NFL referees are constantly scrutinized, and several high-profile officials have left the field to work in broadcasting. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers says that may be hurting the quality of officiating because the best referees are leaving the job for higher paying roles on TV.
During his weekly appearance on 'The Pat McAfee Show,' Rodgers was discussing the controversial roughing the passer flag that was thrown on the New York Giants' Dexter Lawrence in the team's Super Wild Card game against the Minnesota Vikings.
Rodgers lamented the inconsistency of certain calls before pointing out that some of his favorite referees are now on TV instead of working with the NFL to improve the overall quality of officiating across the board.
"Listen, the best refs we've had in the league are on TV now," Rodgers said. "They're not working in the league office. They're on TV. Gene Steratore, my favorite ref of all-time. I think one of the best guys at understanding how to interact with guys and how to communicate with them, and then how to control a game without being a part of it. Gene was incredible at that, but Gene is on TV now. Why? Because they pay more.
"Terry McAulay, also a fantastic referee. He's not working as the head of refs for the league office. He's on TV. John Parry, another great referee. What is he doing? He's working on TV. All of these guys who were fantastic whitecaps, and all who've left in probably the last five years. You've had eight or nine really good whitecap longtime referees. Are any of them working at the league office? No."
Rodgers did offer a simple solution for this issue: Pay the best officials more money to stay with the NFL.
"If the league was smart, they would go grab one of those guys, pay them whatever they want, and make this a little easier for the refs. They have a tough job to do, but there's some things to be simplified."
Whether the NFL takes Rodgers' advice remains to be seen, but officials will always be under the microscope, especially at this time of year.