The NFL is trying to beef up its officiating prowess.
The league and the NFL Referee’s Association has announced a plan to hire up to 24 full-time officials, a move that will hopefully get some full-timers in games by Week 1. The news was first reported by Albert Breer of The MMQB.com.
For now, the plan is to add these new full-time officials at all seven spots on the field, with no more than five at any one position. New officials won’t be all that new, considering the full-time hires will come from the group of 124 members who are currently on the officiating roster. And even though these will be full-time employees, the league will allow the new hires to have employment outside the NFL – but only if “the hire will recognize the NFL as their primary employer.”
It sounds like a fair-enough deal for officials, the league, the referees union, and hopefully, fans who will ideally spend less time griping about officiating. (Hey, a guy can dream, right?)
In the end, the move is one that was long overdue, and a definite step in the right direction.
The concept of full-time officials has been thrown around for awhile, and has grown in popularity since at least 2012, a year that began with an officials lockout. That might not be fresh in your memory, but this play should refresh your memory because it encapsulated the struggles of the replacement refs.
Breer has further details regarding the hires, which you’ll want to read for yourself in order to thumb through the details. For example, they will be required to visit league offices in New York at least once a month.