’s Signal Number 8 – First Down

First DownWhen used

This signal is used by the Referee to denote that a team has a First Down, either by moving the ball past the line-to-gain marker for the team in possession, or to the opposing team when the line-to-gain has not been reached after the requisite number of downs or after an interception or fumble recovery.

How executed

The signalling hand should start at the shoulder and be projected forward and slightly upwards in an unhurried manner, and you should be facing in the direction that the team who has the first down will be playing.

Referee’s Signal Number 9 – Loss of Down

Loss of DownWhen used

This signal is used by the Referee to indicate that a foul by the offense has resulted in their losing the right to replay the down. It is always given in conjunction with and following another signal.

How executed

Begin with both hands held by your side and with an unhurried motion bring them simultaneously up until they touch the back of your neck.

Referee’s Signal Number 10 – Various Meanings

Incomplete PassWhen used

This signal is used in a number of circumstances:

  1. By the Referee at the coin-toss to indicated that the winner has deferred his options until the second half
  2. By the Referee to indicate that mutiple fouls offset or cancel
  3. By the Referee to indicate that a penalty has been declined
  4. By the covering official to indicate that a forward pass has fallen incomplete
  5. By the covering official(s) to indicate that a try attempt (touchdown or field goal) was not successful
  6. By the covering official(s) to indcate a field goal attempt was unsuccessful

How executed

Begin the motion with both hands in front of your chest and expand them out to full extension to the side keeping them parallel to the ground in an unhurried manner. Repeat a couple of times. Do not lean forward (a common mistake) when giving this signal. Make sure you do not hit anyone when making this signal (it hurts!).

If giving this signal for types 4-6 above, it should be accompanied or preceded by a loud blast on the whistle. If you are the on-field timekeeper, stop the watch if necessary before making the signal. Also ensure that the Referee has noticed your signal – he will then turn and confirm the no-score by making the same signal to the press-box.

Referee’s Signal Number 11 – Legal Touching

Legal TouchingWhen used

This signal is used by any official to indicate that a forward pass or scrimmage kick has been legally touched by a member of the defense/receiving team.

This means that the originally ineligible members of the passing/kicking team now may legally recover the ball or be downfield. It also means that certain other fouls such as pass or kick-catch interference no longer apply.

How executed

Begin the with one hand held high and pointing horizontally and sweep the other under the first hand creating a “T” shape. This may be repeated several times to give everyone a chance to notice it – do NOT blow your whistle.

You should also use the signal again once play has ceased to ensure that your fellow officials are aware of it. It is quite likely that a deep official will not have seen this and may have already dropped a flag for a interference call. Ensure that you become part of the conference with the Referee as this type of foul no longer applies and will need to be waved off (S13)

Referee’s Signal Number 12 – Inadvertant Whistle/Signal

Inadvertant WhistleWhen used

This signal is used by the Referee to indicate that an official has made a mistake and either blown his whistle or made a signal too early, and therefore brought the action to a premature end.

The team in possession may elect to take the result of the play (where the ball was when the signal/whistle occurred) or replay the down.

How executed

Begin the motion with your hand made into a fist and held by your armpit, and extend it straight in front of you in an unhurried motion.

If the official concerned has made many of these, a similar signal may be made after the game in the changing-rooms standing immediately in front of that official!

Referee’s Signal Number 13 – Disregard Flag

Disregard FlagWhen used

This signal is used by the Referee to denote that the flag which has been thrown is to be disregarded – i.e. no foul actually occurred. This can happen after for example Legal Touching (S11) has occurred.

How executed

Wave a flag unhurriedy 4/5 times over the top of your head.

Referee’s Signal Number 14 – End of Period

End of PeriodWhen used

This signal is used by the Referee to signal the end of a playing period.

How executed

Hold a ball directly overhead with the arm fully extended, and give a loud blast on the whistle.

Referee’s Signal Number 15 – Sideline Warning

Sideline warningWhen used

This signal is used by the Referee to signal a Sideline Warning, and is used to warn the sideline personnel that they are spilling out of the team area and getting in the official’s way.

There is no other use for this signal.

Penalty

A sideline will receive two such warnings, after which the next infringement results in a 5-yard penalty and each subsequent in a 15-yard penalty.

