EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — If you watch an NFL game this season, New Jersey football fans might see a familiar face.
Robin DeLorenzo, a Garden State native, became the third female official to join the NFL ranks this year. She recently made her NFL debut in the Giants-Patriots preseason game.
She’s the focus of this week’s New York Snapshot with Steve Overmyer.
Robin DeLorenzo, along with her fiancé, Tom, and her father, Rich, spend most of their free time soaking up football.
“I’ve always loved the real game of football since I was little,” Robin said. “I have to be honest, though. My dad being a civil servant, it never crossed my mind, because there were no women doing that.”
But Robin followed her passion for the sport and went from cheerleader to referee, even working alongside her father.
“I definitely gave him the opportunity to follow through on his desire to try even that,” Rich said.
Now she gets the call from the NFL.
“Glad to see you’ve progressed. You make everyone proud,” Rich told Robin.
“I never realized how important it was for, you know, young girls to be represented everywhere in life,” Robin said.
The NFL’s roster of officials is the most diverse in history. Robin is the third woman to become a full-time official.
“Line of scrimmage managers are the kings and queens of multitasking. We have to see a million different little things and evaluate them,” she said.
For 20 years, Robin has been an official – from high school to pro. She’s seen about 100,000 games on the court, and even more in her living room.
“It’s about seeing snaps, isn’t it?” Rich said.
“I see cliches,” Robin said.
“See as many snaps as possible,” Rich said.
“Of course. Live and on TV,” Robin said.
Robin is a broken judge. She makes sure everyone is lined up correctly, watches the outfit, is responsible for marking the ball and about 10 other things every game. Oh, and they are the closest to the coaches.
“I’m the communication from team to coach and coach to team. For the most part it will come through me,” Robin said.
And we’ve all seen how some coaches treat referees.
“Maybe it’s a North Jersey situation? I have very thick skin. I come from a long line of extremely strong women,” Robin said.
She found her place in a profession dominated by men. Sarah Thomas was the first and Robin DeLorenzo certainly won’t be the last.
“It’s one thing to tell them you can do anything, but it’s a completely different thing to show them, and it’s only recently that I’ve realized how important it is to show kids that , keep working on something. Keep trying,” she said. “If you love something so much, it’s worth it. It’s nice to be able to show them.”