The San Francisco 49ers are at home in Week 9 following their bye to face the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. The matchup kicks off at 1:05 p.m. PT, and will be broadcast regionally on FOX. The lead official for the game will be Jerome Boger, and.....NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.
Boger officiated two 49ers games last year and one in 2014, but we all know and cherish Boger for his crew’s god-awful work in Super Bowl. In case you forgot, Bruce Miller was held, Cary Williams should have been ejected for shoving a ref, and I know some will argue till the day they die that Michael Crabtree was held. No, we’re not bitter at all.
The 49ers continue to lead the league in fewest penalties and fewest penalty yards. There has been talk of the performance of teams committing the most and fewest penalties. There generally seems to be no correlation considering some really good and really bad teams are at the top and bottom. Chip Kelly was asked about the 49ers being down low in penalties, after his Eagles teams had been all over the penalty rankings.
“It’s been an emphasis for us here. I think I understand the hidden yardage that’s involved in the penalty game and it can affect you. When we talk about self-inflicted wounds, a lot of those, sometimes those penalties are that. There are some penalties that you get from being aggressive and you know, your hand gets caught up in the back of the collar. With the new nameplate rule and the new horse collar rule, that’s a horse collar tackle. That’s not what we’re talking about. But, those administrative penalties, the pre-snap penalties, the false starts, the defensive encroachment, there’s seven to 10 penalties that occur before the ball’s snapped, delay of game, that can be really looked at and coached and player executed so that those things don’t affect you. Doesn’t take away your aggressiveness as a football player, but it’s really what we talk about the no-brainer penalties that we really try to harp on because you don’t want those things to hurt you and you need every inch, every yard you can get in this league and I think it’s a real important factor and we talk about it. The biggest thing for us right now, I know where we are from a penalty standpoint because we look at it every week, we emphasize it every week with our players, is the ones on third down are killing us. The ones that extend the drive. So, in that category, I think we’re in the high teens if I’m not mistaken. Everything else we’re either in the top one or two in the league. But, the ones that are on third down that have extended drives where basically we’re getting them off the field or conversely, we’ve got a third-and-two but then we’ve got a false start. Now, we have a third-and-seven. There’s a big difference in this league between third-and-two and third-and-seven but that’s something that our staff has emphasized and that we continue to coach our guys on.”
The folks at Football Zebras do a great job compiling the various referee assignments each week. And as always, Pro Football Reference does strong work putting together a rundown of referee stats and history. The full crew for 49ers-Saints will include the following (years experience, outside job in parenthesis):
R: Jerome Boger #23 (13, retired commercial insurance underwriter)
U: Rich Hall #49 (13, custom cabinetry)
HL: Ed Camp #134 (16, physical education teacher)
LJ: Dana McKenzie #8 (9, claims adjuster)
FJ: Eugene Hall #103 (3, federal agent)
SJ: Walt Coleman IV #87 (2, financial advisor)
BJ: Tony Steratore #112 (17, co-owner, supply company)
Replay official: Carl Madsen
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 Jerome Boger’s crew.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.