How Much Do NFL Refs Make?

National Football League referees can be your friend or your foe depending on how they call the game. They can even help your team or hurt your team if they mis-call a game! I’m sure everyone’s asking, “How much does a referee make? Football coaches don’t have the same training regimine as Tom Brady, but their jobs are no easy jobs either.

Referees need to be physically fit and understand the rules well. They should also be able to make accurate calls quickly. NFL referees have to have 10 years of officiating experience and must have at least five of those years at the varsity college level with the exceptions of former NFL players and coaches. They also travel to a lot of games.

Referees are in constant contact with their own league, the league they work in and their team coaches. This could be a reason why referees have become somewhat of a celebrity. Regardless of how you feel about the outcome of a call, the NFL reports that their officials correctly call decisions almost 99 percent of the time, and have a great average of 154 calls per game.

How Much Do NFL Refs Make?
How Much Do NFL Refs Make?

What we know about the NFL referee salary is that it isn’t public knowledge. They probably don’t pay their employees too well. Some NFL officials include the roles of referees, umpires, down judges, line judges, field judges, side judges, and back judges, so we’ll be focusing on referees in this post.

How Much Do NFL Referees Make per Game?

The average NFL referee makes $205,000 per year, with a maximum salary of $270,000 per year. The breakdown of numbers in this story is unclear, but I do know that it consists of a basic salary plus bonuses.

One of the top money-earning sports leagues for college basketball and baseball players is the NCAA. In 2017, they pay out $12,000 for every game a player plays in a year. Refs who work in the NFL get larger bonuses if they work during the post-season, and the refs who work in the Super Bowl may earn an additional $30,000 – $50,000 bonus.

However, it’s a misconception that refs only work on game days. To stay fit and sharp, referees practice regularly throughout the week, review footage frequently, and prepare in advance of games. The National Football League hosts clinics every year to update its refs on any rules changes, and to test their knowledge and physical fitness. Refs work training camps and preseason games.

NFL referees are all part-time employees and don’t receive benefits like vacation time, health insurance, or retirement, so they can leave after any season. Since it doesn’t have to pay off immediately, they can take some time off and enjoy the holiday.

The NFL contributes to 401K retirement plans for referees (the NFL previously offered pension plans until recently).

Do NFL Refs Pay Their Own Travel Expenses?

Most football / soccer referees work their regular job during the week and then travel to games during the weekend. When they return home, they’re paid to cover their travel expenses. The amount of the stipend is not publicly available.

Referees are required to cover their own travel expenses and usually do not travel with players. However, they may be provided a per diem by their organization. Refs will usually show up the day before the game, but if they haven’t shown up on time they might be replaced.

Do NFL Refs Have Day Jobs?

In this article, we’ll explore some ways to improve the chances that you’ll get hired for your first or second referee job. Mike Carey was known as an entrepreneur, inventor, and ski apparel company owner while he also was a basketball referee.

All three of them are retired NFL officials. Walt Coleman and Ed Hochuli were dairy farmers and Clete Blakeman was a lawyer. Football or soccer is the only professional sport in which the referees are not employed by the league.

Refereeing is controversial, and many people advocate for the NFL to make refereeing a full-time job so that they can perform well in the offseason and improve performance throughout the season. Referees, when not refereeing a game, often spend as many as 35 hours per week studying, practicing, and preparing for their next NFL game.

For the 2017–2018 season, the NFL did hire 24 officials (about 20% of the roster) as full-time employees, which temporarily boosted the pay scale. The end of the 2011 NFL season was marred by a lockout that prevented referees from receiving their regular pay. Now, all officials are still paid as part-time employees.

Who Is the Highest Paid NFL Referee?

It’s been reported that the highest-paid referee in the National Football League (NFL) makes $250,000 per year. He works at Super Bowl LII between February 4th and 7th in Minneapolis. The man in charge of the referees for the game is Al Riveron.

Riveron was hired by the league in 2015 after serving as an official for several years. His first assignment came in 2014 when he worked the NFC Championship Game between the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers.

He has since officiated in two other games this season, including the Super Bowl.

As for his salary, it is said that he earns more than any other ref in the NFL. According to reports, the highest-earning officials make around $300,000 each.

How Do NFL Referee Salaries Compare to Other Professional Sports?

In the past, referees have been seen as being beneath most athletes. This was especially true in football where the players were considered better than the officials. However, this is no longer the case. Nowadays, refs earn more money than many of the teams’ stars. So, how much do they make? And what does their salary look like compared to that of the players?

The first thing to know is that the average pay for a regular-season NFL game is $2.5 million. The top five highest paid official are the head linesman, the field judge, the back judge, the side judge, and the line judge. Each of these positions earns between $1.3 million and $1.8 million per year.

As for the lowest paid position, that would be the umpire. He or she makes just under half of what the others do. A full-time umpires usually works around 250 games a season. That means he or she could expect to earn about $150,000.


In conclusion, salary data for professional referees was obtained from US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average annual wage for an NFL official ranges between $71,510 and $81,930 per year. This figure represents a 5 percent increase from the previous decade (2000–2009.. According to BLS, men officiating at lower levels—NFL officials start at approximately $43,710. Officials who work in high school and college football are paid about 20% more than those working only in the pros.

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