Roger Goodell: Officiating has never been better, but will never be perfect

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Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said recently that he thinks the league’s best referees have left the game in order to make more money by working as officiating analysts for the league’s broadcasting partners and that topic came up during NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s press conference in Phoenix on Wednesday.

Goodell was asked if the NFL is paying officials enough and said that the officials that have left for TV jobs have been working in the league office or at the tail end of their careers. He said that he thinks the departures have been “a factor at all” in the quality of officiating, which segued into an answer about whether the league’s training for officials is sufficient.

“When you look at officiating, I don’t think it’s ever been better in the league,” Goodell said. “There are over 42,000 plays in a season and multiple infractions could occur on any play. Take that out, extrapolate that. That’s hundreds, if not millions, of potential fouls. Our officials do an extraordinary job of getting those. Are there mistakes in the context of that? Yes. They are not perfect and officiating never will (be perfect).”

Goodell said that the league hears criticism of officials, but wants to “look at the facts” when it comes to the quality of officiating of the league and that the league will continue to work to get better by holding officials to a high standard.

92 responses to “Roger Goodell: Officiating has never been better, but will never be perfect

  1. What absolute drivel. If the league wants to “look at the facts”, the facts are that these are part-time employees, some of whom qualify for Social Security. The NFL is hardly putting its best foot forward when it comes to the quality of officiating.

  2. Its not the number that that do or don’t get correctly. Its the ones that are very blatant and obvious ones that are being missed more frequently. Or the ones that are borderline at best that favor certain players over others.

  3. Never been better? So clearly he`s not even watching his product anymore. I`ve been watching for 49 years and never seen so many games decided by officials. Still havn`t seen a game as bad as that Seattle/Pittsburgh Super Bowl but as a whole season i`ve never seen worse!

  4. hey Roger – its the worst its ever been – horrendous in fact! You are approaching the level of officiating in the NBA which is a complete joke.

  5. I would love to know what games he was watching. It definitely wasn’t the ones I saw because officiating was horrendous all year long.

  6. Well what did you expect him to say? That the league is incompetent when it comes to officiating? Which it is. Nothing will change and everyone will say that their teams got the shaft when bad calls happen.

  7. The NFL needs to remove the human element when possible to officiating but for whatever reason the NFL refuses to do that. I wonder why?

  8. Mr. Commissioner: boo; homage to the city of brotherly love being in the SB. The NFL must look into officiating. It is too important for the NFL to acquiesce to social justice “pull and push” in selecting candidates. Ambulance chasers make it dicey to consider full time officials.

  9. This argument that it will never be perfect is childish. No One expects it to be perfect. But c’mon some to the most obvious ones that are missed by the refs, NY, and replay, need to be addressed ASAP.

  10. haaaaaaaaaa..classic rog….everythings great, nothing to see here…lmfao

  11. Hahahah the officiating has never been worse. 2 crews are completely unwatchable (Blakeman, Boger) and one of those even gets playoff games.

  12. It’s not so much the officials as much as it’s the rules and the constant changing of, or reinforcing of, those rules.

  13. Half of the problem with the officiating is the rule book. It’s become too complex and encourages flags for safety. The other half is the inability to hold officials accountable. Given the money and gambling involved, both need to be fixed.

  14. My condolences to Roger and the Goodell family, I didn’t realize he was not among the sighted.

  15. Its easy to lie with a straight face when you’re getting paid well north of 40 million a year to do so

  16. Yes, Roger, but what about lying to the customer on what a rule actually is and what it states and then the call not following the rule, like “surviving the ground”? Hmm?

    That language was REMOVED from your rule in 2018.

  17. This is Goodell code speak for “Refs are following our scripts, so no reason to change anything if it gets us our intended/desired outcomes”

  18. He’s not wrong. Fans have 12 camera angles, instant replay in super-slo-mo HD. They forget that every offical has about .250 of a second to call the play FROM THEIR FIELD PERSPECTIVE ONLY.

    Easy for Aikman to call an official out after watching 2 replays frame-by-frame, but not so easy during LIVE action.

  19. I actually believe Roger Godell thinks this is true.
    How else do you explain officiating never improving on his watch?
    You can’t solve a problem if you don’t think there is one…

  20. If what he says is true then the games truly are fixed and we need to stop calling it competition.

  21. One would think with that 60 million he makes per year he would buy some glasses!
    The Refereeing This last season was the worst I’ve ever seen!

