How much money do NFL referees make?

Super Bowl LVII - Kansas City Chiefs v Philadelphia Eagles
Super Bowl LVII - Kansas City Chiefs v Philadelphia Eagles / Rob Carr/GettyImages

NFL referees have a very difficult responsibility for ensuring fair play and enforcing the rules during games. They tasked with making game-altering calls in a blink of an eye with millions of viewers watching their every move—not to mention having numerous analysts commentating on the entire process.

As for their compensation, it's up to each individual to judge whether or not refs are fairly paid for their efforts.

Refs in the NFL are compensated based on tehir expertise and experience. While their salaries vary based on several factors, the average income of NFL referees was approximately $201,000 per year, per Money Magazine, as recently as the 2019 season.

It's important to note that this figure represents the average salary, and individual earnings can differ significantly. Referees with a longer tenure in the league or those who hold higher-ranking positions within an officiating crew generally will command higher salaries.

Aside from the base salary, NFL referees also enjoy additional benefits and opportunities for income. They receive various allowances, including travel and accommodation expenses, as they travel each week from city to city. Referees may also be eligible for performance-based bonuses, such as officiating postseason games or working in the Super Bowl, which can significantly enhance their earnings.

Furthermore, NFL referees have the chance to increase their income by officiating additional games during the preseason and regular season, which are compensated on a per-game basis. This allows referees to supplement their base salary and boost their overall earnings.

Beyond all of this however, there could be a future in which officials in the NFL are full-time employees despite being a two-season sport. The occasional push for the NFL to rectify problems with officiating are behind the idea of making refs into full-time employees, but for now it remains a critique of the league that's gone unanswered.