The officials are an integral part of high school sports — without whom, games would not be possible.
Many states are looking for more high school officials, so there is ample opportunity to make an impact right away.
As an official, you can contribute to your local community, stay connected to the sports you love, and be a positive influence on young athletes. Officials help athletes learn to respect their opponents, understand the rules of the game, and practice good sportsmanship. And the objectivity and integrity that high school officials display is an example that every young person needs to observe firsthand.
Consider the many benefits of becoming a high school official:
- You’ll be a role model for the youth in your community.
- It’s a great way to stay in good physical condition.
- Hours are flexible.
- You’ll earn extra income.
- You’ll expand your network of friends and have fun.
The NFL and the NFHS have partnered to promote high school officiating — because high school sports need dedicated officials so it can prosper for years to come.
NFL officials discuss the importance of high school football officiating and the experience they gained officiating high school games.
Recognizing High School Officials
As part of the ongoing partnership between the NFL and NFHS, seven NFL clubs will pilot a new initiative to recognize high school football officials during the 2023 football season.
The participating clubs will work with surrounding NFHS member state high school associations to fulfill the initiative’s mission.
The seven NFL clubs participating in this initiative, in partnership with their state football associations, are:
- Atlanta Falcons (Alabama/Georgia)
- Buffalo Bills (New York)
- Cincinnati Bengals (Ohio)
- Cleveland Browns (Ohio)
- Las Vegas Raiders (Nevada/Utah)
- New York Giants (New York)
- New York Jets (New Jersey)
“We appreciate the NFL and their clubs taking such an interest in high school officials and being such willing partners in developing an initiative that benefits football officials at the grassroots level.”
NFHS Chief Executive Officer
Crew of the Month
In affiliation with respective state associations, the participating NFL clubs will recognize youth and high school officials across their states in the months of September, October, and November. Recipients will be highlighted for their demonstration of objectivity, fairness in rules implementation and commitment as high school football officials. In association with Nike, crews will receive apparel and uniform items to keep them outfitted on the field.
Across all participating markets, nine officiating crews each month will be selected as a crew of the month. The winners will be recognized on NFL Play Football social channels and on the Play Football website. At the conclusion of the season, all selections during the year will be compiled and sent to the NFL to determine the overall “Crew of the Year.” This will be the crew that displayed the epitome of honesty, objectivity, and commitment to high school football.
Recruitment and Training Opportunities
NFL clubs will work in conjunction with state associations to serve as a host location for a state officials association meeting and recruitment event. The NFL will provide speakers and clinicians from the officiating space to help train, educate, and mentor officials at the high school level and prospective officials who attend these educational and recruitment meetings. Along with education, these meetings will serve as an opportunity for individuals interested in becoming an official to meet those involved in officiating in their community, learn more about officiating roles, the scope of work involved and to connect prospects with current officials in their areas.
Under the Lights
To understand the officials outside their on-the-field roles, “Under the Lights” will provide a glimpse into the life of a current high school official. State associations will select an official who demonstrates a commitment to their work, local community, and their families. The selected officials will share their experiences in youth and high school officiating, while being recognized in the community.
Pathway to the Pros
Of the thousands of football officials nationwide, only 121 currently officiate in the NFL.
To ensure they always have the most qualified officials prepared to join the NFL, scouts across the country evaluate officials at all levels of football to identify potential NFL officials. The league then uses this prospect pool to develop and choose their next officials.