SOFT SPOTS

DESCRIPTION-

A "soft-spot" is the approximate forward progress spot, as observed from across the
field by the opposite side official, when the runner/receiver, in possession of the ball, is
contacted and driven back to a spot where the ball becomes dead.

This spot is extremely important when the play ends near the line to gain or the goal
line.

"Soft spots" are most frequently required on plays that end in the vicinity of, or slightly
beyond (within 10-15 yards), the line of scrimmage. Occasionally, a "soft spot" is
required deeper down the field, but only if a first down or touchdown is in question.

PROCEDURE-

The opposite side official (HL or LJ), and the Umpire, must always be conscious of
the ball carrier being driven back from his established forward progress spot. SJ and
FJ should mirror this procedure on downfield plays. Upon this recognition, the
opposite side official should establish, to the best of his ability, a forward progress spot
on his side of the field, that may be required by the covering official to accurately spot
the ball.

Frequently, the covering official will be unable to establish an accurate forward
progress spot in this situation due to the fact that he is moving downfield toward the
dead ball spot as the ball carrier is being driven back.  In many instances, these
movements result in the covering official establishing a forward progress spot that is
inaccurate (usually short), thus the need for assistance from another official.

When this occurs, the Umpire, upon retrieving the ball after the play becomes dead, or
the covering official who is holding his spot for a possible first down ruling, should look
to the opposite side official for a "soft spot". The opposite side official should indicate
to the Umpire or covering official, that he, the opposite side official, has a better spot
than the covering official. The ball should then be spotted using the "soft spot".

This procedure should be always discussed during the pre-game conference by the
entire crew.
Eaifo2 - Notebook Mechanics