Blog Entry

Carl Johnson: NFL to have female referees 'soon'

Posted on: August 13, 2011 1:08 pm
Posted by Will Brinson

The NBA has crossed the gender equality line of having a female official, but as of yet, the NFL has not. However, that will likely change in the future, according to Carl Johnson, the NFL's VP of Officiating.

Johnson spoke with Jane McManus of (in the context of an excellent profile piece female umpires/referees) and told her that there are some lady officials "in the pipeline."

"We have some in our pipeline, and I expect we'll see it soon," Johnson said.

Johnson noted, per McManus, that there are "women who are currently under consideration" and is anticipating a hire in the near future. But Johnson also pointed out that it's not about just placing the first capable female official on the field.

"Our goal is to get the best people working this game," Johnson said.

So, at some point in the near future, a female will be involved in the officiating of an NFL game. Don't think that because we live in a (somewhat) modernized and progressive society that this will go over smoothly or quietly.

Because it won't. There will be sexist comments on blog posts when it's announced, the scrutiny surrounding the game involving the female will be intense, and "old-fashioned fans" will be eagerly anticipating a mistake.

That's OK. You best believe the NFL and Johnson and everyone else anticipates that. Which is why whenever a female official is given her first assignment on the NFL field, it'll likely be in a situation that at least mitigates as much controversy as possible.

And it probably won't matter because, as Johnson noted, it will be a qualified individual donning the stripes. And once that gender line is crossed, it will start disintegrating some and the fact that a female official is making calls in a football game will become much less of a big deal and much more of a normal process.

That's good for society and it's good for the NFL. Especially if it can help push Jeff Triplette out of active duty.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.

Since: Dec 9, 2008
Posted on: August 14, 2011 1:54 am

Carl Johnson: NFL to have female referees 'soon'

Did someone just trash Ed Hoculi? Dude is one of the better refs in the game. Sure he's made a few mistakes but who hasn't. Ain't no one on this site would do any better. I've never watched a game with someone who made a read on a play with instant replay and zoom. Refs do it real time from wherever they stand.

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: August 14, 2011 12:06 am

It's all wrong, but it's alright...

Having middle-aged, out of shape men calling games played at very high speeds by elite athletes has already decreased the quality of the product.  They certainly can't do any worse with female refs.  

Since: Dec 26, 2006
Posted on: August 13, 2011 10:26 pm

Carl Johnson: NFL to have female referees 'soon'

And your point is what? It's a competition. If most of the women you know don't know football - many of the women I know don't either - then that's your experience, but it has nothing to dio with who should be a ref. There are a few, and if they're smart enough and athletic enough and know the rule, they're refs. As for female owners, they already are there. Remember Georgia Frontiere of the Rams? 

Bottom line is this: This is the US of A. Not some other nation where they restrict the capacities of women. If a woman referee were to be one of the best of the best, then she gets to be a ref. Period. End of Story.

Since: Jul 22, 2009
Posted on: August 13, 2011 9:46 pm

Carl Johnson: NFL to have female referees 'soon'

As it should be in any profession, trade or job, the most qualified PERSON, should have the spot, regardless of gender or race. I have no problem with women officiating NFL games. It will be interesting to see what happens if there is any player contact with a female official during a game, and the "nice call ref" butt slap will probably have to go.

Since: Mar 14, 2007
Posted on: August 13, 2011 9:24 pm

Carl Johnson: NFL to have female referees 'soon'

