Meet The Referees
Annice Canady was the first female football referee to officiate a NCAA game in 2000. She is revered as a trailblazer, opening the door for other women. Annice is a powder keg. She doesn’t shy away from reporting harsh realities. This strong attitude immediately hooks the audience. She reveals what it was like to be the “first” on the field from coaches, fans, and her male counterparts throughout her career as she reflects on the challenges of being the only woman on the field. After several decades refereeing, she transitioned to the NFL as an officiating scout, recruiting talent into their development pool.
Mary Podesta’s storyline brings some lightness to the gravity of Annice and Tangela’s journeys. She is a natural storyteller, and her sound bites are self-deprecating and funny. Mary’s goal is simple: self-improvement. Working full time as a physical education teacher in California, she officiates for the love of the game. Mary’s perspective is a refreshing contrast, downplaying the hurdles women face. But through her entertaining quotes, the hurdles remain in the undercurrent. In one instance, Mary minimizes how college football facilities aren’t accustomed to having a female official. At times, she’s had to search campuses to find a place to change into her uniform because they didn’t have a locker room for women.
Tangela Mitchell has the “it” factor. She’s ambitious and has the talent to officiate. Representing the next generation, Tangela carries Annice’s baton with grace, and her footage shows what it’s like to be in the trenches today. As a Head Linesman, she is an integral part of every play. Tangela interacts with everyone on the line of scrimmage–coaches yell at her, players three times her size dance aside to avoid crushing her, fans cheer and boo her. She keeps a level head during moments of physical and emotional adversity, where other referees would surely succumb to this pressure.