NEW YORK (AP) The NFL will hire up to 24 full-time game officials.
The league will begin hiring between 21 and 24 full-time officials from among the current roster of 124 officials for this season. The decision was announced Wednesday.
''We believe this is a great development for NFL officiating overall and ultimately the quality of our game,'' said NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent. ''We share a common goal, which is to make our game as great as it can possibly be, and look forward to working together on this new effort.''
Full-time officials will be hired at each of the seven officiating positions and may serve on each of the 17 officiating crews. They will work collaboratively with their assigned crews, the league officiating staff and the NFL's football-related committees during the offseason.
''NFL officials are always looking to improve, and we believe that additional time, particularly in the offseason, will be positive,'' said NFL Referees Association executive director Scott Green. ''We're looking forward to working together with the league on this effort.''
Al Riveron, the NFL's new director of officiating, says the move is ''about consistency.''
''It will be an improved way to get the message out to our crews, to coaching staffs and the players,'' Riveron said. ''The officials' first responsibility will be to us.''
Unlike in most other pro sports, NFL officials have other jobs.
Riveron will have the full-timers put videos together and identify videos that will be helpful throughout the officiating program. They also will help with the developmental program.
More AP NFL: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL