NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says the league will hire some officials on a full-time basis this season.
The consistency of officials has been a subject of debate for the past couple of seasons. Most of the officials employed by the league have other jobs during the season and are considered part-time employees of the NFL.
“The answer is yes, we are going to do it," Goodell said to MMQB's Peter King when asked about the possibility of having full-time officials. "It’s something we negotiated for with the officials association. We feel confident it is worth going forward and seeing what the impact is…. We believe this can add more consistency. You still are going to have 17 referees who are not in here every week, but if they are in here over some period of time, they will get more consistency and they will be able to understand what everybody is doing."
The league has already said they expect to hire as many as 17 full-time officials this offseason. The change would increase the size of officiating crews from seven to eight, The NFL's collective bargaining agreement allows for the increase of officiating crew size.
We have some crews move a game faster than others, there is actually a seven-minute difference between the top and the bottom," Goodell said. "That means they manage a game differently than another crew. We think we should find a way to narrow that. We think some people will look at certain fouls differently than others, but that should be as consistent as possible between crews. … It would be best if it was the referees initially, but this is going to happen over a period of time I don’t expect by the start of the 2017 season we will have 17 referees full time. I think we will work down a path here and determine how many, but we will have people full-time before the start of the 2017 season."
- Scooby Axson