Tuesday, August 21, 2012


You’ve heard of  Brahms’ Lullaby but did you know it took Brahms twenty years to write it?  He kept falling to sleep at the keyboard.
Zebras keep getting between my camera
and the action.  Growl!
A couple years ago I noticed officials in my photos.  Often spoiling the picture.  I even did a post, “Kill him, kill the umpire,” complaining about the way the zebras  get between my camera and the action. 
I’ve been a football fan for over sixty years, been attending Outlaws games for eight years, and I’ve never paid attention to the officials.  In my next post I’ll tell you about Calvin Towns, a regular official at Outlaws games, and how he got me noticing officials in my pictures. It was a remarkable photo of him that inspired this post.
I never intentionally photographed an official but still have a lot of good shots.  Viewing them raised some questions.  Why do some have black hats, some white.  Why do some have letters on their backs?  How do they decide where to line up on the field?  (I should know this.  A sports photographer told us wannabes to be aware of where officials set and  position ourselves accordingly to keep the official out of our pictures.)

Outlaws games have five officials plus  a time keeper. 
Only one wears a white hat.  Wonder why?

Then I thought this might make a good blog post.  If I wonder about the zebras, maybe you do too.

A little research uncovered a lot of information.  TMI – too much information.  The Brahms effect set in.  I kept falling asleep at my computer.  Bored.  I didn’t want to know that much about the zebras.  If  this bored me it might bore you, too.  Blog posts shouldn’t be boring. 

Still, some of what I learned is interesting.  Some of the photos cool.  So how can I share the interesting stuff without boring you? 

Simple.  I should have thought of this right away.  I’m going to leave out the boring stuff.  These two posts aren’t going to tell you everything about football officials.  (If you want to know more, just Google “NFL Football Officials.”)  I’m just posting the fun stuff.  Enough information so you’ll be adequately informed.  Some of my favorite photos so you’ll be entertained. 

At Outlaws games there are five officials, plus a timekeeper.  They are:

Referee: Calvin said the referee’s main job is to make certain the “quarterback doesn’t get killed.”  He’s the one with the white hat. He lines up behind the quarterback.  He gets the glory announcing penalties and stuff on television.  Sometimes he has a big “R” on his back. 

The referee lines up behind the quarterback.  Part of his job is to protect the quarterback.
In this shot, Cookie looks like she needs some protection.  She has just thrown a pass
which is caught by her receiver.  Now she has to deal with some Dallas Diamonds.
Umpire:  Lines up five yards off the defensive side of the ball.  Sometimes wears the letter “U” on his shirt.  He’s the one who wipes the ball dry on a rainy day in the NFL.

I've posted this photo before.  It is a good shot of the umpire who lines up in the defensive
backfield.  It also shows (and this is why I like it) that it is impossible for the official
to see everything.  The umpire doesn't see the extra-curricular stuff going on at the right
where an Outlaw is explaining to a blocker that holding is illegal and holding this
Outlaw has severe consequences.

I like this photo because is shows both the referee and
umpire.  It also shows how much goes on when twenty-two
players are doing battle.  It takes several zebras to keep order.

I think he's the back judge because he lines up deep
in the defensive backfield and is in the best position to
cover a long scoring play.
Back Judge:  Lines up twenty yards deep in the defensive backfield. I'm not certain if I have a photo of the back judge but I suspect this is one.  If he lines up deep on the defensive side of the field, he is probably the one who is in the best position to determine when the offensive back crosses the goal line. 

Head Linesman and Line Judge:  These two line up on opposite sides of the field, along the sideline.  The head linesman keeps tabs on the chain crew.  I wonder if the head linesman gets paid more? 

I don't know if this official is the head linesman or just a plain old linesman.  I can tell
you that Outlaw Fuller does make the tackle. 

Line judge, or is he the head linesman, running along with
the play.  He needs to watch the runner's feet to see if
she steps out of bounds before crossing the goal line.
I don't think I'd want to be a line judge.  They seem to be the ones who have to run up and down the field with the play.  It is impressive to see them keep up with speedy runners.  I don't like running. 

I like this photo because of the official's concentration.  These men take their job seriously.

I just like this shot.  He is either a line judge or head
linesman.  He takes his job seriously.

The next post will be part two about the zebras.  In particular, we'll focus on Calvin Towns.  After that, I should be ready with a couple more player profiles, Maile and Malia Capers-Cristobal. 

1 comment:

Lily said...

haha! yes, holding #91 Dikibo has severe consequenses.. sometimes to BOTH teams! Great post Dennis! I remember one game where Monica used the Umpire to protect herself from a linebacker trying to get an angle on her.. I saw it b/c I play center, was pass blocking. After the short little pass to "just past the line of scrimmage", she scooted around the Ump and the linebacker who thought she was going to tackle Monica ran into the Official instead. It was hilarious!