How Much Do NFL Refs Make? 【Referee Salary 2022】 | CareerExplorer

Average salary of an NFL Referee in 2022 is $205,000 Per Year.

nfl referee salary

Average salary of an NFL Referee in 2022 is $205,000 Per Year. The maximum salary given to an NFL Referee is $ 10,000 per match and the minimum salary given to them is $ 1,000 per match.

NFL Referee Salary 2022:

Less than 2 years$ 1,000
More than 2 years$ 3,000
More than 5 years$ 10,000

Learn More: NBA Referee Salary

How Much Do NFL Referees Make?

Just like other positions in the NFL, the salary of an NFL referee also remains steady and depends upon the role and experience. The seniority of an NFL referee decides their pay rate. Most of the referees have a considerate annual pay rate. Along with that, the NFL referee’s salary is topped up with a substantial pension plan apart from the base salary. 

The NFL hasn’t disclosed the salaries of their NFL referees. However, from different sources, we can estimate how much NFL referees make in a year. From the previous NFL figures, we can say that an average NFL ref salary is $205,000 annually. Previously, the salary of an NFL referee was $149,000, and that is a significant increase in the salary. 

The league officials earn a base salary along with a payment per game. On average the NFL official earns up to a six-figure salary in a season. And the referees can make up to half a million dollars after a 16-game slate on average. The referees attend different functions and meetings to improve their performance and gain a better understanding of the game rules and regulations that are changed by the NFL league every year, which changes the base payment yearly. At the end of the season, the referees also earn huge bonuses which are double the NFL referee salary per game, adding to the referee’s annual salary. Due to the pandemic, most of the players and officials hesitated in participating in the league but they were accommodated for and could opt for a $30,000 stipend according to a parliamentary agreement between the league and NFL Referees Association.

A referee is an official figure that holds an authoritative position in different sports. These are also called “ref. These individuals are neutral parties during the game and make unbiased decisions about what they see. They make quick calls throughout the game so that the play doesn’t stop. The referees are responsible for enforcing the rules of the game in which they’re officiating, they also have the right to eject the players for misconduct during the plays. In the world of football, especially the NFL, the referees have to meet the high standard as it is one of the best professional leagues in the world, thus an NFL referee must have the required experience automatically leading to higher pay. 

NFL referees are responsible for maintaining discipline throughout the game as they have to make sure the players abide by the rules and regulations. In total seven officials are present during the professional or a college-level football game. These officials are referees and have specific duties with a specific name based on each of their positions. One major position is of the referee who is the lead member of the team, others include umpire, head linesman, line judge, field judge, side judge, back judge, and center judge. As the referee is the head of the crew and is responsible for the general supervision of the game, their salaries are a little high too. 

Top Paid NFL Referees in 2022:

NFL Referees Per Match Salary
Brad Allen $250,000
Walt Anderson $250,000
Craig Wrolstad $250,000

Read More: NFL Commissioner Salary

How To Become an NFL Referee?

It is not easy to become a referee in the NFL as it takes time and experience. Having knowledge, skill level, and punctuality will allow an applicant to have more chances for acceptance to the NFL. 

To secure a good position in any league, one must have a good education. Although there are no specific degree requirements for an NFL referee position, having a bachelor’s degree in sports health management will be a plus point. However, experience is what matters the most in the NFL. An individual must have extensive experience of almost 10 years in football games and out of those 10, at least five should include major college games. A referee has to be up and running throughout the game, so they must be in good shape and have proper physical health. Individuals who have the experience of being a coach can easily become a referee in the NFL. 

Requirements To Become an NFL Ref

Apart from the education and experience, many other areas are a requirement for becoming an NFL referee. These are listed below:

1. Attend Training Sessions

Many training schools provide courses and programs for aspiring referees. The purpose of these sessions is to inform potential referee applicants to have a better understanding of the game rules and gain insight into how the NFL works. The training schools also give lessons on ethics, good sportsmanship, and how to interact with coaches on the field.

2. Acquire state registration

Before entering the NFL, the referees must have experience and for that, they begin their career from high school-level games. For that they need to obtain state registration within the state they practice as every state has different requirements. The registration exam requires training as explained above. 

3. Earn certification

This isn’t mandatory but having certificates by attending different training sessions can increase the chance of employment as an NFL referee as there will be applicants who fulfill the basic criteria but lesser applicants with additional training and certifications. 

4. Get noticed

The league sends scouts to games without revealing that they’re going to be a part of specific games. This is a method to seek new talent. This is when giving your best shot helps to get noticed by the league officials. 


To sum up, an NFL referee’s salary comes with great responsibility towards every game of the league. The job of a referee is responsible because without them the game would be incomplete as they are the ones to ensure that the rules are followed and the players are disciplined during the game.