How Much Money Does A NFL Referee Make?

How much does a NFL referee make? This is a question that many people have, and it’s one that can be difficult to answer. There are a lot of factors that go into how much money a NFL referee makes, and it can vary from year to year. However, we’ve done some research and found out some information that can help you better understand how much these officials make.


In the National Football League (NFL), the game officials are responsible for enforcing the rules of the game and maintaining order on the field. The officiating crew is made up of a referee, who is the crew chief and oversees the other officials, and six other officials: two umpires, two line judges and two back judges.

The NFL pays its officials an average of $173,000 per year as of 2019, with a starting salary of $110,000 for rookies. Officials also receive benefits such as medical insurance and a pension plan.

NFL Referee Salary

NFL referees make a base salary of $173,000, which is an increase of about $10,000 from 2019. They also receive a defined pension after 20 years of service. In addition, they receive game fees for each game they work, which vary depending on the role they have. For example, a head referee in the Super Bowl make $11,900 while a line judge would make $10,500.

Per Game

As of 2019, NFL referees made an average of $205,000 per year. NFL referees are paid on a per-game basis and make an average of $12,000 per game.

This does not include any extra compensation for working playoff or championship games, which can earn officials an additional $10,000 to $20,000 per game. In addition to their game salaries, NFL referees also receive a travel stipend to cover their costs when they have to travel for work.


The top NFL referees can make as much as $200,000 per year, while the average official makes between $25,000 and $70,000. NFL officials are paid on a per-game basis and receive different pay depending on their position and whether or not a game is part of the playoffs.

For example, a head referee in the postseason can make $11,900 for each game they work, while a line judge will make $10,500. During the regular season, an NFL official can make anywhere from $700 to $1,700 per game.

The amount of money an NFL referee make also depends on how long they have been working in the league. Officials with ten or more years of experience can earn up to two times as much as first-year officials.

So, how do you become an NFL referee? According to the league’s website, anyone interested in becoming an official must attend one of the NFL’s officiating clinics. These clinics cover topics such as rule changes and mechanics.

After attending a clinic, officials must pass a written exam and then complete on-field training before they can be considered for a position in the league. Once they have been hired by the NFL, officials must attend an annual training camp and are subject to periodic evaluations.

Super Bowl

The highest-paid NFL referees are those who work the Super Bowl. In 2012, the referees for that game made $70,000 each. That’s more than twice the average salary for an NFL referee, which was $173,000 as of May 2012, according to “USA Today.” Super Bowl referees also receive a pension and benefits package from the NFL.

Other Income

In addition to their game-day salaries, NFL referees also receive a pension from the league. According to an article on, the average NFL referee made $173,000 in salary in 2011. However, that does not include other income that referees may earn, such as from working on television broadcasts of NFL games or from sponsorships.


In addition to their salary, NFL referees also receive a per-game fee for working the game, as well as compensation for travel expenses if they have to fly to the game site. An NFL referee can also earn income through endorsements and appearances. For example, former NFL referee Ed Hochuli, who worked in the league for 26 years, earned additional income through his association with MusclePharm clothing and supplement company.

Speaking Engagements

In addition to game fees, NFL referees are often paid to give speeches about their experiences as officials. These speeches can earn a referee several thousand dollars per engagement, making this a significant source of income for many officials. For example, popular referee Ed Hochuli charges between $5,000 and $10,000 for speaking engagements, according to his website.

Life of an NFL Referee

Becoming an NFL referee is a long and arduous process. Hopefuls must first complete a training program, which includes passing an exam, before they can even apply to become a certified official. Once they have completed the training program and have been accepted as an official, they must then attend a yearly clinic where they are taught the rules of the game and officiating mechanics. Only after completing these steps can an official become a full-time NFL referee.

NFL referees are paid on a per-game basis, and their salary depends on their experience level. The average salary for a rookie referee is $25,000 per year, while the average salary for a veteran referee is $70,000 per year. Referees also receive bonuses for working playoffs games and the Super Bowl. The bonus for working a playoff game is $2,000, while the bonus for working the Super Bowl is $7,500. In total, an NFL referee can make up to $100,000 per year.


In conclusion, NFL referees make a very good living. They are paid well for their officiating duties, and they also receive benefits and perks that other professions do not get. If you are considering becoming an NFL referee, you should definitely do your research and make sure that you are aware of all of the requirements and qualifications.

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