Since my own dear Pop refs highschool games, I found this very interesting:
Scratch a long time football fan and you'll find an amateur referee. The game is so fast and complicated that almost every play features some kind of rule question. After the FP Gal watched her first season of football with me, she was nearly an expert on the cluster of rules about whether a catch was legal or not.
Like many red-blooded American males, he would have preferred being a football star. He was a scrappy linebacker at the University of Texas-El Paso in the early 1970s before size got in the way. So he started reffing Pop Warner games on Saturdays, making 50 bucks for four games. Sure, at first it was a way for a young father to help pay for law school, but ... "Any official would tell you the same story -- you get hooked," Hochuli says. "It's like having a main line of adrenaline running in your vein for three hours on Sunday night. It's like standing on a cliff."
Pee Wee led to preps, jucos and eventually the Pac-10 in 1985. Hochuli had to work the chains for two years before he got to officiate a college game, and his lawyer buddies would come along to affectionately tease him from the stands at Sun Devil Stadium: Go, Down-Marker Ed! They followed him to his NFL debut in 1990, when he broke into the league as a back judge. His first game was at Lambeau Field, preseason, and Hochuli was nervous. What if somebody figured out he didn't belong there? He threw his flag and felt his stomach sink because he knew immediately that he had gotten the call wrong. Hochuli quickly picked up the flag off the grass and stuffed it in his pocket, and the game went on.
Hochuli also did a live chat with ESPN. He was asked about the most difficult calls for refs to make:
That depends on your position. For the Referee, it's the "pass/fumble". Did the QB start forward with the bal in his hand, or did it come out before he started forward. For the deep officials, it's the sideline catches when the player is in mid stride (not the toe-tappers).He also talks about the schedule for refs and stresses repeatedly how much they study the rulebooks and are tested on them. All very interesting.