WATCH: College Football Ref Takes a Tumble in Michigan-Washington Game

by Leanne Stahulak

College football flags “unnecessary roughness” for a reason. But sometimes, even the refs themselves get a taste of the foul when they’re out on the field.

During the Washington vs. Michigan game, one ref learned that lesson the hard way. Fortunately for him, his incident didn’t involve getting slammed by any of these huge, padded players. Unfortunately for him, the whole thing was recorded and broadcast on ABC in front of millions of college football viewers.

On Twitter, the popular account Barstool Sports tweeted the incident, showing a video taken of someone’s TV screen. Play is paused on the field, with a Washington player holding the ball. He tosses it in the air towards the ref, just like any other player does when a new down starts. But before the ref even makes it on screen, he clearly seems to trip over something. Because he’s already falling face-first toward the ground when the ball’s in midair.

The ball hits his head and bounces off, and the poor college football ref throws both hands out to stop his fall. The Washington player immediately holds a hand out to help him up, but the ref makes it to his own two feet. See the tumble for yourself below, in a video Barstool Sports captioned, “Unnecessary Refness.”

In the replies to the video, one fan asked what happened to the ball. Another college football fan chimed in and said that when you watch the video again, you see the ball go right back to the player, bouncing from the ref’s head back into the player’s hands. The timing is comedically perfect.

College Football Fans Weigh in on Ref’s Tumble During Washington vs. Michigan Game

Did we mention that Barstool Sports has 3 million followers? So that video of the college football ref face-planting on the field on screen got shared on 3 million timelines? In addition to being broadcast on national TV? Not a good day to be that poor ref.

Fans absolutely ate up the video, of course. Several of them commented on the post, some with GIFs describing the incident in another way. One fan named Todd Krieger shared the classic Charlie Brown moment where he runs up to kick the football only for Lucy to snatch it away at the last second.

Other fans chimed in with hilarious hot takes on what happened off-screen to send the ref reeling.

“Is the field slanted?” one Twitter user wrote. Another replied, ” No, he’s got on crooked shoes.”

College football fan Shane Stone joked, “Luckily the ref didn’t hit anyone, he would have been ejected for lowering the head.”

Another fan even made a joke at Washington’s expense, who lost the game to Michigan 10-31.

“Maybe Washington should use him for a QB,” Mason McFarlane said on Twitter. “Sneak more yards than they will ever get.”