How executed

Hold both arms completely extended to each side and parallel to the ground, and with an unhurried motion bring them forward by about a foot. This should be repeated.

Referee’s Signal Number 16 – Illegal Touching

Illegal TouchingWhen used

This signal is used to denote illegal touching. This may be used by the Referee when signalling a foul or by any official to indicate a violation.

Violation

A violation occurs when a player touches a ball when not permitted – such as a kicking team player during a scrimmage kick touching a ball before a player of the receiving team. This is not a foul, but gives the receiving team the option of taking the ball at the spot of the violation instead of taking the result of the play.

Penalty

A offensive player may not willingly go out of bounds during a forward pass and then be the first to touch the ball, and if guilty of such an offence this foul applies – the penalty is loss of down (S9), but no loss of yardage.

This foul also applies if an originally inelligible player (eg offensive lineman) is the first to touch a forward pass. The penalty for this is 5 yards from the previous spot.

How executed

Both hands start at the waist and are brought to the shoulder in an unhurried motion.

Finally point to the offending team by streching an arm out from the shoulder to the horizontal.

Referee’s Signal Number 17 – Uncatchable Pass

Uncatchable PassWhen used

This signal is used by the covering official to indicate that in his judgement the forward pass was uncatchable. This may negate any pass interference calls made in the vicinity of the intended receiver.

How executed

Begin with one hand held over and slightly behind your head, and then bring it forward in front of your head simulating the motion of a ball passing overhead out of reach. It may be repeated a number of times so that others may recognise it.

Referee’s Signal Number 18 – Offside

OffsideWhen used

This signal is used by the Referee to indicate that a player has illegally entered the Neutral Zone. It may be preceded by the dead-ball signal (S7) if the offence occurred before the snap.

Penalty

Irregardless of whether this is a live or dead ball foul, the penalty will be 5 yards from the previous spot.

How executed

Begin the motion with your arms at your side and bring them up to your hips in an unhurried manner.

Finally point to the offending team by streching an arm out from the shoulder to the horizontal.

Referee’s Signal Number 19 – Illegal Procedure

False StartWhen used

This signal is used by the Referee to indicate any one of several procedure fouls by the offense. These may occur before the snap (eg false-start) when the signal would be preceeded by the dead-ball signal (S7) or a live-ball foul such as an illegal formation.

Penalty

Irregardless of whether this is a live or dead ball foul, the penalty will be 5 yards from the previous spot.

How executed

Begin with both hands held in front of the chest so that they overlap, and then make a slow, circular motion with both hands so that they go around each other. Complete 4/5 circles.

Finally point to the offending team by streching an arm out from the shoulder to the horizontal.

Referee’s Signal Number 20 – Illegal Motion

Illegal ShiftWhen used

This signal is used by the Referee to indicate a member of the offense was illegally in motion at the snap – usually towards the line of scrimmage (he may only be going parallel or backwards when the ball is snapped).

It is also used to indicate an illegal shift by the offense, when both hands are used simultaneously – ie more than one player was still in motion or that the offense had not set for one second after a shift and before the snap.

Penalty

The penalty for either foul is 5 yards from the previous spot.

How executed

Begin the motion with your arm(s) held at your chest and move it (them) forward and level until an angle of approximately 45 degrees is reached in an unhurried manner.

Use just one arm to indicate illegal motion or both arms for an illegal shift.

Finally point to the offending team by streching an arm out from the shoulder to the horizontal.

Referee’s Signal Number 21 – Delay of Game

Delay of GameWhen used

This signal has several meaning, but mostly is used by the Referee to indicate that there has been an undue delay, or that the 25-second clock has run out.

May also be used against the defense if they are not ready following a timeout and the offense are ready to snap the ball. Similarly against the defense when they attempt to simulate the cadence of the quarterback.

Penalty

5 yards from the previous spot.

How executed

Both hands start at the waist and are brought across the chest in an unhurried motion.

Finally point to the offending team by streching an arm out from the shoulder to the horizontal.

Referee’s Signal Number 22 – Illegal Substitution

Substitution InfractionWhen used

This signal is used by the Referee to signal that a player has entered or left the field illegally. It may also be used when a player joins a huddle to make 12 and one does not leave immediately.

