NFLRA looking for clarity on full-time officials

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The NFL has had the ability to hire full-time officials since 2012, when the most recent labor deal with the folks who call the games was finalized.  But the NFL has yet to implement the approach, for a variety of reasons.

Even with the league apparently closing in on hiring 17 full-time officials, the NFL Referees Association is still seeking clarity.

There are a lot of issues there,” NFLRA executive director Scott Green recently told SiriusXM NFL Radio. “What’s the pay going to be? What are the responsibilities? None of that has been defined at this point.”

One of the primary challenge arises from the the expense of enticing officials to give up their “regular” jobs and become full-time, year-round NFL employees.

“Most of our guys don’t get in the league until their late 30s or early 40s,” Green said. “Obviously, they’ve developed a career in whatever it might be elsewhere. The initial concern would be if the [NFL] compensation is comparable to what they’re receiving currently. But also from a standpoint of job security, some of the guys may have professions that it’s not quite so easy to go back to should they get hurt or let go as an NFL official.”

That’s a point that often gets overlooked. Officiating has a much higher degree of accountability than other jobs, with every decision and non-decision being scrutinized and evaluated. Make enough mistakes, and it’s farewell. Which makes it harder to say farewell to a non-football job that has a lot more stability and security.

From the league’s perspective, it becomes harder to justify the compensation level in the offseason, when there’s not much for the officials to do. That said, the down time could be filled with workouts, rules study, and even virtual reality training that would expose them to as many potential on-field scenarios as possible.

It remains to be seen whether full-time officials will result in a lower rate of in-game mistakes. However, with the league soon to be embracing Las Vegas, it becomes even more important for the league to create the impression that it’s doing everything it can to ensure that as few mistakes as possible are made.

6 responses to “NFLRA looking for clarity on full-time officials

  1. Audition the best and brightest college officials and weed them out via a paid training camp. The remainder are offered well compensated full time jobs with benefits subject to a probationary period. They’re then put through an extensive training camp, readying them for the NFL. They can be gradually inserted into games with the exhibition season providing valuable live action. This can occur over a two or three year period. They can train and thoroughly understand all the rules and their nuances. Easy. It’s about time the NFL rid itself of the full time gynecologists, accountants and lawyers.

  2. The idea that full time officials will lead to fewer errors doesn’t make any logical sense. As long as you have humans making game calls that happen in splits of a second with only their slow brains that doesn’t have freeze frame and slow motion instant replay your going to have mistakes and human error whether it is part time or full time. The other problem is the most talented referees are going to stick with their day job and not derail their career arc for an unstable NFL employment. That means the people that will be eager to get a hold of a full time NFL position will be someone who is not the best and brightest in their real careers.Therefore you make get more mistakes rather than less.

  3. There are 16 games in a season, plus a few play off games.
    Why have full time refs?

    If the problem is training – then negotiate with them to change the training.

    But taking a professional, and forcing them to quit their job, and become unemployable if they lose their ref job in 5 years, won’t accomplish anything, other than to raise ref salaries.
    If good refs wont accept these conditions, the NFL will end up with worse ones.

    Bad idea

  4. Hey guess what? Most people don’t have job security.

    Make the salary possibilities and interview for the jobs. That simple. Only those interested will apply.

  5. Please name a couple of professions that cannot be returned to. I just don`t see where accountants or doctors would have problems re-establishing careers.

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