NFL testing officials’ physical fitness

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It’s Ed Hochuli’s favorite day of the year: Physical fitness testing for NFL officials.

Dean Blandino, the league’s V.P. of Officiating, posted on Twitter that the league is putting its officials through a variety of physical tests today. All officials must pass the tests before they can officiate a game in 2016.

Among the tests is a functional movement screening, a test of flexibility and a test of strength, in which Hochuli undoubtedly puts his fellow officials to shame. The officials also get information about proper nutrition and take an endurance test in which they have to run 13 40-yard dashes, with 35 seconds between each sprint.

NFL officiating has come in for plenty of criticism recently, but the fitness of the officials themselves isn’t the issue. Officials generally do a good job of getting themselves into position to see the play. A bigger problem is that the NFL’s rules are so byzantine that even the best officials can’t enforce them consistently. No amount of physical fitness testing will fix that.

26 responses to “NFL testing officials’ physical fitness

  1. Considering all the action. I think the refs do a great job. Especially for their age.

    I hope I could run that fast in a heard full of giants when I turn 70.

  2. 65 -70 year old guys have no business on the field with 20 something year old men. It is pretty simple these guys are out of position and guessing.

  3. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t run 13 40 yard dashes with 35 seconds in between each one if my life depended on it, and I suspect it’s around 50% on this board. I’m a senior citizen though, so I sort of have an excuse. Props for the older officials who can do this, that’s really impressive when you think about it.

  4. A bigger problem is that the NFL’s rules are so byzantine that even the best officials can’t enforce them consistently. No amount of physical fitness testing will fix that.

    Having full time officials that spend the off season studying rules and film, running virtual reality simulations and the in season off days reviewing calls from every game might help fix that. If only the league could afford it

  5. GhostPepper says:
    May 21, 2016 9:44 AM
    Hockey refs put all other sports officials to shame.

    You couldn’t be more right. It is amazing how the easier sports to officiate (MLB & NBA) are hands down the worst. Football may be bad but baseball and basketball are so brutal they make it look good by comparison. Conversely hockey is even tougher to officiate than football and is better by a long shot

  6. Does the female ref have the same physical strength standards? Serious question.

  7. One of the ways to push out the old refs without having to say you want to push out the old refs.

    Here go through this hoop. You can’t replicate an impossible to happen on the field task? See ya.

    Shouldn’t the test be representative of what can actually happen on the field?

    Because last I checked it’s a 100 yard field with tons of TV timeouts, extra points and kickoffs… not to mention penalties, official reviews, and coach’s reviews.

    Therefore, there would never be a time where you had to run 13- 40 yard dashes in a row, with only 35 seconds in between. It would be a rare occurrence for it to happen 3 times let alone 13.

    More incompetence at the top? Or trying to push out the old guys so they can implement something different? Full time refs maybe?

  8. If only Mike Carey was told by CBS to run 400 miles to the next game he can officiate because he clearly can’t “officiate” in the booth.

  9. I think its right to have tests like this. Lets keep in mind it might be a “part time job” when you talk about the hours worked in a week, however these guys made an average of $10,500 per game last year… 180k over the season and are expected to be in the right places on the field to make the proper calls.

  10. Wow, haven’t heard about that particular test since i was a freshman @ USC years ago . Somewhere around the 6-7 (40 yard sprint) your lungs start to collapse then around 9-10 your ears start to ring and “before” you turn around and run the last ones you swear the 35 second pause now seems like “2 seconds” and your legs have turned to jelly. Finally after the last one, you sprawl on the ground “anywhere” after crossing the line because you no longer can feel any part of your body. LOL ! No…….., i’m sure those ref’s are using some sort of “pace” in order to get through it otherwise they better have a few “EMT”‘s standing by or those much older gentlemen will be in trouble ! That was TRULY one of the most horrific experiences of my life and i was coming from playing (3) sports in high school & (1) during the Summer for (2) consecutive years.

  11. These guys are in their 50s and are still fit enough to run around the field the whole game. I’m in my 40s so there’s hope for me yet.

  12. The problem is that elements of the game is too fast for human perception. So you go for the next best strategy, and something us humans are very good at. Guessing. But consistently guessing the right call takes a lot of experience. I doubt younger refs would do any better. I think they would be worse.

  13. They should test the broadcast officials, please have them stop predicting what the call will be while it’s being reviewed.They have a 50/50 chance, yet get it wrong 95% of the time! And they get PAID for this,sad.

  14. There’s no problem with the physical fitness of these guys; they just turn colour-blind when they look at yellow and black jerseys…….

  15. Next they’ll test officials to see if they can withstand a hit from a blitzing linebacker. After all, if they get in the way during a play and get knocked down, they have to be able to get back up.

  16. I second for a vision test. Multiple scientific studies have proven that by 45 your ability to track and log multiple objects at the same time dramatically decreases.

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