The NFL officially hired 21 full-time game officials, the NFL and NFL Referees Associated (NFLRA) announced on Wednesday.
One of the new hires includes a graduate of Cal State-Fullerton, umpire Dan Ferrell, who has 15 years of NFL experience (including 2017).
Ferrell even has his own page documenting his work on Pro Football Reference.
— NFL345 (@NFL345) September 6, 2017
From the NFL's release:
In an effort to improve consistency, efficiency and accuracy, the full-time game officials will work throughout the calendar year on game preparation and game administration, analyzing current game trends, communicating with the officiating roster, and assisting to ensure that there is a qualified pipeline of future officials through scouting efforts.
"We believe that we will learn a great deal over the course of this initial year working with the full-time game officials," said NFL Senior Vice President of Officiating Alberto Riveron. "Our collective goal is to make a positive impact on NFL officiating overall."
"We are supportive of providing our members the opportunity to voluntarily commit additional time to NFL officiating, especially in the offseason," said NFLRA Executive Director Scott Green. "This initiative is the result of extensive discussion and planning, and the NFLRA looks forward to working with the NFL to test and evaluate this new approach over the next year."