Watching National Football League games is one of America’s most popular pastimes. And as with any sport, there are referees who make sure the game is played fairly, though whether they really do is a subject of debates. How much do they make? The average NFL referee salary might surprise you.
The Average NFL Referee Salary – the Latest Estimates
There is no one definitive answer to how much NFL referees make. The numbers vary depending on who you ask and what time period is being considered. However, according to a 2019 report, the average NFL referee salary was $205,000 per season.
That’s $56,000 more than the previous reported amount, and it might have gone up even more since then, but it’s a good ballpark figure. Let’s say the ref officiates 17 games per year. Their earnings per game would equate to $12,000. That’s a pretty good payday, especially when you consider that the games last around three hours. However, their work involves more than that.
How Do NFL Refs Earn Their Salary?
The 17 regular-season games are just a small fraction of the work that NFL referees put in. They also work preseason games, playoff games, and the Super Bowl. That’s a lot of time on the job! In addition, referees are required to attend referee training camp each year. This is where they learn all the latest rules changes and updates.
It’s worth noting that there are 7 different NFL officials, each with a different role and set of responsibilities. These are:
- the referee,
- the umpire,
- the down judge,
- the line judge,
- the field judge,
- the side judge,
- the back judge.
The NFL’s Highest-Paid Referees
That $205,000 salary is nothing to sneeze at, but it’s not the highest in the NFL. In the 2020-2021 season, that distinction goes to Brad Allen and Walter Anderson, whose salaries haven’t been disclosed.
What Does an NFL Referee Do?
The referees in the NFL have a lot of responsibility. They’re responsible for enforcing all the rules of the game, as well as managing player conduct on and off the field. They also have to make split-second decisions that can affect the outcome of a game. It’s not an easy job, and it’s certainly not one that pays a lot of money. But it’s a vital part of the NFL, and the referees are an important part of the game.
Apart from officiating games, NFL referees also do other things to maintain their certification. They attend clinics and meetings, watch recordings of games, and study the rule book. It’s a demanding job that requires constant learning, but it’s one that can be very rewarding.
What Are NFL Referee Requirements?
To become an NFL referee, you must meet certain requirements. You must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and be able to pass a background check. You also must be physically fit and able to work long hours.
The referee position is not an entry-level job. You must have some experience officiating football games at the high school or college level. If you meet all the requirements and are interested in becoming an NFL referee, you can apply on the NFL website.
Is a Football Referee Career Right for You?
If the NFL referee salary looks tempting, you’ll need to become a regular football ref first. It’s a demanding career that requires a lot of time and effort. But if you’re passionate about football and have a strong desire to officiate games, then this might be the right career for you.
Keep in mind that regular sports referees, umpires and other officials make $51,710 per year on average (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics). That’s not a lot, but it’s a good starting point if you want to work your way up to the NFL. And if you’re not happy with your current career, it’s definitely worth exploring.
How to Become a Football Referee?
NFL may not be in your reach right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t officiate football games. There are many levels of football, and each has its own set of rules and regulations. If you’re interested in becoming a football referee, start by learning the basic rules of the game.
Then, find a local league that is looking for officials. The best way to become a good referee is to officiate as many games as possible. This will give you the experience you need to handle difficult situations and make quick decisions.
It’s also important to be a good ambassador for the sport. Be respectful to players, coaches, and fans, and always be professional.
NFL Referee Salaries Are High, for a Good Amount of Work
So, how much do NFL refs make? The average NFL referee salary is at least $12,000 per game and $205,000 per season. However, there are many factors that can affect a referee’s earning potential. Promotions to higher-level positions or working playoff games can result in a higher salary. And, of course, the NFL’s highest-paid referees make much more than the average.