Are NFL Referees Biased?

Scott Boehm via AP

James Carthy, staff writer

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Many people have wondered for years if National Football League referees are biased, or even paid off to let a certain team take the win. Each viewer has their own biases and opinions on the seemingly unfair calls made by members of the NFL referee crews, some determining that . certain NFL referees are “biased” and should be fired immediately, while others think this as a poor excuse used to remove the blame from the losing team and put it onto the referee.

The NFL has done an excellent job at hiring and training neutral referees, requiring each referee to have at least 10 years of officiating experience, at least five of those years spent at a varsity collegiate team or at a professional level.  Presumably, any biased decisions will lead to immediate termination or temporary suspension. Despite this, there are always going to be a few calls that leave people wondering. 

The truth is, there is little to no evidence that any NFL referee actually makes biased calls, and most of the examples truly are just fans of those teams making an excuse for why their team didn’t win. Some fans will have to accept that the referees do not have it out for their team and are also humans capable of making mistakes on the field. 

As Liam Smith, an active football fan and freshman at New Providence High School, admits: “all refs could have been fans of certain teams at some point, that is an unfair excuse and the main reason is just that it is a fast paced game and human error is extremely likely.”

Although there will always be conspiracists out there wondering why their favorite team lost, there is little to no solid evidence that an NFL referee has been purposely biased.