How much money do NFL referees make?

Pittsburgh Steelers, Shawn Hochuli
Pittsburgh Steelers, Shawn Hochuli / Michael Hickey/GettyImages

There are probably very few professions that receive more criticism than referees. No matter what sport they are officiating or what level of play, people will always find something to complain about. This is especially true when it comes to referees in the NFL.

Nobody gives the officials a pat on the back when they make the right call, but everyone is quick to note when a penalty doesn't go their way or a call is missed. For this reason, it requires some thick skin to be a referee in the NFL.

In order to be booed and insulted by tens of thousands of fans, the pay must be nice, right? When it comes to compensation, you be the judge whether or not refs are fairly paid.

How much money to NFL referees make?

Like many professions, referees in the NFL are compensated based on expertise and experience. Their compensation depends on several determining factors, but according to Money Magazine, the average income of an NFL referee is approximately $201,000 per year as of 2019.

This isn't a bad chunk of change when you consider that the season runs from just September to January (plus August for preseason games), and their respected salaries make all of the insults worth it.

It's important to note that $201,000 is the average salary figure, and the money paid out to individual referees varies. Those who have more experience or are the head of their officiating crew typically demand higher salaries. It's also worth noting that some of these referees could have other jobs when they aren't officiating football games.

In addition to their impressive salaries, NFL referees enjoy benefits like travel expenses and accommodations as they travel from city to city for each game. These referees may also be eligible for performance-based bonuses if they are officiating playoff games or the Super Bowl.

NFL officials will always get a bad rap as fans tend to remember all of the poor calls and missed flags. However, we can't feel too bad for part-time employees making roughly $200k per year. Perhaps the NFL will consider making them full-time employees at some point in the future.