After Joey Bosa obliterated NFL referees, it didn’t take Aaron Rodgers long to figure out the problem with league officials. All the good ones are on television.
Rodgers joined The Pat McAfee Show for his weekly appearance Tuesday afternoon and during the segment, they discussed Bosa’s recent rant about NFL officials. This season was no different from recent years, where NFL fans and players repeatedly threw the flag at officials for seemingly screwing their team, and that angst was highlighted by Bosa’s epic rant.
According to Rodgers, the NFL can fix its sustained officiating problem by keeping its top officials in house, which means paying them as much as TV networks do.
“The best refs that we’ve had in the league are on TV now,” Rodgers told McAfee. “They’re not working in the league office, they’re on TV. Gene Steratore (CBS), my favorite ref of all time. One of the best guys at understanding how to…control a game without being a part of it. Gene was incredible at that. But Gene’s on TV now, why? Because they pay more.”
“All these guys who were fantastic white caps (head official), many of them left in the last five years,” Rodgers continued. “You’ve had like eight or nine really good white cap longtime referees, are any of them working in the league office?”
It’s been nearly 13 years since Fox announced they were hiring Mike Pereira as a rules analyst, a position that has morphed into a must have for every NFL TV partner. While the groundbreaking hire has improved NFL broadcasts, it also may have hurt the league’s officiating. The NFL is to blame, however, because they’re capable of outbidding TV networks to keep their best officials, but they choose not to.
“These guys are all on TV because they pay more,” Rodgers said. “If the league was smart, they would go grab one of those guys, pay them whatever the hell they want and make this a little easier for the refs because they have a tough job to do, but there are some things to be simplified.”
As the league partners with sportsbooks and more fans bet on games, the NFL should be focused on improving their officiating now more than ever to maintain integrity. Teams are competing with TV networks to keep the best coaches and players, the NFL can certainly afford to do it with officials too.
Last month, Rodgers suggested fixing the league’s officiating problem by hiring full-time referees. Just as the NFL’s pockets are deep enough to compete with TV networks for officials, the league is also capable of affording permanent referees. Although hiring full-time officials hasn’t really helped the NBA and MLB from avoiding criticism with their referees and umpires.