Ask Farmer: Who are all the people on an NFL sideline?

Rams head coach Sean McVay talks with quarterback Jared Goff (16) in the first half of the first round of the NFL playoffs at the Memorial Coliseum on January 6, 2018.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Have a question about the NFL? Ask Times NFL writer Sam Farmer, and he will answer as many as he can online and in the Sunday editions of the newspaper throughout the season. Email questions to:

Who are all the people on an NFL sideline? It seems like the sidelines are crawling with people who look official but may or may not be associated with the team. What’s up?

Elaine Tong


Los Gatos

Those folks down on the edges of the field literally wear many hats. In fact, it’s their various hats that set them apart, and there’s an entire color system the NFL uses to distinguish them. I went to the league for a legend, and it’s one you might want to keep for the next time you’re scanning the sideline.

Orange hats with the NFL shield: Coach-to-player techs. They’re responsible for the functionality of the helmet-radio system.

Orange hats with GDC on them: Frequency coordinators, who are responsible for coordinating all wireless frequencies operating within the stadium and monitoring for interference.

Blue hats with IVRS on them: Injury video system techs, who are responsible for tagging plays as determined by the ATC spotters (independent athletic trainers) in the press box.

Purple hats: Still phototechs, who are responsible for the sideline viewing system, typically digital tablets for players and coaches.


Teal hat: Instant replay field communicator, the person who acts as a communications liaison between game officials and the replay booth.

Green hat: Sideline television coordinator, the person responsible for administering commercial breaks with broadcasters.

Orange sleeves: This person, employed by the broadcasting network, works with the one wearing the green hat to administer commercial breaks.

Red hats with UNC on them: Unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants, selected by the NFL’s head, neck and spine committee and the players’ union. These consultants staff the sidelines and monitor the broadcast feeds to assist in identifying, screening and diagnosing concussions.

Gray hat that reads FTR: Football technology rep, who oversees the overall functionality of all stadium infrastructure and technology solutions.

Maroon hats and shirts: Several people wear these: the game-clock and play-clock operators, the coach-to-player cut-off operator, instant replay techs and the coordinator of the footballs used for kicking).


Plain blue hats: Network technicians, responsible for ensuring wireless/wired connectivity is operational.

Red hats with AMP on them: Airway management physicians, who are certified in rapid sequence intubation. They stand near the paramedics, who have arrangements for immediate transport via police escort or medevac helicopter.

Yellow hats: Coach-to-coach techs, employed by the teams, who oversee all coaching staff communications functionality.