49ers vs. Colts referees: Terry McAulay to be lead official

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Spor

The 49ers and Colts will be officiated by Terry McAulay's crew on Sunday Night Football. We break down the crew, and the assignments for each member. New to Niners Nation? Sign up here and join the discussion!

The 49ers and Colts get things going at 1:25 p.m. Sunday afternoon, and the lead official for the game will be Terry McAulay. As always, the folks at Football Zebras and Football-Refs do a great job compiling the various referee assignments each week. I figure it is useful to have at least a little bit of knowledge about the officiating crew.

McAulay has been a referee since 2001, and previously served as a side judge in dating back to 1998. McAulay started as a high school ref in 1976, and moved onto the college level in the mid-90s.

Among his more notable appearances, he was the lead official for Super Bowl XXXIX between the Patriots and Eagles, and Super Bowl XLIII between the Cardinals and Steelers. He has been the lead official for eight 49ers games in his career. The last 49ers game he officiated was the team's big win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2011.

The full crew for 49ers-Colts will likely be:

R: Terry McAulay #77
U: Scott Dawson #70
HL: Greg Bradley #98
LJ: Mark Steinkerchner #84
FJ: Terry Brown #43
SJ: James Coleman #95
BJ: Lee Dyer #27

The NFL rulebook provides useful definitions for each of the officials. I thought I would break the various job descriptions for each of the members of Terry McAulay's crew.

Umpire

  • Primary jurisdiction over the equipment and conduct/actions of players on the scrimmage line.
  • The umpire is to assist the Referee on decisions involving possession of the ball in close proximity to the line, after a loose ball or runner has crossed it. The Umpire and the Line Judge are to determine whether ineligible linemen illegally cross the line prior to a pass, and the Umpire must wipe a wet ball in accordance with the proper timing. The Umpire should count the offensive players on the field at the snap.

Linesman:

  • The Linesman operates on the visitor’s side of field designated by the Referee during the first half and on opposite side during the second half unless ordered otherwise.
  • He is responsible for illegal motion, offside, encroaching, and any actions pertaining to scrimmage line prior to or at snap; and for covering in his side zone.
  • The Linesman is to mark with his foot (when up with ball) the yard line touched by forward point of ball at end of each scrimmage down. At the start of each new series of downs, he and the rodmen set the yardage chains when the Referee so signals. He positively must check with the Referee as to the number of each down that is about to start.
  • On his own side, he is to assist the Line Judge as to illegal motion or a shift and umpire in regard to holding or illegal use of hands on end of line (especially during kicks or passes), and know eligible pass receivers.
  • He is to mark out-of-bounds spot on his side of field when within his range and is to supervise substitutions made by team located on his side of field during either half.

Line Judge

  • The Line Judge is to operate on side of field opposite the Linesman.
  • He is responsible for the timing of game. He also is responsible for illegal motion, illegal shift, and for covering in his side zone.
  • On his own side, he is to: (a) assist the Linesman as to offside or encroaching; (b) assist the Umpire as to holding or illegal use of hands on the end of the line (especially during kicks or passes); (c) assist the Referee as to whether a pass is forward or backward behind the line and false starts; and (d) be responsible for knowing the eligible pass receivers. (e) mark the out-of-bounds spot of all plays on his side, when within his range; (f) supervise substitutions made by the team seated on his side of the field during either half; (g) notify the home team head coach with the Field Judge five minutes before the start of the second half.

Field Judge

  • The Field Judge will operate on the same side of the field as Line Judge, 20 yards deep.
  • FJ shall count the number of defensive players on the field at the snap.
  • FJ shall be responsible for all eligible receivers on his side of the field. After receivers have cleared line of scrimmage, FJ will concentrate on action in the area between the Umpire and Back Judge.
  • In addition to the specified use of the whistle by all officials, FJ is also to use his whistle when upon his positive knowledge he knows: (a) that ball is dead; (b) that time is out; (c) that time is out at the end of a down, during which a foul was signaled by a marker, no whistle has sounded in such cases; and (d) that even in the presence of a whistle up or down field, FJ is to sound his whistle when players are some distance from such signal. This will help prevent dead ball fouls.
  • FJ will assist Referee in decisions involving any catching, recovery, out of bounds spot, or illegal touching, of a loose ball, after it has crossed scrimmage line and particularly so for such actions that are out of the range of the Line Judge and Umpire.

Side Judge

  • The Side Judge will operate on the same side of the field as the Head Linesman, 20 yards deep.
  • SJ shall count the number of defensive players on the field at the snap.
  • He shall be responsible for all eligible receivers on his side of the field. After receivers have cleared line of scrimmage, Sj will concentrate on action in the area between the Umpire and Back Judge.
  • In addition to the specified use of the whistle by all officials, SJ is also to use his whistle when upon his positive knowledge he knows: (a) that ball is dead; (b) that time is out; (c) that time is out at the end of a down, during which a foul was signaled by a marker, no whistle has sounded in such cases; and (d) that even in the presence of a whistle up or down field, he is to sound his whistle when players are some distance from such signal. This will help prevent dead ball fouls.
  • SJ will assist Referee in decisions involving any catching, recovery, out of bounds spot, or illegal touching, of a loose ball, after it has crossed scrimmage line and particularly so for such actions that are out of the range of the Head Linesman and Umpire.

Back Judge

  • The Back Judge is primarily responsible in regard to covering kicks from scrimmage (unless a Try-kick) or forward passes crossing the defensive goal line and all such loose balls, out of the range of Umpire, Field Judge, and Linesman, noting an illegal substitution or withdrawal during dead ball with time in, and a foul signaled by a flag or cap during down. He will count defensive team.
  • He is to time the intermission between the two periods of each half, the length of all team timeouts, and the 40/25 seconds permitted Team A to put ball in play. He is to utilize the 40/25 second clock provided by the home team. If this clock is inoperative he should take over the official timing of the 40/25 seconds on the field.
  • In addition to the specified use of the whistle by all officials, the Back Judge is also to use his whistle, when upon his own positive knowledge he knows: (a) that ball is dead; (b) time is out; or (c) is out at end of down, during which a foul was signaled by a flag or cap, and no whistle has sounded in such cases. Even in the presence of a whistle upfield, he is to sound his when downfield players are some distance away from such signal, and in order to prevent dead ball fouls. He should be particularly alert for item (c).
  • He shall assist the Referee in decisions involving any catching, recovery, out- of-bounds spot, or illegal touching, of a loose ball, after it has crossed scrimmage line and particularly so for such actions as are out of the range of the Field Judge, Linesman, and Umpire. He should count the defensive players on the field at the snap.
  • The Back Judge has the absolute responsibility: (a) to instruct kicker and/or placekicker that "kickoff" must be made by placekick or dropkick. (b) that the height of the tee (artificial or natural) used for the kickoff conforms to the governing rules.
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