When player possession of the ball is lost and a fumble ensues, the covering official
should drop his beanbag at his feet on the yard line where possession was lost. This
action is necessary for multiple reasons; the beanbag spot may be used as an
enforcement spot for fouls committed while the ball is loose; it may be the spot the ball
is returned to if the ball goes out of bounds in advance of that spot; or if an inadvertent
whistle occurs during the loose ball.
Fumbles are a critical part of the game and may become a turning point.
It is of utmost importance that the officials communicate the results of all fumbles
clearly, and in a timely manner.
When fumbles occur, the most important issue to coaches, players, fans and media is--
WHO'S BALL IS IT??
If the defense recovers, the stop the clock signal is given, followed by a point in the
direction of the recovering team. If the offense recovers, the covering official should
only signal the next down (unless a first down was achieved; in that case, the stop the
clock signal is given, followed by a point in the direction of the covering team).
NOTE- In cases where the clock is an issue, such as the last two minutes of a half, the
timeout signal should precede the directional signal.
Eaifo2 - Notebook Mechanics