Penalty

5 yards from the previous spot.

How executed

Begin with both hands held by your side and with an unhurried motion bring one of them up until it touches the opposite shoulder.

Finally point to the offending team by streching an arm out from the shoulder to the horizontal.

Referee’s Signal Number 23 – Equipment Violation

Equipment ViolationWhen used

This signal is used by the Referee to signal that a player is wearing illegal equipment or that his equipment is being used incorrectly (eg chinstrap undone).

This is a violation and usually results in the offending team losing a time-out to enable the equipment to be made legal. If a team has no time-outs remaining then it is treated as a Delay of Game (S21).

There is an extreme case of a player wearing illegal cleats, where the offender is also disqualified (S47).

How executed

Begin with both hands held by your side and with an unhurried motion bring one of them up until it touches the back of your neck.

Finally point to the offending team by streching an arm out from the shoulder to the horizontal.

Referee’s Signal Number 24 – Illegal Helmet Contact

Illegal Helmet ContactWhen used

This signal is used by the Referee to indicate illegal contact by the helmet. This is considered a dangerous foul for both the perpetrator and the recipient and so is a personal foul.

Penalty

15 yards from the basic spot and an automatic first down if against the defence.

How executed

Firstly execute the Personal Foul signal (S38), then raise one hand to tap the side of the head in an unhurried manner.

Finally point to the offending team by streching an arm out from the shoulder to the horizontal.

Referee’s Signal Number 27 – Unsportsmanlike Contact

Unsportsmanlike ConductWhen used

This signal is used by the Referee to indicate an act of unsportsmanlike conduct or other non-contact foul has occured. Curiously enough, this is also used when a player has deliberately contacted an Official.

Penalty

These fouls are usually considered to have no impact on the outcome of the play and so are usually treated a dead-ball fouls. They attract a 15 yard penalty.

How executed

If treated as a dead ball foul, first give the Deal Ball signal (S7), then begin the signal with both hands at about chest high and then extend them to the side in an unhurried manner until they are fully horizontal.

Finally point to the offending team by streching an arm out from the shoulder to the horizontal.

Referee’s Signal Number 28 – Illegal Participation

Illegal ParticipationWhen used

This signal is used by the Referee to indicate that a team had more than 11 players on the field at the snap. This is usually a rare foul as the team will be called for Illegal Substitution (<a href=”signal22.htm>S22) if the officials are able to recognise it in time.

Penalty

15 yard penalty from the previous spot.

How executed

Both hands are raised to touch the top of the head in an unhurried manner.

Finally point to the offending team by streching an arm out from the shoulder to the horizontal.

Referee’s Signal Number 30 – Fouling the Kicker

Roughing/Running into KickerWhen used

This signal is used by the Referee to indicate that the kicker has been fouled by being “run into”. If the foul is preceded by the personal foul signal (S38) then it is “roughing the kicker”.

Penalty

If the foul is “running into” then it is a 5 yard penalty; if roughing, a 15 yard penalty. Either would be assessed from the previous spot, although the roughing would also attract an automatic First Down.

How executed

The signal is begun from a normal standing position, and one foot is moved forward by about a foot in a gentle kicking action.

Finally point to the offending team by streching an arm out from the shoulder to the horizontal.

Referee’s Signal Number 31 – Illegal Batting/Kicking of the Ball

Illegal BattingWhen used

This signal is used by the Referee to indicate that the ball has been illegally batted or kicked.

Penalty

For batting a ball forwards either when in player possession or a backwards pass, this is a 15 yard penalty from the basic spot. For batting or kicking a loose ball it usually also attracts a Loss of Down (S9) as well.

How executed

Begin with both hands at your side and then bring one in an unhurried motion upwards to rest on your shoulder. If you are signalling an illegal kicked ball, also move one foot forward by about a foot in a gentle kicking action.

Finally point to the offending team by streching an arm out from the shoulder to the horizontal.

Referee’s Signal Number 33 – Illegal Interference with a Catch

Catch InferferenceWhen used

This signal is used by the Referee to indicate that interference with a player’s attempt to catch a forward pass or kick has occurred.

