Women and Football Officiating

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Women and Football Officiating

Pam Ryan

Women are Watching Football

The National Football League (NFL) claims that 47% of spectators watching NFL games are women. According to Statista, 56% of women watch football in 2022. These NFL fans  consider themselves to be either avid or casual fans of the sport.


The NFL and Women Officials

In 2013, the NFL launched Football Officiating Academy, or FOA. This two-day immersion experience teaches participants the basics of football. Participants also develop the fundamentals of officiating and other leadership skills that may lead them into the world of officiating.

NFL Women Officiating Now logo


In support of women officials, the NFL launched  Women Officiating Now, or WON, as a women focused branch of the Football Officiating Academy. Top performers in WON may have the opportunity to continue the career path in the NFL’s Officiating Development Program.


Success in and on the Field

One example of a woman of the success of the WON program is Sarah Thomas, who in 2015 became the first woman to be assigned full-time to an NFL officiating crew. The NFL wants to encourage more women to start working as officials nationwide.  


The Journey to Becoming a Woman Football Official

As part of the WON - FOA program, women participants are trained by the best in the industry NFL scouts, as well as current and former NFL officials spend time with participants on the field covering four areas of officiating:

  • Rules
  • Mechanics
  • Health and fitness, and
  • Character development


NFL Officiating Development Program chart for career professionals


In addition to the football officials training, FOA attendees learn life skills that are required of every official. Skills like time management, conflict resolution, clear communication and decisiveness are important for every official to master. With the number of women watching and enjoying football and the commitment the NFL has made to diversifying the rank of the officiating pool now may be the time to consider starting your career in football officiating.


Officia Women Officials Apparel logo

Officia is the only retailer producing original women’s football jerseys in the United States. Our football officials jerseys are coming soon. Shop other exclusive officials apparel, and sign up for our e-newsletter to be the first to get our exclusive football officials jerseys.