Why Do Referees Throw Their Hats In Football

When watching a football game you may have noticed a referee throw his hat onto the field of play. These funny moments make the game a bit more entertaining.

The issue is most fans don’t understand what the throwing of the hat means. That’s why this article is on hand to break down everything you need to know about why referees throw their hats in football.

There are two reasons which could lead to a referee throwing his hat in the field of play. The first reason occurs is when two penalties are committed in one play leaving the official without a penalty flag. The other reason for throwing their hat is to mark a player as an ineligible receiver.

Multiple Penalties On A Single Play

One of the most common reasons you will see a referee throw his hat on the play is because two penalties have occurred in his field of view.

A referee is equipped with several tools to start a game. Those being a flag, a blue bean bag, and his hat.

A flag is thrown when a penalty occured, the bean bag is thrown when possession changes. The hat is what is used when the referee has already thrown his penalty flag and then spots another penalty occur.

Referees do not carry two yellow flags so the second “flag” to be thrown will be the referee’s hat. This is a common situation when there is a large scrum of players.

The ref will throw his flag indicating a penalty and as the players began to push eachother after the play you will often notice the ref throw his hat.

Marking A Player Out Of Bounds

The other instance in which a referee will throw their hat occurs when a receiver steps out of bounds on his own accord. When playing receiver you are not allowed to leave the playing surface then re-enter and catch a pass.

This rule was put in place so that receivers are not able to use running out of bounds as an advantage.

Though a receiver only becomes ineligible when he steps out of bounds himself. If a defensive player pushes a receiver out of bounds they are not considered an ineligible receiver.

If a referee notices a player steps out of bounds by his own decision then it is his job to throw his hat at the location in which the play stepped out.

This is done to show that the player is now considered ineligible.

At this point, the referee cannot throw a flag because a penalty has not been committed unless the player catches the ball while ineligible.

The blue bean bag is meant only for use of spotting the ball in a change of possession. This means the referee’s hat is the next best option to mark a player ineligible.

Concluding Thoughts

In conclusion, there are two times in which a referee is going to throw his hat on the field. The first is when he has already thrown his penalty flag and he spots another penalty. The other is when a receiver steps out of bounds on his own accord.

We hope you enjoyed this article on why referees throw their hats in football see what referees wear on their hands or learn how to become an NFL referee.

Leave a Comment