How much money do NFL Referees make?

New York Jets v Miami Dolphins
New York Jets v Miami Dolphins / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

Cincinnati Bengals fans have their (mostly negative) opinions about NFL referees and it's not an easy job. That being said, let's dive more into the financial aspect of the officiating crews of the NFL.

NFL referees salary

The league does not make the salaries public knowledge. According to Ethan Wolff-Mann of, however, "The average NFL referee salary was $173,000 in 2013, and it is set to rise to $201,000 by 2019. Note that the NFL season only lasts about half the year, and for most NFL referees, refereeing is not their only job."

It's worth noting that article was written in 2016.

Edward Sutelan of Sporting News wrote in January 2023 that "There is an added bonus for officials working playoff games, so the aforementioned $201,000 per year is a start for the best officials. On top of that, reports indicate officials could make bonuses between $1,500 and $5,000 per playoff game."

How much do refs get paid to officiate a Super Bowl?

In that same article from Wolff-Mann of, he notes that player bonuses are a way to calculate how much the refs make for working the Super Bowl. The player bonuses for championship games were provided from an SB Nation article by Alex Kirshner, which is mentioned in the blurb below.

With that in mind:

"In 2001, players took home $36,000 for winning the Super Bowl. This year, players walk away with up to $118,000 each if their team wins the big game, according to estimates from SB Nation. That's a 3.2-fold increase. If this increase also applies to what refs now earn, they'll get around $39,000 for working the big game. So our guesstimate is something in the $30,000 to 50,000 range. Not too bad for a little overtime on a second job."

Ethan Wolff-Mann

Being an NFL official is no picnic so it makes sense that the salaries are mostly kept a secret.

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