The Golden Isles Rotary club hosted SEC replay official Steve Landis on Wednesday as he gave a presentation about his duties.
Landis has been a football official for roughly 50 years. He spent 17 years as a high school referee before moving to college football officiating. Landis spent eight years as a referee in the Southern Conference. He spent his first 11 years in the SEC as a referee and then became an instant replay official 14 years ago.
He also has lived on St. Simons island since 2007 with his wife of 48 years. He attended Florida State University for his undergrad and then Georgia Tech for his masters.
Some of his assignments that he has been apart of include two SEC Championship games, the Rose Bowl, the Liberty Bowl, the Sun Bowl, the Holiday Bowl, the Armed Forces Bowl, the Russell Athletic Bowl, the Belk Bowl and the GoDaddy Bowl.
Landis received clearance from the SEC to speak Wednesday morning.
He talked about what his job entails weekly during football season. Then he broke down some rule changes for the upcoming season.
He began his presentation by letting the group know about the new SEC officiating website and Twitter page. The site has videos and various elements on it which discusses the different calls and rulings that occur and so people can understand it better.
He went into what officiating crews do and who is in the booth with him. There are three people on his team, including himself, a technician, and the communicator.
During the game, he has a screen that he looks at that has four different angles that allow him to see the play from all aspects and make sure the call is correct.
Landis’ week during football season begins on Friday. The crew arrives by Friday by 6 p.m., and they review film. On Saturdays, there is a pre-game meeting five hours before the game.
Then the officiating crews depart for the stadium 2 1/2 hours before kickoff. That is when they test the equipment and make sure everything is up and running.
Finally, the officiating crew, TV producers, and other individuals all sit down for the 110-minute meeting. This meeting is to make sure that everyone is on the same page and that everyone gets the common message.
After the game on Sunday, the crew makes copies of the game and have a game review with the Game Day evaluator. There is also a post-game meeting on Sunday.
Landis then went into three new rule changes for the 2019 season. The rules he went over were targeting calls, blindside blocks, and overtime.
The biggest change in the targeting rule was that the crew isn’t going to assume a call on the field is correct. The officiating crew will completely re-officiate the play from the beginning making sure it is in fact, targeting. Now, officials will either confirm or reverse the call.
Blindside blocking got added to the calls this season and will be a 15-yard penalty. A blindside block is an open field block against an opponent that is initiated from outside the opponent’s field of vision.
Finally, the overtime rules will change this football season as well. The usual overtime rules will stay in place through the first four overtimes. After that, teams will attempt two-point conversions until someone wins.
Landis said on average there are 2.1 stops per game with one of three calls resulting in a reversal. He also said that the SEC has a 1:10 minute average review time which is about eight minutes less than the 1:18 national average.
Thirty percent of calls involve whether not it was a catch or not, 17 percent of the calls include scoring and targeting, and 14 percent of the calls are about if it’s a first down or not and if a runner was down or not.
One of the most interesting things Landis talked about during the question portion of the event was that no SEC official can call a game that includes some form of bias.
In other words, if an official went to a school he or she cannot call that game. If the official knows the coaches personally, they cannot work the game. Landis said that this is something they do to avoid having any form of bias on the crews.
At the end of the event, the rotary club presented a book that they will donate to Goodyear Elementary in his name.