Penalty

For kick catch interference, the penalty is 15 yards from the spot of the kick or from the 20-yard line if the offence occurred in the end zone.

For pass interference, the penalty is 15 yards from the previous spot if by the offense

For pass interference by the defense, the ball is usually spotted at the point of the foul up-to a maximum of 15 yards. It always attracts an automatic First Down.

How executed

Begin with both hands held forward just in front of the chest, and then move gently forward by about a foot to give a pushing motion.

Finally point to the offending team by streching an arm out from the shoulder to the horizontal.

Referee’s Signal Number 34 – Roughing the Passer

Roughing the PasserWhen used

This signal is used by the Referee to indicate that the passer has been illegally contacted following a forward pass.

Penalty

This foul attracts a 15 yard penalty and an automatic First Down. This is added to the end of the last run when it ends beyond the neutral zone, otherwise from the previous spot.

How executed

Begin with one hand up by the side of you head, and bring it forwards in a unhurried passing motion. This signal will be preceded by the personal foul signal (S38).

Finally point to the offending team by streching an arm out from the shoulder to the horizontal.

Referee’s Signal Number 35 – Illegal Pass

Illegal PassWhen used

This signal is used by the Referee to indicate that an illegal pass has occurred. This may be against the offense as follows:

  1. A forward pass from in front of or once the ball has crossed the line of scrimmage
  2. A second forward pass during the same down
  3. A forward handoff to a team mate who is not elligible to receive such a handoff
  4. An intentional backward pass out of bounds to conserve time

This may also be against any player who makes a forward pass following a change of possession.

Penalty

For types 1-3 above, it will be assessed from the spot of the foul and will attract both a 5 yard penalty and a Loss of Down (S9).

For type 4 it will be a 5 yard penalty from the spot of the foul.

How executed

Begin with both hands held by your side and with an unhurried but exaggerated motion move one around to the side and continue until it has reached the small of your back. I believe that this should be exaggerated otherwise it could be missed by the press box.

This will usually be followed by the Loss of Down signal (S9).

Finally point to the offending team by streching an arm out from the shoulder to the horizontal.

Referee’s Signal Number 36 – Intentional Grounding

Intentional GroundingWhen used

This signal is used by the Referee to indicate that a forward pass has been intentionally and illegally thrown where no elligible receiver could reasonably catch it to avoid a sack.

Penalty

There is no yardage penalty for this, just Loss of Down (S9) at the spot of the foul.

How executed

Begin the signal standing upright with both arms in the air to the side as shown in the picture, and then bring them both down together in a light throwing motion until they are directly in front of you.

This will be followed by the Loss of Down signal (S9).

Finally point to the offending team by streching an arm out from the shoulder to the horizontal.

Referee’s Signal Number 37 – Ineligible Receiver Downfield

Ineligible DownfieldWhen used

This signal is used by the Referee to indicate that an ineligible receiver has gone downfield during a forward pass.

Only players who are in the offensive backfield or on either end of the line of scrimmage and wearing numbers other than 50-79 are eligible

Penalty

5 yard penalty from the previous spot.

How executed

Begin the motion with your arm held at your side and place it on top of your head in an unhurried manner.

Finally point to the offending team by streching an arm out from the shoulder to the horizontal.

Referee’s Signal Number 38 – Personal Foul

Personal FoulWhen used

This signal is used by the Referee to signal that a personal foul has been commited. It is often followed by another foul signal when it indicates the severity of the second foul (e.g. a 15-yard facemask foul rather than a 5-yard one).

Penalty

When against the defense, this always results in an automatic first down. It attracts a 15 yard penalty, but the assessment spot depends on the type of foul although most are from the basic spot.

How executed

One arm is held in front of and across the body just above head height, and the second is held slightly higher and brought downwards in an unhurried motion simulating the striking of the first arm (you should not actually hit the first arm – it hurts!).

Finally point to the offending team by streching an arm out from the shoulder to the horizontal.

Referee’s Signal Number 39 – Clipping

ClippingWhen used

This signal is used by the Referee to indicate that the personal foul of clipping (blocking below the waist and from behind) has occured.

Penalty

15 yard penalty from the basic spot and an automatic first down if by the defense.

