NFL Referees...Greedy or Deserving?
On the Fence
I'm a huge fan of football. Having played most of my life up to the college level, I can totally appreciate the finer details of the game. Even though I turned professional in building homes and not throwing a little brown ball, I still enjoy watching football with friends and family. There's nothing like the connection you feel when cheering on your favorite team.
But what is all of this talk about more money and benefits for the referees? These guys work part of the year and make three times what the average American takes home. Should they get more money? Hmmmmm.....
I suppose you could argue the players make such a huge amount of dough that there's no reason the referees shouldn't get a bigger cut. Looking over the 2012-2013 salaries of the Denver Broncos players we see the guys on the low end are pulling in around $400k while at the top, Payton Manning is barely making it on $18M. How does he pay all the bills and still have money left over to enjoy himself? Of course these are just salaries and don't include bonuses or endorsement deals.
Ask and You Shall Recieve
So, the referees are holding out for more. And it appears that as of this morning, they got what they wanted. Apparently, the agreement between the refs and the NFL are as follows...
- Retirement benefits will be provided for all referees starting in 2017 which amount to an annual contribution of $18k per official increasing to more than $23k in 2019
- 401K - The league will add a partial match for contributions to referee 401k plans
- Average compensation will go from $149k in 2011 to $173k in 2013 to $205k in 2019
The substitute referees were pulled from various parts of the country to fill in when the hold out happened. Keep in mind, most of the people that were officiating football somewhere else still had a job to do. So where did the NFL find the substitute referees? The short answer is...wherever they could.
- Arena Football League Official
- Poker Player
- Lingerie Football League Official
With these less than stellar backgrounds, it's amazing there weren't more bad calls. Sure, that last call on the Monday night game that gave the win to the Seahawks over the Packers was ugly. But with the talent pool of the replacement officiating crews, it's hard to believe that was the worst thing that happened.
It sounds like hardcore football fans just want the madness to stop. They really only care about the games being fairly officiated. If that means paying more money to the officials...so be it. But is this the right thing to do?
What if the NFL had created a backup plan for this scenario? What if they had qualified referees waiting to step in to keep the games on a level playing field? I would love to know your thoughts. Meanwhile, I have to go fill out my application for referee school!