Rookie ump reflects on first year in NFL

It’s a little slow tonight, but since I always need to be working on something when the TV is on (it’s part of the whole ADD/OCD thing), let’s take a look at Paul King, who completed in 2009 his first year as an NFL umpire, working on referee Terry McAulay’s crew.

Paul Jarvey of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette profiles the 47-year-old King, who has been officiating football games for 30 years and counting. 

King was flattened twice in his first preseason game, and took a shoulder pad to the eye on December 19 during the Saturday night game between the Cowboys and the Saints.

King also works as a teacher, and this quote makes us even more convinced that, at some point, the NFL needs to commandeer the total and complete attention of the game officials:  “During the fall, it was two full-time jobs,” King said. “On Jan. 9, my alarm went
off, and I got up and said, ‘OK, where do I have to go?’  It was the
first day I didn’t have to either go to school, to the airport or to a

Given that the profession places a significant amount of pressure and stress on its members, it would make a lot of sense to ensure that the officials aren’t running ragged all week, and that they’re rested and ready for each and every Sunday.

King also shared with Jarvey some inside info regarding the way certain teams try to use the presence of an official to their advantage, even if it means putting the official in harm’s way.

“The Patriots do it all the time with [Wes] Welker,” King said.  “They
like to use [the umpire] as a pick.  My job is to get to the line of
scrimmage on a pass play to get out of the way, but sometimes you have
to wait for them to clear.  Otherwise, there’s another collision waiting
to happen.”

And so for fun King works as a high school basketball official in the offseason, where the players aren’t as big — and none of them wear shoulder pads.

10 responses to “Rookie ump reflects on first year in NFL

  1. I just do not understand why the NFL does not have full time officials. I suppose it is a money thing but it still does not make sense. I wish they would but then I would not like them to be like Major League Baseball where no matter how bad they are you cannot get rid of them. I guess we cannot have it both ways.

  2. Outrageous. I would expect these guys make 6 figures as refs, right??? If not, their pay needs to be bumped and a no-working a 2nd job during the NFL season policy should be mandated.

  3. Steve Spurrier likes to design plays using the ump as an unofficial 12th man, too. I’m sure a lot of coaches do that. At least King recognizes it. Perhaps some of the money spent promoting pointless (in terms of viable league expansion) exhibitions in London could be channeled toward transitioning to full-time officials. The NFL won’t have the same problems gopher says plague MLB if officials are graded at the end of each season and put on probation if their accuracy slips below a set standard.

  4. It’s not the most respectable of play strategies, but the Patriots (with Wes Welker) are the best at the business at utilizing a legal play.
    …Officiating the NFL has to be the most COMPLICATED (emphasis on my choice of words) sport to officiate. It has more rules applying to more players that are relevant more often than any other major sport.

  5. Florio,
    Nice of you to clarify that the Patriots are the only team that uses the ump for picks. I think the commissioner should start an investigation since they are obviously intentionally putting the ump in harms way. Cheaters and villians.

  6. @capetide
    Florio didn’t clarify the Patriots were using the ump as a pick, Paul King did. And your post seems a little defensive like you’re an insulted Patriots fan. Dude, your team got caught in one of the biggest cheating scandals this decade. Thanks to Goodel, the Patriots organization and fans have the luxury of downplaying it because Roger was kind enough to cover your ass and destroy video taes that would have buried one of the most popular organizations in th league. You dodged a bullet, eat your humble pie and take your lumps, your team earned it.

  7. The one thing the NFL does not wnt is guy officiating a game that “need the money” Everyone always says heck I’d do that for 16 weeks for $100,000….but that’s the guy they don’t want. They want guys who have made their own money, do other things, less of a target for gamblers etc.

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