How executed

This is preceded by the Personal Foul signal (S38). Begins the signal standing upright with both arms to your sides, and then bring one around and behind in an unhurried sweeping motion as you bend your legs slightly so that your hand passes behind you below waist level.

Finally point to the offending team by streching an arm out from the shoulder to the horizontal.

Referee’s Signal Number 40 – Illegal Block Below the Waist

Illegal Block Below the WaistWhen used

This signal is used by the Referee to indicate that an illegal block below the waist has occurred. Whilst blocking below the waist (other than from behind) is permitted in most situations, there are times when it is illegal – eg after an interception or following a kick.

Penalty

This attracts a 15 yard penalty, usually from the spot of the foul.

How executed

This is preceded by the Personal Foul signal (S38). Begin the signal standing upright with both arms to your sides, and then raise both simultaneously by a couple of feet and give a gentle chopping motion towards your thighs, bending forwards slightly as you do so.

Finally point to the offending team by streching an arm out from the shoulder to the horizontal.

Referee’s Signal Number 42 – Holding

HoldingWhen used

This signal is used by the Referee to indicate holding has occurred.

Penalty

This is a 10 yard penalty and is most often called against the offense, when it will be assessed from the basic spot.

It may also be called against the defense on a forward pass play when a defender holds an eligible receiver – this attracts both a 10 yard penalty and an automatic First Down.

How executed

Begin the motion with one arm held in front of your chest and bring the other hand up and grasp the other forearm and pull it down slightly in an unhurried manner.

Finally point to the offending team by streching an arm out from the shoulder to the horizontal.

Referee’s Signal Number 43 – Illegal Block in the Back

Illegal Block in the BackWhen used

This signal is used by the Referee to indicate that an illegal use of hands or illegal block in the back foul has occurred. When against the offense it is usually for a block in the back, but covers a multitude of sins by the defense.

Penalty

This is a 10 yard penalty and it will be assessed from the basic spot.

If it is called against the defense on a forward pass play when a defender fouls an eligible receiver – this attracts both a 10 yard penalty and an automatic First Down.

How executed

Begin with one hand held close to and in front of the chest with the palm facing forwards and the other hand grasping its wrist. Push gently forward by about a foot.

Finally point to the offending team by streching an arm out from the shoulder to the horizontal.

Referee’s Signal Number 44 – Assisting the Runner

Assisting the RunnerWhen used

This signal is used by the Referee usually to indicate that illegal assistance has been given to a runner by an on-field team-mate – eg a strong push or the ball-carrier grabbing a team mate’s belt and being “towed”. This is a comparitively rare foul.

Penalty

5 yards from the spot of the foul.

How executed

Begin the motion with both your arms held at your side with the palms facing forward, and move them forwards in a gentle pushing motion. It is not necessary, and indeed undesirable, to push the hips forward at the same time.

Finally point to the offending team by streching an arm out from the shoulder to the horizontal.

Referee’s Signal Number 45 – Facemask

Face MaskWhen used

This signal is used by the Referee to indicate that a facemask has been illegally contacted.

It is possible, but rare, for a facemask foul to be called against the defense without it being called a personal foul. All facemask fouls by the offense, and by any player following a change of possession or dead-ball, are personal fouls.

Penalty

15 yards for a personal foul (and an automatic First Down if by the defense), or 5 yards for an incidental occurrence.

How executed

The foul may be preceded by the personal foul signal (S38) depending on the severity of the offence. Bring one hand to the lower face in a grasping motion and bring downwards by 6 inches in an unhurried motion.

Finally point to the offending team by streching an arm out from the shoulder to the horizontal.

Referee’s Signal Number 46 – Tripping

TrippingWhen used

This signal is used by the Referee to indicate the personal foul of tripping has occured. It should be noted that the runner may be legally tripped.

Penalty

15 yard penalty and an automatic First Down if against the defense.

How executed

The foul will preceded by the personal foul signal (S38). Begin the signal standing upright with both feet together, and then bring one foot back and behind the other to simulate a trip in an unhurried manner (vital if you don’t want to fall over!).

Finally point to the offending team by streching an arm out from the shoulder to the horizontal.