I am a diehard Redskins fan. Since I was a little boy and until the day I die. Dreamt every night that I would be in the NFL. Well, you know the story..... Then, when I was a 22 yr. old Marine, I got married. Wow! Another chance to be a part of the NFL!!! Easy! We'll just have some boys, groom them, train them, get a football scholarship, play their butts off and make it to the show!! Perfect plan! My wife got pregnant and in Nov. of 1991, we had our first child! Perfect! The good luck of my baby propelled my 'Skins to a Super Bowl victory 2 mos. later in Jan. of 1992. Maricle! But, my child was not going to be a HOF linebacker. We had a daughter. How could I be disappointed by our baby being a girl? If you are upset that you didn't have a boy, you are an asshole. Period.
We can try again! In 1993, my wife gave birth to a wonderful girl? What? How could this happen to me?!? Well, third time's a charm! In 1996, my wife gave birth to........another girl!!!!!! Who did I piss off? What is wrong with me? Now, it's more way we can afford to try again. Kaput! No sons to play ball with or watch games with or even talk sports with. Nothing but estrogen and girly pink crap and baby dolls. Dad, I'm sick of watching your stupid sports! Oh, I just knew that my life was gonna suck.
Flash forward 6-8-10 years.
My oldest girl is gothed out and not even interested in sports. My middle daughter....Wow! Plays with batman dolls, plays in the mud and watches every sport I watch with me! She is kind of like a boy! Cool! My baby, she is like both of her sisters in some ways but is nothing like them.
I am getting to my point. I am just trying to let you look at this issue from my point and explain my opinion to anyone who reads this.
My middle girl loves all sports, except for soccer, and from the beginning, she was really good at whatever she played. This attitude and chauvinistic comments some are displaying on here affected my daughter starting in her 1st grade year. She scored two touchdowns during a recess game. Two boys got mad because they got beat by a girl, gang tackled her into the fence way after the play. She had ran over to the fence to get the ball after she scored because one of those punks kicked it over there out of anger. She has her back to them and just blindsided her, both of them into the fence. She got 3 broken fingers and 12 stiches on her head. My wife called me and I went to the school to find out what??? Find out that 2 boys basically jumped her from behind and smeared her into the fence because they were pissed that this girl flat out kicked their butts? They were both easily twice her size! Then, in the principals office, one of these boys' dad looks at me and tells me that my daughter HAS NO BUSINESS PLAYING FOOTBALL! THAT MY GIRL SHOULD BE PLAYING WITH DOLLS OR LEARNING TO COOK! It took EVERY ounce of self control I had to not rip his tongue out of his f ing head.I walked over to him and I asked him what it was like to have a son who can't even beat a "doll playing" LITTLE girl at football who has to have help, two on one I might add, jumping a little girl to "prove" their manhood because she just torched them in front of everybody. I told him that they got it honest, from you obviously. If you and your little boys want to be a man and pick on somebody, here I am. The dude didn't say another word.
That night, my heart was broken. What my girl asked me never even crossed my mind. She asked me " Dad, why can't girls play football or hockey? I am better than lots of boys. Why can't I even try? I know football as good as any boy. You taught me Dad."
How in the hell do you answer that to a 9 yr. old girl? It is a legit question from her view at that age.
When she was 15, she was invited to try out for the Team USA women's junior hockey squad. We all went to Salt Lake City for a week and she skated so well. Just missed (later we found out by just ONE ) making the squad. I am so proud of her. Hockey at that level requires so much time and commitment.
At the end of her junior year in high school, she broke my heart. She quit playing hockey. Her grades had slipped a bit, but were still solid. She said" Why should I keep putting in so much time on my hockey career? I will never be able to play in the NHL. I won't be able to earn a paycheck big enough to pay for my life, so I need to dedicate my effort on my education, because for a woman, that is one of a few respectable ways that I can get rich."
If I had her talent, passion, knowledge and dedication, as a man, I WOULD be able to make a living playing hockey. Sad, but true. That is why I am ALL FOR women being able to ref. NFL games! Hold them to the exact same standards and make them earn it just like the men do. Just because a woman can't play in the NFL dosen't mean that she is less knowledgable about the game as men are. How many refs in todays NFL actually played in the NFL?
To all of you haters on here, would you talk to your mom or your wife,sister,grandma ,etc that way? Do you feel that way about them? Would you treat your own daughter that way? Grow up. If a woman is qualified for a job, physically and mentally, why CAN'T she compete for the job!  

Since: Oct 30, 2006
Posted on: August 13, 2011 7:22 pm

Carl Johnson: NFL to have female referees 'soon'

Call me old fashion call me a sexist i dont care but this is something i dont want in the NFL. Female sideline reporters are bad enough and yes they are bad  with the only decent one i liked was bonnie bernstein. Hannah storm on espn .. dont get me started. Im not saying they would be bad officials because lord knows they cant be worse than Ed Hoculi. I think this breaks a barrier and from there how far does it go? Women head coaches? Owners? I mean lets be honest most women i have met or know dont know a 1/10 about the game that i do and i personally get tired of hearing go team or what just happened. 

Since: Sep 1, 2007
Posted on: August 13, 2011 6:48 pm

Carl Johnson: NFL to have female referees 'soon'

If they do have female refs, they should have to be hot.

Since: Jul 4, 2011
Posted on: August 13, 2011 6:41 pm

Carl Johnson: NFL to have female referees 'soon'

Isn't there a rule that refs in the NFL had to have played college football in order to qualify as an NFL ref?  Maybe I am totally wrong, but I thought I heard that somewhere.  If it's not a rule it should be.  I think one should have played the game in a formal and higher level in order to officiate at this level.

Since: Apr 14, 2007
Posted on: August 13, 2011 6:31 pm

Carl Johnson: NFL to have female referees 'soon'

And it probably won't matter because, as Johnson noted, it will be a qualified individual donning the stripes.

Well crap, that leaves MidnightRayne, Sol and Cappy Planny out...

Any chance they get better uniforms though?

Since: Aug 24, 2008
Posted on: August 13, 2011 6:21 pm

Carl Johnson: NFL to have female referees 'soon'

Dear God please don't. I have 5 daughters and 9 grand daughters. I would no more want them to become boxers or referees as would become hookers. I don't want my grandsons in beauty padgeants either . We have equality, this is not going to make anything more equal. What in the hell ever happened to ladies? I don't care if my lawyer or doctor or preacher is a woman but women in the locker room or officials in a game they could, literally get killed in? What happens if their pregnant ,do we discriminate and say no pregnant women. If they are serious I may sue and allow people like me in wheel chairs also be given their equal rights to be NFL field officials. When one woman gets her head handed to her on an out of bounds play this will be a wonderful idea? How about giving males some autonomy? I don't see men trying to join the WNBA or the LPGA. How about co-ed olympics?  When men are being boys and the language is rancid do we get fined for saying dirty words in front of woman officials?  This idea is stupid. And what ever guy came up with it needs to use the ladies room.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or