NFL May Include Full-Time Refs In 2017 – Any Impact For Lion’s Fans?

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Detroit Fans Have An Odd Relationship With The Men In Zebra Print.

On Tuesday the NFL Competition Committee reported that it will be urging owners to begin hiring full-time refs for the coming season, at next week’s owners meetings. This would herald the beginning of a transition from the current part-time refs to a structure that was originally outlined by Mike Pereira, the former NFL Vice President of Officiating.


Having full-time refs has been posited around the league as a possible fix for some of the inconsistencies in officiating that has dogged many franchises, while elevating others. The Detroit Lions themselves have had issues in the past, a simple Google search of controversial calls brings up many results from the past couple of seasons and a “Top 10” list from Bleacher Report that published in 2012. (Here’s the link if you wish to bring back the Vietnam flashbacks)

As a Detroit Lions fan myself I worry that the hiring of full-time referees has the potential to make things worse for the Lions’ luck with controversial calls, by making some of the worst refs full-time, giving them a vote of confidence that they categorically don’t deserve – I’m looking at you Carl Cheffers! This could be a reality as ESPN writer Kevin Seifert reported:

“The committee’s recommendation is to approach referees first and give them an opportunity to phase into a program that would be mandatory by the end of this decade. The league is prepared for some current referees to opt out and either leave the league or accept a demotion to another on-field role.”

I don’t think anyone wants to see whoever called that “bounce pass” to Odell Beckham Jr. a catch get a full-time paycheck, and that memory puts a sour taste in my mouth whenever I hear the name Tony Corrente. Nor do we want to see Walt Coleman get any sort of promotion,  giving us just more “Tuck Rule” garbage and not seeing that Justin Forsett was tackled before letting him run in for a touchdown.

All that being said, I won’t be that fan that blames every loss on the refs. We all know that coach Jim Caldwell could have challenged the Beckham Jr. ruling or Jim Schwartz could have not thrown that ridiculous flag- the one that caused a rule change AFTER we were hosed. But everyone must agree that every season the refs have an impact on how the season plays out, and adding full-time refs will undoubtedly have some sort of impact on that.

Contact me on twitter at @natecheat and join the discussion in our Reddit community!

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About the Author

Nathan Cheatham
Nathan Cheatham grew up in downriver Detroit, and after much traveling landed in Hartford, CT. A journalism major, he has been writing news for the past four years. You can see examples of it at and contact him at A newer football fan, Cheatham became a Detroit Lions fan soon after the 0-16 season. An avid Fantasy Football enthusiast, he has been running his own personal league for nearly 10 years. Regardless of what some might say, he is convinced the Lions will have Super Bowl Victory next year!