Looming legalization of gambling nudges NFL toward full-time officials

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The NFL has resisted legalized gambling over the years for a variety of reasons. Here’s one of them: Once fans can place bets on point spreads, over-unders, and various other in-game props, it will be important for the league to create the impression that it’s doing everything it can to ensure that the officials aren’t making mistakes.

Indeed, when part-time officials currently make mistakes, the knee-jerk reaction by many is to say, “Full-time officials wouldn’t make those mistakes.”

It’s more perception than reality, but the perception will continue to be the reality until all officials are full-time employees. So with legalized gambling coming (courtesy of either the Supreme Court or Congress), it’s no surprise that the NFL, nearly five years after securing the ability to hire full-time officials, is doing it.

Whether it actually reduces errors doesn’t matter. The league will need to do everything it can to create the impression that it’s trying to minimize errors, and full-time officials will assist in that regard.

Other eventual enhancements will include expanded replay review. The league likewise should consider assigning a member of each officiating crew to monitor multiple camera angles in order to enhance the initial ruling on the field, with the replay system as a fallback.

At some point, the NFL should tear down the current officiating function and rebuild it from scratch, in light of all available technological advances and devices. There’s nothing like the scrutiny that will come from bad calls causing millions of dollars to change hands to create the incentive for such an effort — and there’s nothing like the billions the NFL will make from legalized gambling to pay for it.

13 responses to “Looming legalization of gambling nudges NFL toward full-time officials

  1. Yea, no one has been gambling on football for the past 50 years. Full time officials solve nothign because it’s the cupcake/subjective rules for PI, holding and roughing that make it easy for refs to impact point spreads. Sad to say but the NFL is moving towards NBA officiating which is a small step above a WWE referee.

  2. NFL officiating has never been better. It’s good because of the use of replay. It will continue to improve as the technology improves, or as they allow the use of technology. Full time or part time refs don’t matter. Those of us that like to complain will just find something new to complain about.

  3. So the refs have to get the calls right so some gamblers don’t lose money on bad calls? Why not focus on getting the calls right for the benefit of the teams on the field and to hell with the gamblers?

  4. As any CEO of any billion dollar business will tell you, full-time employees never make mistakes.it’s those darn part-timers that mess things up.

  5. The NFL has already made it’s nut on gambling. The only reason they are so popular now is fantasy and gambling, which go hand in hand.

  6. owners can’t afford to pay for their own stadiums, how will they be able to afford full time referees with benefits and everything?

  7. such a bizarre article that completely misses the fact that gambling is already legal in some places and commonly takes place in spite of the law everywhere else.

  8. What the hell does the use of full or part time officials have to do with gambling? Who cares if gamblers are pissed at a perceived bad call? And on the other end, who cares if people gamble? It’s their money, let them risk it if they want to.

  9. Wasn’t fear of gambling’s influence why they wanted men with valuable professional standing at risk, like lawyers? or was that a story they told instead of admitting they cared more about a trivial amount of money than they did about the quality of their product?

  10. The poor NFL can’t afford goal line cameras or afford to pay their cheerleaders more than $75/ game. How could they possibly afford to pay for things like their own workplaces or full time officials? Gold plated offices aren’t cheap, you know.

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