  22. OMG, now we know why officiating will not improve, The man lives in a separate reality !!!!

  23. I don’t agree that officiating has never been better. I have been watching football for over 50 years and have never seen it worse. I don’t want to jump on the anti-gambling bandwagon, but it certainly makes one wonder. I do agree that as long as it’s officiated by humans that it will never be perfect. I can accept that. But there are ways to make the game much more fair and faster, but the league refuses to accept the technology available to it. Full time officials could make the game better, but they would still be calling the same games the same way.

  24. I hate the word and it’s use in current year, but this is the definition of gaslighting. What an infuriating take from Goodell. Even if you believe that (and you’re a fool if you do), read the room.

  25. akira0724 says:
    February 8, 2023 at 3:34 pm
    He’s not wrong. Fans have 12 camera angles, instant replay in super-slo-mo HD. They forget that every offical has about .250 of a second to call the play FROM THEIR FIELD PERSPECTIVE ONLY.

    Easy for Aikman to call an official out after watching 2 replays frame-by-frame, but not so easy during LIVE action.


    Funny how the fastest team sport on the planet (hockey) as played at the NHL level, has (1) full-time officials, (2) automatic review from a central facility (Toronto) with all the latest technology, of the most important calls in that sport (goals and offsides, as well as some others), and never seems to have any controversy regarding game or championship-changing calls. This leads me to believe that the NFL (remember, Goodell is merely the mouthpiece for the owners, who really run the show) WANTS poor officiating b/c it drives publicity and the rubes (fans) won’t walk away from it. The only thing that will change this dynamic is if fans start tuning out en masse.

  26. From a transparency perspective, the penalties & rating decisions the NFL has regarding their refereeing crews needs to be publicized. They do that with their other employees & even owners. The referee’s are the only group isolated from scrutiny and public fines/suspensions. Why?

  27. NBA is actually now better than the NFL in officiating. They admitted the problem and worked to fix it. The NBA is much more difficult to officiate, but they try much harder (now) to get it right. The NFL Commissioner is not ever at the stage of admission of a problem as it’s getting worse and worse at times unbearable to watch with blatant mistakes (or just fixed games).

  28. What would be better if Roger stopped being cheap and actually paid the refs a decent full time salary & during the off season have them get together to work on their knowledge & spend time with different teams during OTA and training camp.

  29. Which games has Goodell been watching??? The ones that we saw this season in the NFL had mostly bad officiating. Bad calls, no calls…you name it. It was the worst.

  30. And yet everyone complaining will still watch. I’ll never understand it. Makes me wonder if everyone had a leaking roof if they’d complain or do something about it.

  31. mickeyspillane says:
    February 8, 2023 at 4:22 pm
    Sounds alot like Orange-wigged Donnie and his “alternative facts”


    Sounds a lot like the sleeping Joey and his “alternate facts”. Spy ballon in the sky for weeks coming our way? Nah, we’ll take care of it after it crosses the continent.

  32. I guess if you compare it to the era of Jim Tunney (1970’s), Ed Hockuli, or another miscreant from the modern era whose name escapes me, I guess he has a point. But there is always Jerome Boogers who invents penalties that cannot be supported by replay.

  33. If I make forty million dollars a year, I will say anything the Owners want me to say.

  34. There has never been — in the history of the US — the head of a multi-billion dollar corporation as clueless and incompetent as Roger Goodell.

  35. The ONLY explanation for Goodell’s comments on officiating is that he is spending too much time schmoozing with owners, focusing on photo ops, and imbibing adult beverages. He certainly is not watching the games themselves, and paying lip service to the sanctity of the “shield” will not address the issues affecting quality of the games for the fans.

  36. I used to believe that Goodell was a moron and that he actually believed what came out of his mouth. Now I’ve realized he is much smarter than that and is actually saying what he needs to say to makes things go away, no matter how ridiculous or unbelievable it actually is. Look at “Deflategate.” Everything the NFL said could be easily disproven by middle school science but they were still able to fine the Patriots and suspend Brady. The craziest part is some people actually believe him while the people with functioning brains know he is just lying to keep everything stays quo. The NFL makes so much money, they won’t change anything until they absolutely have to or it affects the bottom line.

