(Photo courtesy of the Chicago Bears)
Talk of Fame Network
If you had one facet of the NFL you’d like to change … one part of the game that you could fix if given the opportunity … what would it be?
We posed that question to Chicago coach John Fox on last week’s Talk of Fame Network broadcast and, not too surprisingly, his response had to do with officials – with Fox saying he’d like to see the league make them full-time employees.
“It’s something I’ve been kind of harping on a little bit,” said Fox. “Our officials do a great, great job, there’s no question about it. The league is always trying to get that to be consistent, as well as the game officials -- many of (who) are close friends. I think this is my 27th year in the league, so I’ve met most of them … been with most of them … watched them. And it’s a tough job.
“(But) I think full-time officials at some point (is what I’d like to see.) I don’t know if I’ll see it in my career. But I think, in time, that will really help guys prepare -- where they can watch practice and spend their whole livelihood in the officiating business. So I think in time it might happen, (but) I’m not sure it will happen in my tenure.”
Under current guidelines, officials are part-time employees who hold down other jobs. Referee Ed Hochuli, for instance, is a trial lawyer and a partner in the legal firm where he works. Two years ago, however, Mike Pereira -- a former head of NFL officiating -- told the Associated Press he thinks the league should make the referees on all of its 17 officiating crews full-time employees.
He'll get no argument from John Fox.