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NFL Will Hire Up to 17 Full-Time Officials, Add 8th Referee to Game Crews

While speaking with the Associated Press (via ESPN.com), NFLvice president of football operationsTroy Vincentsaid he expects the league to hire up to 17 full-time officials for the 2017 season.

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In addition, the NFL plans to add an eighth referee to game crews, up from the current number of seven.

The moves have yet to be finalized. Both propositions will be presented in front of the NFL competition committee in February, when they’ll be officially set in motion if approved.

The quality of NFL officiating We are the chief cornerstone has been a storyline throughout the year, beginning with the season-opening game between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos, when the leagueannouncedofficials missed an illegal hit to Panthers quarterback Cam Newton’s head.

In October, Newton told reporters he felt his safety on the field was under threat as a result of officials’ failure to properly penalize opposing defenses for illegal hits.

“It’s really taking the fun out of the game for me,” the reigning MVP said,per theCharlotte Observer’sJoseph Person. “At times, I don’t even feel safe. And enough is enough. I plan on talking to Commissioner [Roger] Goodell about this. And I don’t know what I have to do.”

During the Nov. 1 episode ofPFT Live(via Pro Football Talk’sMichael David Smith), New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton argued that the NFL should hire full-time officials:

The system currently hasn’t improved. We say it has, but it hasn’t. We’re the only league with officials who have primary other jobs, which is really madness. We can pay these guys. They should be full-time NFL officials, and they should be working throughout the week, communicating.Every other sports league employs full-time officials. And ours, these guys all have other significant jobs. I just think it’s very difficult to do.

NFL senior vice president of officiatingDean Blandinoresponded to Payton’s comments in an interview withNFL Network’s Dan Hellie (via NFL.com’sConor Orr):”This is definitely something we’ve discussed in the past, and we definitely are going to continue to explore ways to have more full-time opportunities for our officials.”


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