How Much Do NFL Refs Make – Average Salary Information

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How much do NFL refs make per year? Those who work in the National Football League gain celebrity status as a result of the league’s popularity and success, and their wages typically follow. This results in a significant wage disparity between NFL employees and non-NFL employees.

What is a referee?

In a number of sports, a referee, sometimes known as a “ref,” serves as an official authority figure. They stay on the sidelines as an impartial observer in games, making rapid judgments and calls based on what they see. Referees enforce the laws of the sport they’re judging, which might include ejecting participants for bad behavior. NFL referees are held to greater standards in football, requiring advanced expertise and better compensation.

Generally, they’re responsible for game flow. The refs keep NFL players in check and ensure the game is being played to NFL standards. And make final calls on goals, penalties, and other league rulings.

How much do NFL referees make?

Football is one of the most popular sports in the United States. Its popularity continues to rise, resulting in a successful multibillion-dollar corporation. Salaries for all those connected with the National Football League, including referees, have been steadily increasing.

The pay for NFL officials varies based on their position and seniority, but the majority of them make a good living. NFL referees get a significant pension plan in addition to base pay.

However, after much discussion, pension schemes will soon be converted to 401(k) plans (or retirement plans).

Average pay, disclosed

The pay of an NFL referee is not officially published or disclosed. However, based on the salary statistics in the expired NFL CBA, we can approximate how much an NFL ref makes.

According to these numbers, an NFL referee earns an average of $205,000 each year.

This was a significant rise from the previous year, when officials earned an average of $149,000.

Comparison of other sports referee salaries:

  • NFL Official: $188,322
  • NHL Official: $212,500
  • MLB Official: $235,000
  • NBA Official: $375,000

This equates to a per-game pay of: $12,058.00 per game.

NFL officials/referee average salary

Following a series of lockouts and protests, the NFL and the NFL Referees Association (The RA) reached an agreement to increase game officials’ pay. NFL referees now earn about $56,000 more per year than they did previously, with annual compensation of $205,000. In comparison, outside of the NFL, the typical referee earns $16.26 per hour.

This pay can be increased with bonuses that come with officiating postseason games.

Average referee pay for the super bowl

The bonuses for being the field judges or referee’s during the super bowl average $30,000 and $50,000 for the game.

In total, this makes up a healthy six-figure salary for the job.

Line judges average salary

Between 2013 and 204 the average NFL line judge earned a salary of $173,000 per year. Fluctuations of this salary depend on years of experience and expertise. A rookie line judge earns $73,000 per year. While a veteran signal-caller can move up the NFL ranks to earn an average base salary of $200,000 per year.

how much do NFL refs make, average salary information

Why does the NFL pay high?

The National Football League is a company as well as a national sports supplier. The games, the players, and the officials are their products. Because of the league’s success, people who participate get celebrity status, which adds to the league’s overall worth.

They also gain access to the media and are compensated for brand promotion. Consider these people to be salespeople, as they help market both items and the league. Salespeople are frequently rewarded based on the quantity of money they create in the corporate world.

The NFL earns billions of dollars, so its players and officials are well rewarded.

how much do NFL refs make, average salary information

Requirements to be an National Football League (NFL) referee

To become an NFL referee, you must meet a few fundamental qualifications. The sole requirement in the NFL is that you have a lot of field experience. Based on the NFL referees association’s basic eligibility requirements, a prospective NFL referee will need to meet the following requirements.

The following is a more detailed list of requirements:


Working as a referee in the NFL has no special educational qualifications. However, individuals who are interested should have at least a bachelor’s degree in any field. Those with a background in sports medicine, sports management, or a similar subject are more suited for the job.


Candidates for the NFL referee position must have considerable field experience, which is one of the most important criteria. The NFL demands at least ten years of football game officiating experience. At least five of the ten games should be significant college contests.

The NFL requires at least 10 years of officiating football games. Of at least five of those years should include major college games. After five years of officiating college games (college football), most referees meet the eligibility requirement for the NFL.

Good Physical Health

Any applicant for the position of the referee must be physically fit. Individuals in this job must be on their feet for lengthy periods of time, and they must frequently sprint. Experience as a football player or coach is advantageous since those persons are more equipped for the position.

How to become an NFL referee

It takes effort and experience to earn a place as a referee in the National Football League. The NFL referee role is a prestigious title. Only those with years of expertise, extensive understanding of the game, and open schedules are accepted into the NFL.

The steps to becoming an NFL referee are as follows:

Bachelor’s Degree

Most NFL referees have a college education, however it is not a necessity. Specific majors are less crucial, although individuals with a background in athletics have a better chance of landing this job.

Proper Training

Aspiring referees can enroll in programs offered by colleges, officiating groups, and third-party training institutes. These programs include specialized instruction on ethics, good sportsmanship, referee expectations and procedures, and communicating with coaches on the field, as well as a better grasp of rules and games.

Third-party training schools are available.

State Registration

The majority of referees begin their careers refereeing high school games. This necessitates registration in the state where they practice. Although each state has its own set of criteria, most registration processes involve a written test. Candidates must complete the training necessary in the previous stage in order to sit for this test.


The next stage is to get on the field after receiving adequate training, education, and registration. As previously noted, the majority of referees begin their careers in high school. After that, they either go to college or join a league. Most students, on the other hand, stay in high school for three to five years before acquiring enough reputation or connections to advance to higher levels.


Some referees obtain certification by participating in specialized training sessions. Although this is not a mandatory qualification for the NFL, any extra credentials are taken into account. Those with specialized credentials may have a better chance of landing a job with the NFL.

how much do nfl refs make, average salary information


The NFL league sends scouts to games. Most referees fulfill the NFL’s basic eligibility standards after at least five years of refereeing college games. Scouts are sent to games by the league. They never say when they’ll be at a game and simply go for the express aim of scouting new talent. Referees must constantly work at their best, to the greatest standards of the game and of themselves, if they want to be acknowledged.

The NFL looks at the frequency of their employment as well as their officiating schedule over the previous three seasons when selecting specific persons. This contains information such as schools, dates, game venues, and positions held.

Typical workweek for NFL referee’s

The NFL calendar, like the life of an NFL referee, revolves around Sunday showtime. Following a Sunday afternoon game, the officiating team will return to the hotel and study a tape of the game, particularly to review any penalties or dubious calls.

The referees return to their regular professions on Monday; though NFL officials are considered part-time, many of them work full-time as attorneys or CEOs of businesses. The line judge, along with the rest of the officials, receives a report card from the previous game, as well as film footage of the following game’s opponents, on Tuesday or Wednesday in order to prepare for the match-up.

In addition, every week the line judge is given a written test on the game’s regulations. The team flies to the next game venue on Saturday morning and prepares for the following game with many meetings. On Sunday, the cycle begins over.

how much do NFL refs make, average salary information

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