Friday, February 5, 2016

Promoting NFL Referees To Full-Time Status Would Be A Good Starting Point To Fixing League's Officiating Shortcomings

One of the more well-known of the NFL'S officials Ed Hochuli is an attorney off the field.
Photo courtesy of:
Thinh Nguyen
CC BY 2.0 License

Unless you've been living under a rock the last few years or so, I don't need to tell you that the National Football League is the most popular sport in terms of the ratings and viewership numbers it generates.  Fans of the gridiron just can't seem to get enough of for whatever reason.  Maybe it's the overall strategy of the game or the hard hits.

The allure of football would lead you to believe that it's decision makers, such as the Commissioner and the Owners would do everything in their power to ensure that the quality of the officials they employ are the best they can be.  Every professional sports league should strive for greatness from their officials. On the other side of the coin, fans know that not all officials have a perfect track record in their career.  

What football fans may not know is that unlike the other Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA) or the National Hockey League (NHL), the officials of the National Football League (NFL) have other jobs and careers in addition to the work they do on the football field.

As I've mentioned before, if you've been paying close attention, one of the things I really look at when watching sports is the work of the officials in charge of making the calls in addition to watching a game for pure entertainment value.  I know that once I really got interested in all things officiating in all the major sports, I was initially surprised by the fact that NFL officials are not employed on a full-time basis.  I must also point out that those who are among the league's best officials have my utmost respect knowing that they are doing the best job they can do while holding down another occupation.

I don't expect to see any immediate changes to the league's officiating procedures and policies on this matter any time soon but it is something worth keeping an eye on in future seasons.  In the meantime, we can continue getting whatever enjoyment you get from the most popular sport in North America. Just remember that the officials are doing the best job they can the next time you feel the urge to put your hands in your head over a blown call for whatever team you root for.

Tim Musick
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