Football referees make immediate decisions during games. They resolve conflicts
and deal with stress and pressure. They must be physically fit, since they
move around a great deal.
Football referees must be able to stand up to booing, hostility and conflict.
They have to handle high stress and pressure, and handle authority without
being overbearing. They must know the rules of the game, have an excellent
sense of fairness and be able to promote good sportsmanship.
Football referees may work for professional football leagues. Or they may
referee for university, college and high school games.
Jeff Stern is associate editor of Referee Magazine. "One misconception
is that football officiating is a profession," he says. "In the National Football
League, some of the officials are retired company executives, but most continue
to work. Many are attorneys, educators and businessmen."
Brian Small is vice-president of a football officials' association. He
says all of the referees working at the university or high school level have
other full-time jobs.
Football officiating has traditionally been a male-dominated activity.
Meredith Pope is the program administrator for the National Association for
Girls and Women in Sport. She says she has no information regarding women
who work as football referees. However, regional football associations report
that women are slowly entering the field at high school, college and university