See the Whole Play

August 19, 2014

“What I Learned from That Play” was the name given to a session at the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO) Summit in Albuquerque last month. Several prominent officials talked about tough calls they made. One official was telling us of an error made, the other of a correct call; but the message was the same from both: “See the whole play.”
One official described an apparent touchdown reception where the focus of the officials was intent upon whether or not the receiver had a foot inbounds and maintained possession of the ball. Both occurred, but all the officials missed the fact that the receiver’s foot had brushed the pylon at the goal line, which made the pass incomplete regardless of what followed. “In focusing so intently on two key aspects of the play, we missed a detail that overruled the other two.”
“To make the right call we have to avoid narrow focus and be aware of all details,” this college official opined.
The other official described a play in which the quarterback rolled to his left to throw a pass while linemen provided protection. There was a near chop block by the left guard and running back, near hold by the right tackle, and a center/guard double team that had to be observed closely. But there were no penalties called, correctly according to the video the audience was shown.
The play ended with the quarterback heaving a forward pass just as he was being tackled. The referee called him down by contact, before the pass; and the video showed that call to also be correct.
The referee said: “If the officials had fixated on the double team, or the potential hold or the possible chop block, the crew may have missed that the quarterback was down by contact for a seven-yard loss.”
Each official was speaking of the importance of seeing the whole play – all of the key factors. Staying open to all the details.
Game officials must do this over the span of a few seconds or less, but countless times over the course of a contest. Administrators have the luxury of minutes, days, weeks or longer to get it right.

Here are a few more pearls of wisdom from the nation’s leading gathering of sports officials, these from Barry Mano, NASO president:

  • “Incorrect no-calls are easier to explain than incorrect calls.”
  • “Officials are to enforce, not appease.”
  • “In spite of their criticisms, there is no sensible parent who would want their child to participate without officials.”

Be the Referee: Appeal Play

By Paige Winne
MHSAA Marketing & Social Media Coordinator

May 29, 2024

Be The Referee is a series of short messages designed to help educate people on the rules of different sports, to help them better understand the art of officiating, and to recruit officials.

Below is this week's segment – Appeal Play - Listen

We’re on the diamond, and we’ve got the bases loaded with one out. The batter hits a fly ball, and all three runners take off. The fly ball is caught for out number two. The fielder throws to first base for out number three – which is technically an appeal play, not a force out, with the runner leaving early. But before that out is recorded, the runner who left third base early crosses the plate.

Does that run count?

It depends!

If the defense appeals to third base before leaving the field of play, they would be awarded a fourth out, and the run would not count.

But if they fail to appeal, or if they all run to the dugout before realizing an appeal is needed, then yes, the run would count – even though the runner failed to tag up.

Previous Editions

May 21: Lacrosse Foul in Critical Scoring Area - Listen
May 14: Avoiding the Tag - Listen
May 7: Baseball Pitch Count - Listen
April 30: Boys Lacrosse Helmets - Listen
April 23: Softball Interference - Listen
April 16: Soccer Red Card - Listen
April 9: Batted Baseball Hits Runner - Listen
March 12: Basketball Replay - Listen
March 5: Hockey Officials - Listen
Feb. 27: Less Than 5 - Listen
Feb. 20: Air Ball - Listen
Feb. 13: Hockey Penalties - Listen
Jan. 30: Wrestling Tiebreakers - Listen
Jan. 23: Wrestling Technology - Listen
Jan. 9: 3 Seconds - Listen
Dec. 19: Unsuspecting Hockey Hits - Listen
Dec. 12: No More One-And-Ones - Listen
Nov. 21: Football Finals Replay - Listen
Nov. 14: Volleyball Unplayable Areas - Listen
Nov. 7: Pass/Kick Off Crossbar - Listen
Oct. 31: Cross Country Interference - Listen
Oct. 24: Soccer Overtime - Listen
Oct. 17: Tennis Spin - Listen
Oct. 10: Blocked Kick - Listen
Oct. 3: Volleyball Double & Lift - Listen
Sept. 26: Registration Process - Listen
Sept. 20: Animal Interference - Listen
Sept. 13: Feet Rule on Soccer Throw-In - Listen
Sept. 6: Volleyball Jewelry - Listen
Aug. 30: Football Rules Similarities - Listen
Aug. 23: Football Rules Differences - Listen

(Photo by Gary Shook.)