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:
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
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
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.
Planning to join the chain gang for your child’s games? Here are five things that you need to know shared by Usafootball.com.