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How much does an NFL referee make?

NFL Officiating Crew 2020
NFL Officiating Crew 2020
Modified 10 Jan 2021, 23:54 IST

The NFL Officials are meant to uphold the integrity and fairness of the game, as it happens, on the field of play. But, how much is their salary? We already know that the players are getting paid pretty well, but the other guys on the field, the ones in the stripes are the subject of discussion here.

It's safe to say that if someone is an NFL employee, they're making a very decent amount of money. All the way from the players (yes, they're considered employees), to the guys holding the down markers on the sidelines.

After all, NFL football is a multi-billion-dollar industry, 10+ billion dollars to be exact, so it stands to reason that there's plenty of money to go all around.

There aren't any specific numbers for the current season, but it was calculated that NFL game officials during the 2019 season made an average salary of $205,000. The figures are calculated from a base rate, plus whatever each position of the officiating team is valued at per game.

For example, the Head Official is going to earn more than one of the Line Judges, each game. Not to mention, the officials who are fortunate enough to be assigned to playoff games will also get more money added to their pay. And yes, officiating the Super Bowl will get you the biggest bonuses. There doesn't seem to be any specifics on those additional figures at this point, since recent salaries became known due to a 2012 labor agreement between the NFL and the Officials Union.

It's important to note that game officials are in fact, part-time employees as their work is usually done 5-6 months a year. And that work takes place for just a handful of hours, one day a week. Also, keep in mind that their efforts aren't considered as physically demanding as the players they officiate, so their pay wouldn't be on the same level as them, either.

NFL referees are expected to get the biggest calls right

The question about salaries almost always comes into question when it seems that these "field zebras", who are thought to be capable of seeing everything on the field, miss an otherwise obvious correct call.

During the more important games like the playoffs, the right (or wrong) call can either mean potential victory or defeat for a team. Take yesterday's AFC Wild Card game (Colts vs. Bills), where it appeared that an obvious fumble wasn't ruled correctly.


Even after what appeared to nearly everyone that there was enough video evidence, the initial call was not overturned to the correct one. Therein begs the question(s) of how much these guys make, because it seems to many fans that it's too much money to miss otherwise obvious calls. You be the judge...

Published 10 Jan 2021, 23:54 IST
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