Referees Coaching Players

June 9th, 2022

Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich chats with a group of referees who worked yesterday’s Day 2 of minicamp.

Joe saw the coolest thing yesterday at underwear football practice/Day 2 of minicamp.

Joe saw a referee coaching up Carlton Davis.

What? A referee acting as a coach? Yeah, really. Let Joe explain.

So yesterday a group of referees were working the practice. Joe didn’t notice any flags thrown. Perhaps they were just there to observe or prepare for the season themselves.

But what Joe did see was the Bucs scrubs on the field while the first team defense took a break. There, Davis grabbed a bottle of water and took a knee while watching practice. Shortly, a referee came over.

Joe saw that the two have a conversation, and the referee was standing and leaning over squarely in front of Davis, again on one knee. Then Joe saw him grab Davis with both hands, each hand on a shoulder, and then gesture like he was putting his forearm across Davis’ chest.

This was clearly a conversation related to explainirng what Davis can and cannot get away with. Perhaps holding or pass interference calls have been tweaked?

Joe thought this was cool as could be. Instead of referees coming in and just throwing flags, it seems they were helping players out, teaching them the finer points of what will and won’t get called.

Joe has no idea whose idea that is or was, but what a good idea! Well done, Roger Goodell?

15 Responses to “Referees Coaching Players”

  1. D-Rome Says:

    I thought this was a thing for years.

  2. SKBucsFan Says:

    This is a great idea. Do they ever attend full gear pre season intersquad scrimmages? They would be really useful in full-contact practices.

  3. Dooley Says:

    Hey Joe, Carlton Davis mentioned Inky Johnson talking to the team yesterday, do you know if he was around for practice? It’s not the first time Johnson has come to talk to this team, but I ran across his story a few years back and thought it was awesome he initially spoke to the squad 4 or 5 years ago.

  4. Joe Says:

    I thought this was a thing for years.

    Referees have come to practices for years. Often a ref will speak to the team as a whole. Joe has never seen a referee work with an individual player on the sidelines demonstrating to the player, physically, hands-on, what can and can’t be used.

  5. Joe Says:

    Hey Joe, Carlton Davis mentioned Inky Johnson talking to the team yesterday, do you know if he was around for practice?

    Joe had to look up who this guy is. So Joe can’t say if he was there or not. There was a guy who sure looked like Bruce Gradkowski there and he was hanging with Tom Moore. No idea if it was Gradkowski or not.

  6. Beeej Says:

    I wonder if the team pays them for this service? Good way to buy good will (if you KNOW what I mean…..)

  7. PassingThru Says:

    The refs do this every season, but usually it’s limited to the coaching staff, or team-wide when they’ve collected together in the film room.

    The refs are instructed on what types of penalties the league will be focusing on next season, and in particular, what types of moves will be under the microscope.

    Yes, as Joe said I am not aware of crews talking to players to that extent. It’s a friendly ref who likes Carlton Davis.

  8. David Says:

    Good stuff. LFG

  9. Dooley Says:


    Took a look per the Finger Lake Times that WAS Bruce Gradkowski. Apparently he’s going to be Anthony Bechts’ OC in St.Louis

  10. GOB Says:

    Passing is right, the league office always tells it’s refs what penalties will be emphasized, any given year. The NFL still has a ref problem. 90% of NFL refs have other jobs. It’s ridiculous. Make these guys full time employees. It’ll never happen though. Owners are cheap by nature. Many owners inherited teams from daddy. Several of them should be ousted. The Colts owner, who was caught with a pile of oxycodone comes to mind.

  11. Irishmist Says:

    So the refs are telling them what they can get away with while Brady is on the team. Next they need to tell them how things will change after he leaves.

  12. Alvafan Says:

    Some refs are alright and some like Ed Hochuli think they’re bigger than the game

  13. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    Refs did that for my daughter’s basketball team in high school every season. Seems like standard protocol.

  14. Buczilla Says:

    Get rid of all but the most flagrant pass interference or holding calls. Walk into any 8th grade algebra class in the country and randomly choose a kid pulling at least a C to determine what a catch is once and for all. Get rid of any and all rules in regards to hitting with the exception of helmet to helmet. Lastly, hire refs full time and pay them like they effect the outcome of games, because they most certainly do.

  15. El Knid Says:

    The NFL can’t just unilaterally decide to make officiating a full time job, it would have be negotiated as part of a new collective bargaining agreement with the officials’ union. Unfortunately, there’s a sufficiently large contingent of the league’s most experienced officials for whom such a change would be a complete non-starter, and so far they’ve been able to keep any proposal that would create even a single full-time officiating position off the table.