Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Q&A: NFL assigns officiating crews for games

NFL makes referee assignments

In professional games and playoff football games, who assigns the officials?

The NFL puts together crews of officials for the regular season, and assigns those crews to games each week. The crews are made up of seven people — referee, umpire, head linesman, line judge, field judge, side judge and back judge.

It's important to note that NFL officials are not full-time employees, but people who have other jobs and work the NFL games on the side. The NFL is the only major sport that doesn't employ full-time officials.

The crews are then evaluated after each game, and the eight crews with the highest grades at the end of the regular season are rewarded by being assigned to work playoff games. The three rated at the top get two playoff games.

But the rules also prohibit first- and second-year officials from being assigned to playoff games. They are replaced by veterans who score the highest at the various positions.

The rules change again for the Super Bowl. The highest-rated individuals at each of the seven positions who have at least five years of experience and have worked the playoffs are assigned to work the championship game.

Sampling determines figure

How does the government figure the amount of people unemployed if those people are not getting unemployment checks?

Good question. As you note, the government can't simply base the unemployment rate on the number of people filing for unemployment benefits, because some people have run out of benefits or never apply for them at all.

Instead, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) conducts a monthly sample survey called the Current Population Survey. There are about 60,000 households in the survey, or about 110,000 people.

Those households and people are chosen from around the country so the sampling is representative for the entire country.

The Census Bureau then sends 2,200 employees to interview people in those 60,000 households. From those interviews comes information that the BLS uses to classify people by employment status, and extrapolate an unemployment rate.

The government estimates that there's a 90 percent chance its conclusions are within 290,000 of the actual number it might get by conducting a total census.

That may sound like it could be quite a bit off. But consider this: The December report estimated that about 154 million people were employed and 14.5 million were unemployed, for an unemployment rate of 9.4 percent. Adding 290,000 to the 154 million employed number, or subtracting from it, isn't enough to distort the total unemployment picture.

If you want to read about this process in greater detail, visit

Q&A: NFL assigns officiating crews for games 01/27/11 [Last modified: Thursday, January 27, 2011 4:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Comedian and activist Dick Gregory dies at 84


    The comedian Dick Gregory rose to national prominence in the early 1960s as a black satirist whose audacious style of humor was biting, subversive and topical, mostly centered on current events, politics and above all, racial tensions. His trademark was the searing punchline.

    Dick Gregory, a comedian, activist and author, died Saturday. [Tribune News Service, 2011]
  2. Winter Haven police investigating armed robbery at Dollar General


    WINTER HAVEN — Police are investigating an armed robbery Friday night of a Dollar General store on W Lake Ruby Drive.

  3. Rowdies settle for draw at home


    ST. PETERSBURG — The good news for the Rowdies is that they still haven't lost a game at Al Lang Stadium since late April. The bad news is they had to settle for a 1-1 tie against Ottawa on Saturday night in front of 6,710 sweaty fans.

  4. Bats come to life, but Rays' freefall continues (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG —The six runs seemed like a ton, just the second time the Rays had scored that many in a game during their numbing two-plus-weeks stretch of offensive impotency, and amazingly, the first time at the Trop in nearly two months.

    Lucas Duda connects for a two-run home run in the sixth, getting the Rays within 7-5. A Logan Morrison home run in the ninth made it 7-6, but Tampa Bay couldn’t complete the comeback.
  5. 'Free speech rally' cut short after massive counterprotest


    BOSTON — Thousands of demonstrators chanting anti-Nazi slogans converged Saturday on downtown Boston in a boisterous repudiation of white nationalism, dwarfing a small group of conservatives who cut short their planned "free speech rally" a week after a gathering of hate groups led to bloodshed in Virginia.

    Thousands of people march against a “free speech rally” planned Saturday in Boston. About 40,000 people were in attendance.