This question largely pertains to basketball and American football. I've seen footage from the team locker rooms during halftime where the coaches and players go over issues from the first half that need to be addressed, key statistics, etc.

I've often wondered what the referees do during the halftime break (other than get a breather). Do they go over replays where they botched calls? If so, do they have someone whose job it is to create the "highlight reel" of missed calls, e.g. a coach for the referees?

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    No clue what pro's do, but high school officials will usually spend some time recovering from the first half (grab some water, maybe a protein bar) and chat up the scorer's table.
    – wax eagle
    Jun 24, 2013 at 15:58

2 Answers 2


Especially in this age of 'on demand' media, NBA referees will take this time to analyze specific plays, fouls, flopping and potential arguments that might carry over to second half between two opposing players or between a particular referee and coach/player. The head referee will also critique his crew and make adjustments for second half. And as mentioned above its an opportunity to 'relax' and rehydrate.

Here's a good behind the scenes of NBA referee's halftime routines (around 2min mark): http://www.nba.com/video/channels/nba_tv/2013/04/17/20130416-monty-mccutchen-feat.nba/index.html

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    thank you for the link. It would be interesting if someone did a reality show and followed referees around for a while so you can see what they do.
    – Bob
    Aug 27, 2013 at 14:30
  • That's an awesome video that perfectly answers what I was wondering.
    – Devin
    Jan 7, 2016 at 20:43
  • @bob I'd definitely watch that
    – Sebastien
    Dec 27, 2017 at 21:58

Most referees use this time to reflect on how the first half went. They discuss the game with their Assistant Referee’s and are scanning for pointers. Some do this in order to hear from the Assistant Referee’s how well they are refreeing. Others will use reasoning to justify the mistakes they made or even cover their butts by making excuses.

  • I assume this is what they do, but do you have any reference, referee interview, etc that discusses this?
    – Devin
    Jun 25, 2013 at 17:00
  • This link may help you. scrrs.net/articles/what-should-a-referee-do-at-half-time
    – Divyesh
    Jun 26, 2013 at 7:30
  • that's an interesting article, especially where it points out not to look at film from the first half. However, this is for a minor league rugby league, where stakes might not be so high. I'm specifically looking for NBA and/or NFL.
    – Devin
    Jun 26, 2013 at 17:03

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