History of the Coin Toss

The coin toss has been a part of professional football since its start in 1892. 

 While the procedure has been relatively unchanged over the years, the following is a history of changes made to the pre-game procedure.

1892-1920
Captains of each team handled the coin toss themselves.

1921
The referee performed the toss.

1946
Note was added to the rule that stipulated that the toss was to be made prior to either team leaving field after their pre-game warm up.

1947
Coin toss was moved to 30 minutes before the start of the game.

1976
Coin toss was changed from 30 minutes to three minutes before kickoff.

1998
While the wording in the rulebook remained the same, the procedure was modified to have the visiting captain call the toss before the referee tosses the coin instead of when the coin is in the air.  Also, the back judge and field judge will stand by the captains throughout the coin toss ceremony to make sure there is no confusion over the call.


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