The NFL has been criticized a lot lately, and rightfully so. Their ratings have been down, and fans have been frustrated with a myriad of issues.

First and foremost, the NFL has a clear image problem. There have been way too many off the field issues and it’s a big turn off for fans. Whether it’s domestic violence issues, conduct issues, or simply fans being mad about the excess commercials, there is a clear level of frustration with the league itself.

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It seems like the NFL cannot do anything right. They are criticized for every move and the image is that they are a selfish organization who only cares about the dollar bill.

Roger Goodell and the league have been trying to correct their public image problem over the last couple years. They’ve really been pushing a marketing objective that portrays the league in a positive manner. I’m talking about charity work, community involvement, etc.

But as I said, it seems like the NFL cannot do anything right. No matter what they do, whether it’s football related or not, they get ripped for every move.

However, when they do something right, they need to be commended. That’s why I’d like to offer some praise for something the NFL just did.

They finally hired full time officials! It’s about damn time.

For years now, the NFL has been the only professional sports league who didn’t employ officials on a full time basis. This has been highly criticized, especially with all the officiating problems we’ve had over the past few years. Replacement refs, officiating blunders, complaints about the officiating quality, etc. It’s been bad. That’s why a lot of people have been upset with the lack of full time officials. The NFL makes so much money, I’ve always wondered why they didn’t just make their officials full time.

I do think officiating has been a problem. The quality has been bad and there’s no reason for it. I’ve always been adamant in saying the NFL should make officials full time, and they should also get younger.

I think the NFL should actually create some sort of officiating academy for college students. Imagine how much the quality would improve if we had young officials who are eager, in shape, and devoted their whole professional lives to officiating the game. The quality would be fantastic.

Also, full time officials would be using the entire year to study, hold meetings, practices, and prepare for officiating the season. It would dramatically improve the quality of officiating in the NFL.

Here are some specific details from ESPN regarding the move to full time officials:

Beginning immediately, any of the 124 current officials can apply for full-time status. They will be allowed to work outside of the league, according to the agreement, but their NFL duties must be given top priority.

"It is definitely a priority shift," Green said. "The NFL will have to be their priority employer. But there is no restriction other than 'be available,' and ultimately the NFL will decide if you're able to do that."

I’m thrilled that we will finally have full time officials. It was needed and I’ll give credit where credit is due. The NFL made a great decision here and it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

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