Hello SOTGC Community,
While you might think one of the most coveted jobs in the NFL is to play the game, but an often overlooked key player on the field is a referee. These referee jobs are so rare you’re nearly better off dreaming of being a football player. Despite that, have you considered quitting your day job to join the ranks of those who have the honor of wearing the black and white stripped jersey on game day? We can help.
- No paid days off. Referees only receive compensation for the games they work. The regular season is only 16 weeks long and only the best referees will be chosen to work the playoffs or the Super Bowl. The ultimate goal is to work the Super Bowl where every call counts but is analyzed by millions. The demanding role does come with an estimated $40,000 bonus.
- Don’t turn in your notice just yet. Being an NFL referee is a part-time job and most officials have other jobs where every decision isn’t publicly criticized on Twitter. When they are working, their NFL gig requires 30-50 hours a week (including travel). What do they do in their other job? Other careers for some of the referees include a sales broker, probation officer and teacher. One of the NFL’s most recognized referees, Ed Hochuli, is actually a partner at a law firm in Phoenix.
- Compensation package. In this high pressure job, the NFL pays for experience. A referee must have a minimum of 10 years of experience with five above the high school football level. The pay isn’t so bad but the pool of candidates runs deep. According to their collective bargaining agreement with the NFL, the average referee salary in 2013 was $173,000 and is expected to rise to $205,000 in 2019. Beginning next year, NFL referees will be provided with retirement benefits, including an annual league contribution averaging more than $18,000 per official.
- Watch out boys, here we come! While the business of being an official is still a male dominated world, there are women who have broken through the glass ceiling. In 2012 during the officials’ lockout, the NFL saw its first woman referee, Shannon Eastin, step on the sidelines as a replacement ref. The first full-time official, Sarah Thomas has been calling games since 2015. Thomas was also the first woman to officiate a major college football game. She does this all while having a family and working as a full-time pharmaceutical rep.
- By the numbers: There are 121 officials who work in 17 person crews. Only 21 of those officials had less than five years of NFL experience.
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