Dick Dulack, a retired NFL referee from Norton Shores.
NORTON SHORES, Mich. (WZZM) -- Former National Football League referee Dick Dolack says when he started officiating in the league he was paid $250 per game.
Current officials earn an average $150,000 a year. When their new contract expires in five years, the average annual pay will be close to $190,000.
A new agreement with the officials was announced late Wednesday night.
Dolack says it will be good to have the regular refs back on the field, but he also has sympathy for the much criticized replacements.
"I defend the replacements to a degree because you have seven guys in the game who have never worked NFL football," Dolack explains. "They have either worked high school, small college or maybe a semi pro league or something. They are not acclimated to the NFL. "
Dolack worked as an NFL official from 1966 to 1991.
If nothing else, he thinks the recent focus on replacement refs shows how important the officials are to the competition.
"Maybe people, fans will realize we are part of the game," he says.