NFL Referee Salary 2021: How Much Do NFL Refs Make a Year?

The National Football League (NFL) is one of the popular sports leagues across the world. Apart from players, referees also play a crucial role in the game. NFL referees ensure no foul play is done and rules & regulations are followed to maintain the order of the game. There are a total of 7 referees involved in a game.

The referee positions are as follows – referee (which is the lead member of the officiating team), umpire, head linesman (or down judge), line judge, field judge (or back umpire), side judge, back judge, and center judge. The referee is the chief of the game and is responsible for maintaining the decorum of the game. 

But how much money do NFL referees make a year? What are NFL referee salary and pay structures? Salaries of every National Football League (NFL) increasing every year, and paychecks vary on the role and experience.

How much money do NFL referees make?

The salary of the National Football League (NFL) referees varies from individual to individual. Seniority and the role of the referee play a crucial role in deciding the salary of a referee.

The authorities have not released the official salary of NFL referees. But, as per the reports and speculations, NFL referees earned an average of $205,000 in 2021. In the year 2020, the average salary of NFL referees was $149,000. 

NFL referees are offered a fixed salary per season, excluding per match pay. Referees also receive large bonuses for officiating postseason games, which are more than double their per-game pay. 

If we compare the average NFL referee salary of $205,000 to other sporting leagues, then we will found that it’s quite low.

  • NFL Official Average Salary: $188,322
  • NHL Official Average Salary: $212,500
  • MLB Official Average Salary: $235,000
  • NBA Official Average Salary: $375,000

How to become NFL Referees?

It is not at all easy to become an NFL referee. One must have years of experience and knowledge of the game. With these qualities, one has a better chance of becoming an NFL referee. 

Requirements of NFL Referees

There are no major requirements for becoming an NFL referee. But when it comes to education, one must have a bachelor’s degree to be eligible. Bachelor’s degree in Sports Management, Sports Health etc. fields an added advantage. 

When it comes to experience, an NFL referee must have at least 10 years of experience. Out of 10 years, one should have officiated in the major college games for a minimum of 5 years. 

Since the NFL is a physical sport, referees are required to stand on the field for a long period of time. Therefore, NFL referees must have good physical health. Former players or coaches are more fit for the job. 

In order to become an NFL referee, one needs to attend training offered by colleges, officiating organizations, and third-party training schools for aspiring referees. It helps them in a deeper understanding of the game and familiarise them with the game’s rules. 

NFL Referee Salary 2021

RefereeRoleAnnual SalaryPer Match FeesSuper Bowl Fees
Brad AllenReferee250K US Dollars5K US Dollars10K US Dollars
Walt AndersonReferee250K US Dollars5K US Dollars10K US Dollars
Craig WrolstadReferee250K US Dollars5K US Dollars10K US Dollars
Barry AndersonUmpire250K US Dollars5K US Dollars10K US Dollars
Steve WoodsUmpire250K US Dollars5K US Dollars10K US Dollars
Allen BaynesSide Referee250K US Dollars5K US Dollars10K US Dollars
Gary ArthurLine Judge75K US Dollars2.5K US Dollars5K US Dollars
Steve ZimmerField Judge75K US Dollars2.5K US Dollars5K US Dollars
Michael BanksField Judge75K US Dollars2.5K US Dollars5K US Dollars
Greg YetteBack Judge75K US Dollars2.5K US Dollars5K US Dollars

Who is the highest-paid NFL referee?

According to reports, Brad Allen and Walter Anderson are the highest-paid NFL referees in 2021, while Sarah Thomas is the best-paid women NFL referee who makes around $1500 per NFL match and $5000 per Super Bowl match.

What is the average NFL referee salary?

According to reports, the average salary of an NFL referee is $205,000 per year, and it keeps on increasing with every season. The average salaries increase by around $56,000 from 2011, which was $149,000.

NFL Referees and officials List

Here’s the complete roster of NFL referees and officials.

