The NFL is the flagship of American sport but there’s certainly still aspects where the league can improve and any fan of the 32 teams will probably tell you that the match officials need to be of better quality.
Any fan of any sport will get upset about some sort of refereeing decision during the course of the season, probably also arguing that there’s some sort of conspiracy against their beloved side, but even the most unbiased person will admit that the officials in the NFL can be guilty of some huge mistakes.
That’s why the latest step taken by the league ahead of the new season is important, as the NFL’s Referee Association announced yesterday that full-time officials will be hired to improve the quality and consistency of NFL officiating – so we can expect to see more officials becoming household names.
Yes, NFL referee Ed Hochuli is signing autographs for Bucs fans on his way out to practice. His crew is giving him all kinds of grief. pic.twitter.com/y8EtpKbd4k
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) August 8, 2017
The announcement claimed improvements will be made across the board for officials, ranging from scouting and mentoring to the slippery slope of rules relating to player safety. Overall, the decision to make some officials full-time employees of the league is a massive step.
Initially, between 21 and 24 officials will make the transition to full-time employment but it sets a precedent to follow in the years to come, though fans and the media need to ensure they understand that this doesn’t mean mistakes will not be made.
Just as a quarterback can throw an interception or a coach can select the wrong move from his playbook, there will still be mistakes made from referees, some of which may still be high-profile, but that’s because making officials full-time employees does not mean they’ll be constructed into some sort of robot officiator.
What it will do though is decrease the number of mistakes being made and improve the general officiating within the NFL, which will improve the sport significantly and will hopefully lead to some classic games in the years to come.