How To Become An NFL Referee

NFL ref

How To Become An NFL Referee

If you’re passionate about American football and want to work in the NFL, consider becoming a referee. Becoming an NFL referee is difficult, but it is possible to achieve your goal with hard work and dedication.

Here’s how to become an NFL referee. 

The Qualifications 

To become an NFL referee, you must have the right qualifications and experience. The requirements for becoming an NFL referee include being at least 18 years of age, having a high school diploma or GED equivalent, knowledge of the rules of football, and excellent communication skills. Referees must also have experience officiating high school or college football games. 

The Application Process 

Once you have the necessary qualifications, you can begin the application process. The first step is to complete an online application form on the official NFL website. The form will require basic information such as name, address, phone number, and email address.

You will also be asked to provide details about your football officiating experience and any other relevant qualifications or training that may help your application stand out from other applicants. Following this, candidates must participate in a series of interviews with members of the NFL Referee Development Program (RDP).

During these interviews, they will assess candidates’ knowledge of football rules and regulations and their ability to communicate effectively under pressure. 

Training Program   

Once accepted into the program, candidates must complete a rigorous training program before being eligible for consideration for full-time employment by the league. This includes attending several months-long courses focused on teaching prospective referees the rules of all levels of professional football, including officiating mechanics and procedures used by all officials in professional games today.

Candidates must also pass physical fitness tests each year to maintain their eligibility for full-time employment by the league and pass written tests covering all aspects of officiating theory before they can become eligible for selection for regular-season assignments or postseason duty as part of championship crews or Super Bowls teams. 

What Makes a Good NFL Referee?

As the “third team on the field,” referees must demonstrate a unique combination of qualities to ensure that games run smoothly and fairly. Good NFL referees combine excellent communication skills with a sharp eye for detail, confidence, organizational prowess, and remaining accountable under challenging situations.

Referees require the ability to think on their feet while managing the flow of the game, calls, and the expectations of their crew members. They must have strong leadership skills and demonstrate poise under pressure as they deal with players, coaches, and fans throughout every game.

Downsides Of Being an NFL Referee

Being a referee in the NFL is undoubtedly no easy task. Especially in the modern era of instant replay, NFL referees are held accountable for every call they make. For example, if a referee calls an incorrect pass interference penalty, that decision will be overturned quickly, and the referee also faces potential scrutiny from players and fans alike.

A referee’s job is to remain as unbiased as possible, although it isn’t rare for them to receive tangible acts of aggression from unhappy players or coaches. They also must balance officiating games with their private lives and jobs, which leads to additional stress during their travels throughout the season.


Becoming an NFL referee is no easy task – it requires dedication and hard work, but it’s certainly achievable if you’re determined enough. If you think that you have what it takes to take up this rewarding role, then make sure that you follow each step carefully so that you can join one of America’s most prestigious leagues.