It’s not easy being an NFL official. Mistakes are broadcast across the country and quickly become the source of blame for wins or losses.
But it’s not all bad. The zebras on the field aren’t out there throwing flags and winding the clock because they need the exercise. They’re getting paid to be out there making sure the game is played as it should be.
The best ones start to get paid quite a lot, too. At this time of year, during the NFL’s conference championship games and ahead of the Super Bowl, officials get a hefty paycheck to make sure the contests everyone sees are as close to perfect as can be.
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How much are officials paid? Here’s what you need to know.
How much do NFL referees make?
The NFL won’t disclose how much money their referees make, but based on the expired collective bargaining agreement from 2019, officials made an average of $201,000 per year, according to Money.com. That accounts for all officials that appear on the field, which means the head referees for games could make even more.
Under a new CBA, which was signed between the NFL and NFL Referees Association, it is likely that officials make more money today. However, those numbers are not publicly known.
There is an added bonus for officials working playoff games, so the aforementioned $201,000 per year is a start for the best officials. On top of that, reports indicate officials could make bonuses between $1,500 and $5,000 per playoff game.
How much do NFL referees make to work the Super Bowl?
The Super Bowl is always the most-watched event on television in a given year, and the referees that are chosen for the game are considered to be among the league’s best. So it’s no surprise that they’re paid like the best too.
Money.com estimates that referees could receive a bonus between $30,000 and $50,000 for working the Super Bowl.
Is refereeing in the NFL a full-time job?
NFL officials might get paid a lot, but as might be expected, they do not call it a full-time job. While officials receive a 401K, they do not receive other benefits from the role. Thus, officiating is a part-time gig, even in the NFL.