No.NamePos.Years of experience
122Brad AllenR7
20Barry AndersonU14
108Gary ArthurLJ24
72Michael BanksFJ19
56Allen BaynesSJ13
59Rusty BaynesLJ11
32Jeff BergmanLJ29
91Jerry BergmanDJ19
33Tra BlakeFJ1
34Clete BlakemanR13
57Joe BlubaughFJ1
23Jerome BogerR17
40Brian BolingerLJ4
74Derick BowersDJ18
98Greg BradleyLJ12
43Terry BrownFJ15
11Fred BryanU12
86Jimmy BuchananSJ12
134Ed CampDJ21
63Mike CarrDJ4
60Gary CavalettoSJ18
41Boris CheekSJ25
51Carl CheffersR21
130Land ClarkR3
16Kevin CodeyDJ6
95James ColemanSJ16
65Walt Coleman IVLJ6
99Tony CorrenteR26
25Ryan DicksonFJ4
123Mike DolceLJ1
76Alan EckU5
96Matt EdwardsBJ3
3Scott EdwardsSJ22
81Roy EllisonU18
61Keith FergusonBJ21
64Dan FerrellU18
71Ruben FowlerU15
88Brad FreemanBJ7
133Steve FreemanBJ20
80Greg GautreauxFJ19
128Ramon GeorgeU5
103Eugene HallSJ7
49Rich HallU17
107Dave HawkshawSJ2
93Scott HelversonBJ18
29Adrian HillR11
125Chad HillSJ3
97Tom HillFJ22
28Mark HittnerDJ24
83Shawn HochuliR7
106Patrick HoltDJ2
35John HusseyR19
36Anthony JeffriesFJ3
117John JenkinsFJ7
101Carl JohnsonLJ17
42Nate JonesFJ2
67Tony JosselynBJ3
55Alex KempR7
77Terry KillensU2
121Paul KingU12
21Jeff LamberthSJ19
44Frank LeBlancDJ1
2Bart LongsonLJ6
10Julian MappLJ12
19Clay MartinR6
39Rich MartinezBJ7
8Dana McKenzieDJ13
48Jim MelloDJ17
118Dave MeslowFJ10
78Greg MeyerBJ19
115Tony MichalekU19
111Terrence MilesBJ13
120Jonah MonroeSJ6
92Bryan NealeU7
1Scott NovakR7
24David OliverDJ4
124Carl PaganelliU22
105Dino PaganelliBJ15
46Perry PaganelliBJ23
17Steve PatrickBJ7
15Rick PattersonFJ25
79Kent PayneDJ17
131Mark PellisU7
9Mark PerlmanLJ20
6Jerod PhillipsDJ5
47Tim PodrazaLJ13
109Dyrol PrioleauFJ14
30Todd PrukopBJ12
5Jim QuirkSJ11
18Clay ReynardSJ1
31Mearl RobinsonFJ4
126Brad RogersR4
82Jimmy RussellSJ2
50Aaron SantiFJ6
45Jeff SeemanLJ19
104Dale ShawSJ8
113Danny ShortDJ4
110Tab SlaughterU1
14Shawn SmithR6
12Greg SteedBJ18
84Mark SteinkerchnerLJ27
68Tom StephanDJ22
112Tony SteratoreBJ21
75Mark StewartLJ3
102Bruce StriteskyU15
37Tripp SutterLJ2
100Tom SymonetteLJ17
53Sarah ThomasDJ6
62Ronald TorbertR11
13Patrick TurnerDJ7
52Bill VinovichR15
26Jabir WalkerFJ6
7Keith WashingtonSJ13
116Mike WeatherfordFJ19
58Don WillardSJ3
119Greg WilsonBJ13
54Steve WoodsU4
4Craig WrolstadR18

The NFL season runs for a specific number of months, referees and officials are forced into a dark period after each season’s conclusion. There are only a few referees who work full-time, and the league always face criticism for this. Many experts believe that making NFL officials full-time would improve the standard of the league. Most of the Professional NFL referees salary per game is around $10,000 for Super Bowl. The salaries also depend on officials experience and stage of the league.

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