The members of each Chain Gang are hired locally by the home team. There is no set standard salary, but the pay appears to be about $40 to $50 per game. Some teams will give the crew members a ticket to the game for their spouse or a friend.
There are typically 7 to 8 members of the crew and they work directly with the head linesman marking first downs and the line of scrimmage. Although they work with the linesman, the chain gang members are not official NFL referees.
Chain crew assignments include:
- • Down Box
• Sets and moves after instructed by the Linesman
• Changes number on box after moving to new spot; set box on heel of Linesman
• Spot box at 3 yard line on Points After Touchdown
• Drop box when players come at you from the field of play
• Chain Person
• Never move unless instructed by the Linesman, who will motion with arm for them to move
• Move chain off the field and at the 6’ foot restraining line
• Drop chains when players come at you from the field of play
• On first and goal, lay chains down out of bounds at 15 yard line
• On measurements, wait for the Linesman before moving onto the field to measure for a first down
• Be aware of hurry-up situations at end of half or game
• Clip Person (use 2 clips)
• Clip to chain at furthest back, thick 5 yard striped line, then move chains back from sideline
• Remove 2nd clip after conclusion of the first play of a new series
• Auxiliary Box
• Under supervision of the Line Judge
• Mirrors spot of Down Box
• On change of possession, wait until conclusion of the first play of a new series to move
• Drop box when players come at you from field of play
The NFL Football Officiating Academy Guide offers tips for chain crew members.