The NFL has slowly begun converting some of its officials from part-timers who also work weekday jobs to full-timers whose sole focus is studying the rules of the NFL. But as botched calls like the ending of Sunday’s Chiefs-Chargers game show, there are still plenty of times when properly enforcing all the league’s convoluted rules proves to be too much for the officials.
As a result, former NFL head of officiating Mike Pereira says, it’s time to turn the head referee on each of the 17 officiating crews into a full-time employee.
“My personal belief is the 17 referees all ought to be full time,” Pereira told the Associated Press. “They need to explore that notion because having only one full-time referee and umpire and line judge and the others makes no sense. It would not achieve to me what having all 17 full-time refs would, because they should be involved with everything. Be involved in proposals of rules changes and teaching their crews and working with the teams in the offseason.”
As long as the NFL’s rules are as complex as they are, part-timers are going to struggle to keep them all straight. Unless the NFL can figure out a way to streamline the rulebook, full-time referees may be a necessity.