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NFL already has the right to hire up to 17 full-time officials

Kansas City Chiefs v Denver Broncos

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 27: Head coach Gary Kubiak of the Denver Broncos tries to talk to a referee in the second half of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on November 27, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

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Much was made this week of the comment from NFL executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent that the league may hire up to 17 full-time officials. The reality is that, for four years, the league has had the power to do it.

Per a souce with knowledge of the situation, the labor agreement finalized at the end of the 2012 lockout permits the league to hire up to 17 full-time officials. There was an attempt to do so a few years ago, but the NFL and the NFL Referees Association were unable to agree to terms.

The fundamental problem, as it relates to making a part-time, seasonal employee a full-time, year-round employee, is providing the employee with enough compensation to entice the employee to ditch any other employment. Complicating matters is the fact that having other employment gives the official financial security in the event that the officiating assignment evaporates due to poor performance.