Friday, May 24, 2024

Will teams now start outbidding the league for officiating talent?

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Several years ago, former NFL executive V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino said that the NFL does not properly value the position. That was a tactful way of saying that the NFL, when it comes to officiating, is cheap.

That frugality lingers, through the absence of full-time officials. As a result, the NFL has lost in recent years multiple competent referees to broadcast partners, where they serve as rules analysts.

With former referee John Parry leaving ESPN to become an officiating liaison for a team, it’s now fair to wonder whether teams will start dangling significant raises to game officials, pilfering employees from the league.

The team for which Parry will be working still isn’t known. Some are guessing it’s a team with a new coach in 2024, like perhaps the Chargers or the Commanders.

Whoever it is, if it works other teams will do it. Which will make it even harder for the NFL to keep its best officials on its own financial terms.

That’s why the league needs to make the officials full-time employees, and to pay them accordingly. If it would be difficult to persuade current officials to sacrifice their other jobs and go all-in with football, grandfather them in. For all new hires, you have one job — work for the NFL as an official.

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