How much do NFL referees get paid?

Even though they only work about 20 on-field days per year, NFL referees probably take home more cash than most of us.

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan argues with NFL referee John Hussey
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan argues with NFL referee John Hussey / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

Being an NFL referee is a thankless task, but 49ers fans can know that their pay is pretty rewarding in contrast to most of us "common folk."

NFL fans go to watch their favorite teams and players. They do not go to games to watch the referees.

Perhaps some San Francisco 49ers fans have grudges about that after what happened in the NFC Championship game last January when the striped zebras all but enforced a Philadelphia Eagles victory in the wake of quarterback Brock Purdy suffering a serious elbow injury early in that game.

And NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco, one of the more level-headed Niners insiders out there, couldn't help but toss some ire in the direction of the officials:

It's probably a safe bet that some San Francisco fans (and perhaps others) wondered how much the NFL is paying the referees to make such poor (in our opinion) calls in such a big game.

Well, we're here for you. And the cash involved may surprise you.

NFL referees still average a very comfortable salary for part-time work

Yes, being an NFL official is a part-time job. It'd be interesting to see how their benefits work in that regard, but the NFL doesn't actually release what it pays the officials.

This differs from players, whose salaries are disclosed and often made available on sites like Over the Cap and Spotrac.

A 2018 article by shed some light on what the striped zebras were making back then, and it's still a hefty salary in comparison to the average person out there:

"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. ...

As for how much refs make by working in the playoffs, we reached out to the NFL but (unsurprisingly) no one responded. The referee bonuses for officiating in the post-season appear to be under wraps. But if refs made $11,900 for the Super Bowl in 2001, as one source says, and probably averaged something like $50,000 for the regular season back then, they'd make perhaps as much as $40,000 today if the bonus-to-salary proportions remain roughly the same."

Read more: 10 most painful playoff losses in 49ers franchise history

An educated guess would be that the officials make even more now than the listed $201,000 from 2019, and those who work in the playoffs probably command even more than the above-mentioned bonuses, too.

All for part-time work.

While the officials' paydays are nothing in comparison to even the most obscure role players on teams out there, in contrast to the likes of most of us, it's still a hefty paycheck.

For a thankless job, nonetheless.

Read more from Niner Noise