Aaron Rodgers believes he has the solution for an issue everyone sees as a problem. Throw some money at it.
We’re talking officiating. And whether than rip on the guy who throws the flags, Aaron Rodgers looked at the issue through a pragmatic lens. The networks are poaching the top officials in the NFL to work as analysts during games. The TV guys are paying the refs big money to join the broadcast teams. Fox started the trend 13 years ago. So why shouldn’t the NFL now offer more money to keep the best officials working with the league?
The Green Bay quarterback recently had this conversation with Pat McAfee, the former NFL punter turned podcaster. Los Angeles Charger defensive end Joey Bosa’s blow up about officiating ignited the conversation.
First, let’s address what Bosa said. As the Chargers were in the process of blowing a 27-point lead against the Jaguars, Bosa became enraged that the officials missed a false start. Bosa tossed his helmet in disgust. The Jags won. And Bosa kept the officiating conversation going in post game.
“If I say something to them I get a $40,000 fine,” Bosa said. “But if they blow a call that ruins an entire team’s season, they get to…they’ll probably be back in the locker room after the game like, ‘Haha, got that a–h—. Oh yeah, got him 15 yards, what a loser.’”
Aaron Rodgers Thinks TV Networks Poached All the Good Refs
The league fined Bosa three times for the game. There were the $29,785 and $13,261 fines for two unsportsmanlike conduct flags. And the NFL added $12,500 for his postgame comments about the officials.
Since Aaron Rodgers and the Packers didn’t make the playoffs, the quarterback has plenty of time to take in all this football. He revealed to McAfee the name of his favorite ref.
“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. (CBS) Gene Steratore (is ) 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.”
The NFL doesn’t publicize how much the league pays its officials. But there are reports that the average salary is about $200,000. Plus, officials make more when they work playoff games and the Super Bowl.
Aaron Rodgers checked off Terry McAulay (NBC and Amazon Prime), John Parry (ESPN), Mike Pereira and Dean Blandino. The last two work for Fox.
“All these guys who were fantastic white caps (head officials),” Rodgers said. “Many of them left in the last five years. You’ve had like eight or nine really good white cap long-time referees. Are any of them working in the league office?”
And Rodgers had more to say: “These guys are all on TV because they pay more. 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.”