There is an odd fact about the NFL, most of their refs have other jobs and only work on being an NFL ref part-time. The NFL is the only league where this is this case, and it's about time to change that oddity. At least, that's what New Orleans Saints' head coach Sean Payton thinks.
"The system currently hasn't improved. We say it has, but it hasn't. We're the only league with officials who have primary other jobs, which is really madness. We can pay these guys. They should be full-time NFL officials, and they should be working throughout the week, communicating," Payton said on NBC's PFT Live with Mike Florio. "Every other sports league employs full-time officials. And ours, these guys all have other significant jobs. I just think it's very difficult to do."
He really does have a very good point, the refs all should be full time workers on behalf of the NFL. They should be spending their time getting better at their jobs with this sport, and they should be paid enough that they don't have to work another job. The NFL's VP of Officiating Dean Blandino went on the NFL network to address these comments, which he does also agree there is merit to.
"This is definitely something we've discussed in the past and we definitely are going to continue to explore ways to have more full-time opportunities for our officials," said Blandino. "And when you look at our group of officials, the referees are critical in this area because they communicate with our crews, they're crew leaders and so we're looking at potentially a way to make some of our referees full-time or have more opportunities to work with them. So that's something that we'll continue to look at and it will be on the agenda during the offseason."
The biggest argument against the NFL having more full-time officials is that many of the officials might choose their other jobs over the NFL if forced to do one or the other. That could be a significant problem, especially when the NFL already believes their officials are 95-97% accurate. If they think these guys are that good at their job then they don't want to do anything that would force them away from the league.
However, there is an easy fix to this; make them an offer they can't refuse. Offer them so much money that they don't even question which job they should take. Being a ref in professional sports is a thankless, intense job and they deserve to get paid well enough to make it the only thing they do. Especially when the league believes in them that much.
The NFL might think their officials are incredibly accurate, but many other logical people come to a different conclusion on a regular basis. This can help fix that discrepancy and should be instituted. The NFL needs to stop thinking that they are convincing the general public when they come out with ridiculously inadequate responses to terrible ref errors. Paying their refs to be full-time is a much better response than the usual "nothing to see here" that the NFL tries to spoon feed us regularly.
Sean Payton: NFL having part-time refs is "madness" | ProFootballTalk
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Blandino sees merit in Payton’s comments about full-time refs | ProFootballTalk
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