Philadelphia Eagles News

Football 101: Spotting The Ball


*In this feature, Football 101, NFL officials help explain and clarify some of the rules that impact the game. This week, back judge Tony Michalek explains how referees handle spotting the ball and placing it down with offenses moving faster and faster:

Summary From The Official NFL Rule Book - Rule 3, Section 1, Article 2

"A dead ball is ready for play while the 40-second play clock is running when the ball is placed down by an official at the spot where the ball will next be put in play, or when the referee signals for the 25-second play clock to start."

The Official Point of View

"When the play ends, it all depends on what side of the field the football's on," Michalek said. "It's really simple. If it ends on the right side, the ball gets a right hashmark. On an incomplete pass, it goes back to the same hashmark.

Michalek continued, explaining the timing aspect of placing the ball in terms of dealing with fast offenses.

"We have our own mechanics of how we do things," he said. "The mechanics change during the time of the game. When we get under two minutes, it begins to change.

"But we set the tempo, and we set the tempo at a pretty good pace because we want to be as efficient as we can, too. We want to get that ball down as quick as possible, regardless, because we want to get ourselves, our seven people, focused on their pre-snap responsibilites. So we try really hard to get it down pretty quickly.

"When the umpire moved to the defensive backfield there was a big thing about getting the ball down, but it has not been a problem."

Last week, back judge Tony Michalek explained how much space kick returners are given on fair catches.

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