Full-time/part-time official distinction could be problematic for the league


With the NFL hiring up to 24 full-timers from a pool of 124 officials, the league finally has taken a step toward making all officials full-time employees. The half (more like 20 percent) measure will put the league in a potentially awkward spot, however.

Here’s a great point raised by Dan Patrick during a Thursday morning visit with his well-listened-to radio (and well-watched TV) show: What happens when an official makes a mistake and the first question becomes, “Is that a full-time or part-time official?”

To the extent that the NFL is embracing the concept of full-time officials to reduce mistakes, mistakes made by part-time officials immediately will become more glaring. Which will immediately create even more pressure to make more of the 124 officials full-time employees.

Eventually, they’ll all be full-timers. And it’ll happen before gambling on football becomes legalized. No matter what the league says, the truth is that the NFL has commenced the process of sealing off criticism and scandal that will be much more pronounced when an illegitimate call results in millions of dollars legitimately changing hands.

If/when that happens, there will be calls for an independent commission to oversee the sport, which is absolutely, positively the last thing the NFL ever wants.

8 responses to “Full-time/part-time official distinction could be problematic for the league

  1. Did Apple get ejected for putting his hands on that ref? If he didn’t play for Mara’s team he would have been. Inconsistent penalties when it comes to league favorite teams whether the ref is full-time or part-time.

  2. How about the distinction between who made the call – the referee on the field (either full-time or part-time) or some anonymous official in New York?

  3. There is no real benefit to full-time referees. People assume these guys will be buried in the books learning the obscure rules but that is not really the problem. The problem is really the inconsistency between crews and how certain calls are made or not made based on time left on the clock, which teams are playing, which players are involved, and future impact on cash flow.

    The NFL is deathly afraid of the appearance of a referee fixing a game for gamblers out in Las Vegas. Yes, that would be bad but they can dismiss it as a bad egg and move on. What the NFL has chosen to replace that risk with is far more damaging. Now the NFL itself is/will be viewed as fixing games. That means the results are perceived to be fake and fan/sponsor interest will drop far more than if it was just a jerk official taking a kickback.

  4. The league can easily minimize the impact by having all members of a crew composed of only one type of official. I am curious why you seem to think legalized gambling will make the game draw more scrutiny than type that goes on now. Unsavory types are a lot more likely to attempt to leverage an official than my state’s lottery commission will be. For all that we complain about NFL officiating it is still miles better than what we see in MLS, MLB and the NBA and not too much worse than the NHL’s. Which is ironic when you consider how much tougher hockey and football are to officiate

  5. Lol wayne fontes. That picture is from training camp. Also, Earl Thomas hugged an official last year and got a 15 yard penatly. I guess he should have been ejected though. Troll.

  6. Hey how about less rules so these guys don’t have to think so much and join hands after every flag.

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