Beyond the stripes: Push for women officials for the Northern Nevada Football Officials Association

Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 8:25 AM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO)- In the world of football officiating, the presence of women on the field has become increasingly common as they continue to break barriers in the sports world. Michelle Single is a prime example of this trend. This past season marked her eighth year dedicated to game calling, a passion that propelled her to officiate at the Division 1 level.

“It’s the buzz and what you get, the excitement; there isn’t a better spot on the field. I loved standing on the sidelines, and I didn’t know if I could sit in the stands anymore. It was just so much adrenaline, and being a part of it was amazing,” Single shared, reflecting on her journey.

For Single, her passion for officiating is fueled by the collective hard work of coaches, players, and parents. She stumbled upon becoming an official saying, “I really didn’t even know there was an option until I saw a news program that mentioned they were looking for officials, so I called and started, and it was great.”

Michelle’s pre-snap routine plays a huge role in her game-calling process. Single shared the learning curve in this field isn’t as hard as someone may think.

“You were taught in layers, so you grew quickly. Clinics included NFL officials,” she explained.

It was not merely about knowing the game; it involved comprehending the unique role and responsibilities of an official. “Actually, you needed to erase everything you thought you knew about football because our role and job were different, " Single said.

Joining Michelle on the field is Andrea Lintner, who has begun her rookie season of high school football officiating. Her journey began when her children were just five years old, and she assumed the role of their play monitor. As her children progressed in the sport, she found herself cracking open the rule book.

Andrea shared her experience in taking the courses and how more women should take part.

“They taught you what you were supposed to be looking at on the field, what position you were working at. They weren’t going to put you as a white hat on your very first game to try and make the calls. I loved getting that one-on-one training. It was very humbling to get that breakdown, so absolutely, come join us.”

The world of football officiating offers limitless opportunities for growth and advancement. “We had mentors at the Division 1 level, at the NFL level. We had people who were eager to promote you as long as that was your dream,” Michelle Single pointed out. “How else could a suburban mom end up on an NFL field besides as an official?”

For more information or to contact the Northern Nevada Football Officials Association, click here.