NFL To Hire Up To 24 ‘Full-Time’ Game Officials

As we outlined in our May post about the NFL Officiating Changes The league has confirmed today that they will hire up to 24 full-time game officials from among the current 124-person roster.  This was confirmed by a statement between the NFL and NFL Referees Association (NFLRA).

The NFL and NFLRA agreed to experiment with full-time officials as part of the last Collective Bargaining Agreement.  The decision to hire up to 24 such officials for 2017 is a collaborative initiative intended to promote the common goal of enhancing all aspects of NFL officiating – scouting, training and mentoring, better understanding of current game trends, game preparation and increased input on rules relating to player safety and game administration.

“We believe this is a great development for NFL officiating overall and ultimately the quality of our game,”

Said NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent.  “We share a common goal, which is to make our game as great as it can possibly be, and look forward to working together on this new effort.”

“NFL officials are always looking to improve, and we believe that additional time, particularly in the offseason, will be positive,”

Said NFLRA Executive Director Scott Green. “We’re looking forward to working together with the league on this effort.”

The difficult time will come when officials have to choose between their careers and their current side job at the NFL.  There is a large range of existing jobs for those officials, ranging from dairy farmer to lawyer. Financially some may need to take a pay cut for the new role.  It’s now up to the NFL to structure a competitive compensation package and ensure it can retain its more valued officials.

According to former VP of Officiating Mike Pereira speaking on the Rich Eisen show, the officials will not be full-time as you and I would consider the term.  What it will mean however is that the league will be able to contact them during the normally ‘dark period’ in the off season as well as get them to meetings where needed.  They will be paid an additional $40,000 for being on-call and additional fees when they attend meetings.

Oh My God, I would have flown on my own nickel to New York to sign up for it.

When Pereira was asked if he would have applied for it when he was an official he said “Oh My God, I would have flown on my own nickel to New York to sign up for it.  I’ll be mostly doing the same thing I’ve been doing, but get paid extra money for it”.


“It was a win for the officials and I think it was a PR move by the league.” – Pereira

According to the joint statement issued by the league and the union, current officials who wish to transition to a full-time role will have the opportunity to apply.  The full-time officials that are hired – between 21 and 24 – will play an important role in enhancing communication and the flow of information to and from on-field officials, NFL Senior Vice President of Officiating Alberto Riveron and the league’s officiating supervisors.

The implementation throughout the 2017 season will provide the NFL Officiating Department, in consultation with the NFLRA, the opportunity to identify the most effective ways to utilise the off-field time for full-time game officials throughout the calendar year.

Full-time officials will be hired at each of the seven officiating positions but no more than five for any one position. These officials may serve on each of the 17 officiating crews.  They will work collaboratively with their assigned crews, the league officiating staff and the NFL’s football-related committees during the offseason.

Examples of NFL Rule Changes

Troy Vincent recently outlined (in a video) some examples of things that are allowed (or not) following the 2017 rule changes. This also includes revised interpretations that the officials will use as to when a flag will be thrown if players push the envelope.