What Do Football Referee Letters Stand For?

The official referee of the game will have the letter “R,” which stands for “referee,” somewhere on their outfit. The letter “U” on a uniform denotes “umpire,” “H” or “HL” denotes “head linesman,” “L” or “LJ” denotes “line judge,” and “S” or “SJ” denotes “side judge.”

In the majority of college football conferences, multiple referees are necessary to help establish the official game regulations. The referees are there to assist in determining fair calls and whether a move was lawful or not. As football is played across a broad area, multiple referees are required. The chief referee, or the individual wearing the “R,” has the final word and can go against the decisions of the other officials on the field. Typically, the referee relies on the instruction of the other officials to determine what transpired during a play. The umpire is the subordinate to the referee and is in charge of all line plays. The umpire is responsible for the calls made by the head linesman, the side judges, and the line judges. These judges are always monitoring their own section of the field and can determine whether a play was lawful or not.


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