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Goodell: Our officials do a great job, don’t need to go full-time

Saints coach Sean Payton joins PFT to talk with Mike Florio about New Orleans' win over Seattle on Sunday and referees in the league.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is skeptical that turning the league’s officials into full-time employees would improve officiating.

Amid increasing talk that the league should hire its officials on a full-time basis, Goodell was asked at a New York Times conference today whether he supports the idea. Goodell said he would go for it only "[i]f I thought full-time officials would solve the problem.”

Goodell then went on to make clear that he doesn’t think full-time officials would solve the problem, nor does he think officiating in the NFL right now is a big problem.

“As you see there are officiating mistakes in other leagues and they’re full time officials,” Goodell said. “I don’t think that’s going to eliminate the human element. What we want to do is get the best people on the field to officiate the game to the highest levels. Our officials work incredibly hard and the reality is they do a great job. But they’re going to miss calls. So what we try to do is have replay available to try to address those issues. But then you have an issue that you have to balance, and we call it the unintended consequences. How much replay do you want to have? Because it can slow the game down to a halt. So it goes back to the pace of game. If you can challenge every play, we’re going to spend more of our time watching video. We replay all scoring plays and I get this reaction from fans quite a bit, and partners. A touchdown play, everybody’s focused on it, it’s a great play, it’s a great time to celebrate, but we’re not sure if it’s really a touchdown yet so it takes the celebration out of it. So you have to find that balance in there where you use technology to improve officiating.”

The issue of full-time officials has become a major point of discussion since Saints coach Sean Payton said on PFT Live last week that he believes the league needs to stop using part-timers. The league office, however, seems unconvinced.