  37. Clearly we are all in agreement that it sucks. Now what NFL. I myself would get all these refs off TV asap.

  38. I’ll give him credit he at least used the right words just not in the right order. He should have said “the officiating will never be perfect, but we can get better”.

  39. Unless and until the rules are changed to get rid of “judgement calls”, officiating will continue to be questionable. Holding, PI, and roughing the passer are so subjective as to make it possible for any call to be made in any situation. If you count the bad calls and the missed calls, the situation is horrible.

    Maybe Goodell is right that it’s never been better, but that doesn’t mean that it’s good or even acceptable. Combine that with the NFL partnering with gambling and it’s easy to see why people think that the games are rigged.

  40. What a setup for Carl Cheffers on Sunday… which will be a flag show. The flags will symbolicly be eggs all over Goodell’s face after his comments today.

  41. Boy, I’ll say, never be perfect, especially when its in the leagues interest for a certain call to be made!! It’s hard to find refs these days who will stay bought; have to hire the right people you know.

  42. As long as TV ratings stay up and the networks keep throwing more money at the league, there is no reason to change a thing. Nothing else matters. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

  43. He is a troll level with his complete disregard of the paying customer. The problem now is the paying customer is the networks and if they don’t care he don’t care.

  44. Roger says the refereeing has never been better because now he can use the refs to manipulate the outcome of games to suit his needs. “Never been better” is a relative term. Better for the fans? No. Better for working with the gambling companies to make more money? Never been better.

  45. 1. Article author Josh Alper, please edit/correct grammar.

    2. Roger Goodell: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your stupid yapper and remove all doubt”

    Unbelievable on so so many levels that the Commish would utter such a blatantly clueless statement. Not only has the overall quality (accuracy) of officiating declined, but the Shield refuses to integrate readily-available technology that could significantly enhance judgement-call precision. Ever since Goodell waved his magic wand and “lovingly embraced” (insert your word choice) gambling, the fan experience has deteriorated. Highly suspect calls (and no-calls) in meaningless games raise eyebrows, but the sloppy officiating and egregious mistakes in important games are inexcusable. His Royal Goodell-Ness would dismissively have us believe: “Nothing to see here, justvmove along….”

  46. Apparently the owners don’t care about the big picture consequences when obvious calls are completely blown. I’m a Rams fan. How much revenue did that blown call cost the City of New Orleans? Blown calls can result in the end of a career for coaches and/or players. Goodell is right in that it will never be “perfect,” but it should be a lot more reliable than it is.

  47. why can’t the owners step-up and do something about this….where is their integrity to the game..

  48. Fans here saying it’s never been worse. Fans have been saying that for DECADES.

    And not just in football – every sport. Maybe officiating just isn’t perfect, because these are all fast-moving games and officials miss calls once in awhile?

    The problem today is that they show a slow motion, close-up replay over & over again, and we all wonder how the ref could have possibly missed it when it was going 10x faster.

  49. The NFL prioritizes things based on profit. The networks, advertisers and now GAMBLING brings in the most money. Fans are at the bottom of the list, and it appears that Goodell doesn’t care.

  50. NFL refs are the best in the world. Better than ever. The video that we see on TV has gotten so much better over the years, it allows us to see everything in super slow-motion, and from several angles, and with zoom in. Wow! Now imagine if they’d allow the refs see what we get to see. I mean, that doesn’t even make sense. I’m sitting home on my couch, and I’m allowed to see all the right calls, but the guys refereeing the game aren’t. That’s about as insane as one could imagine. So, if you don’t think the refs are doing a good job, don’t blame them. They’re the GOAT’s. The best ever. They have the technology to get every call right, without any delays. The league refuses. They want to control everything. And if the league didn’t want this controversy, they wouldn’t let the networks show us the correct calls. The sad part is we’re about to watch a super bowl, and there’s a good chance the players aren’t going to be the ones determining the outcome.

  51. His presser was hard to watch, he dodged just about every question but does anyone really expect the commissioner to bash the refs before the Super Bowl? We’ll see what he really thinks in the off-season

  52. Whether you think they are “better” or not all depends what what you think they should be doing.

  53. you can start by making a full time position with yearly responsibilities focused on fitness and growth within their profession.

    Of course, giving your lawyer buddies jobs is a great way to ingratiate yourselves in certain circles.

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