The NFL will hire up to 24 full-time officials, the league announced. Those officials will come from the current team of 124 officials.
It’s a move that has been debated for many years, and it’s finally being implemented. It still won’t fix most of the complaints that come from fans.
What full-time officials will do is allow crews to have a better understanding of the rulebook, which is vast. Officiating will improve in some ways as a result. But most of the issues we have with officiating aren’t easy to fix.
Most times there’s a controversy, it’s on a play that’s a judgment call and we don’t agree with the judgment (Dez caught it, fam). The NFL game moves at the speed of light. If you’ve ever been on a sideline for even a few plays, it’s amazing how fast the game is. There’s practically no way to catch every penalty or make every right call. This isn’t a popular opinion, but given how hard the NFL game is to officiate, the officials do a very good job on the whole. They miss calls, but is impossible to think they could catch every one. Having some officials do that job full time instead of being lawyers or whatever during the week will help in a few ways. It probably won’t make it easier for a back judge to determine if the receiver or cornerback – who both run 4.4 40-yard dashes – committed that pass interference.
It’s not a bad move for the NFL to hire full-time officials. It’s probably long overdue. And there will be benefits to that. But when your team gets hosed in Week 14 because an official missed a holding call on what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown, it won’t matter much.
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