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. From the food editor: Shout out to my husband, the world's least picky eater, with this bowl of pappardelle


    Oh, hello, end of October. When the heck did you get here?

    Pappardelle with Cream Sauce and Mint. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.
  2. Bucs: Quick and easy fixes for what ails Tampa Bay?


    The Bucs are 2-4 and have lost five straight road games, so there's plenty to fix. What's the quickest and easiest fix for coach Dirk Koetter and Tampa Bay? The Times' Bucs coverage team weighs in:


    Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter, seen during the first half, had a heck of a day calling plays, Tom Jones writes. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. New Orleans celebrity chef John Besh steps down after sexual harassment allegations


    Celebrity chef John Besh became a symbol of the rebirth of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina leveled the city. Now he faces a storm of his own. On Monday, Besh stepped down from the restaurant group he founded and co-owns after more than two dozen women alleged his company fostered a culture of sexual abuse.

    Chef John Besh attends the Supper to benefit the Global Fund to fight AIDS in New York in May 2015. Besh is stepping down from the restaurant group that bears his name after a newspaper reported that 25 current or former employees of the business said they were victims of sexual harassment. [Brad Barket | Invision/AP, File]
  4. No serious injuries after deputy rear-ends school bus in Thonotosassa


    THONOTOSASSA — No one was seriously injured Tuesday morning after a Hillsborough County Sheriff's deputy rear-ended a school bus, authorities said.

  5. New Port Richey man dies after losing control of vehicle on wet roads


    A New Port Richey man was killed in a rollover crash Monday night after he lost control of his vehicle on wet roads.