How Mike Pereira Would Solve the NFL Officials Riddle

It’s ‘Roughing the Zebras’ season again, where an apoplectic audience throws the flag at the NFL for the personal fault of fucking his team, whether in real life, fantasy or betting.

It’s even more critical now that the league strives to extinguish its firestorm as best it can week after week, year after year, in large part due to the proliferation of betting sites and its membership in sports betting partners – such as Caesars Entertainment, DraftKings and FanDuel. More than ever, with eyeballs everywhere addicted to the NFL and social media content oversaturated the brain, we are talking about the integrity of the game.

These officials, and it must be recognized that there are more pros than jos, have a thankless job, for to err is human, and humans in striped shirts are too often mistaken for the paying public to curb their outrage. ” Any Sunday”. , and refined instant replay and technological advancements can’t fix everything.

If not, “What’s a trap?” (See Calvin Johnson, see Dez Bryant) It’s “What is pass interference?” If not, “What is pass interference?” Is: “What is it that brutalizes the smuggler? If not, “What’s wrong with the passer?” Is: “What is mockery?” If not, “What is taunting?” Is: “What is a helmet-helmet shot?

It is always something, and it will always be something.

Serby Says asked Fox Sports rules analyst Mike Pereira how he would characterize the state of officiating.

“The state of arbitration, I would call it now the same state it has been for the last few years,” Pereira said. “You get the provocative call that gets the ire of everyone across the country – and I understand that. You get the rude-the-go that shouldn’t have been done. People now with Direct TV and everything the rest, they watch every game. These mistakes have been made year after year, and they’re probably more visible now than they’ve ever been.

“I know people would shoot me if I said that, but I don’t think the arbitration is any different this year from last year during the pandemic or years before.”

There isn’t a fan base that hasn’t felt victimized or deceived by a bad or horrible call:

Better not ask Bears fans about the league’s crackdown on taunts and referee Tony Corrente signaling and bumping their own Cassius Marsh against the Steelers.

Referee Tony Corrente bumps into the Bears' Cassius Marsh just before signaling him for taunt.
Referee Tony Corrente bumps into the Bears’ Cassius Marsh just before signaling him for taunt.
Fox Sports screenshot

Better not to ask Washington fans about the ghost of Chase Young that imposed the passer penalty on Matt Ryan.

Better not to ask Saints fans about Kaden Elliss’ brutal call that canceled a Ryan Tannehill interception in the end zone.

And so on.

And oh, by the way, don’t dare approach the 2018 NFC Championship with Saints fans when blatant late passing interference against Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman in disbelief and inexcusably was not called out. , and the town of N’awlins felt deprived of a Super Bowl spot.

“Some are going to go for you, some are going to go against you,” Pereira said, “but we can’t say that 2021 is the first year that fans are rising up.”

Google “NFL Officiating Crisis” and you’ll find these headlines:

The NFL Officials Crisis – Why It’s Time To Raise The Whistle (2019).

NFL Officials Crisis Is Hurting Youth Sports (2019).

Is the NFL too hard to officiate? Penalties are on the rise, calls are still missed (2019).

And, again: To solve the “officials crisis,” the NFL needs full-time officials (this week).

The NFL disbanded its two-year full-time refereeing program ahead of the 2019 season. Pereira is arguing against full-time officials.

“I just don’t buy it,” he said. “I just can’t buy it at the simpler levels of the people complaining about baseball umpires, and they are full time. And they scream about the basketball officials, and they are full time. If you had 100 games to play, or 160 games to play, obviously I would. But I’m not the type to believe that hiring 130 full-time NFL officials just so you don’t have that many more reps just doesn’t make sense. I (first broached in 2016) broached the subject of the appointment of 17 full-time arbitrators. I like that … involve them all. And having them at a refereeing institute, in the center of the country, so instead of going home to Los Angeles after a game in Miami, they go to the institute in Kansas City or Dallas, and they break down all the games. together. They really need to send consistent messages to their crews. ”

Pereira, a former official and vice-president of refereeing, has long been in favor of a Sky judge – an eighth official in the booth.

“Overall, the accuracy percentage is probably better now with the video assistant and fast-track exams than ever before,” Pereira said. “But you’re going to have these pieces, and you’ll probably even have them with Judge Sky if you have them where the fans are going to be going, and I don’t blame them. I sure don’t like some of the calls that are made, but you’re talking about judgment calls, 130 people, if you try to put them on exactly the same wavelength on the gray area, which is basically what that we’re talking about here is virtually impossible. … To be honest, in my opinion, this is nothing new.

In the meantime, the line between touching the smuggler and brutalizing the smuggler has blurred.

“Now you are going too far to try to protect the position, and everyone knows that,” Pereira said. “Again, you’ve got gray there too. Any contact with the head is not a fault, but forced contact is a fault. It happens very quickly in real time and mistakes are made. We will never go beyond that. We will never go beyond the fact that mistakes are made.

Saints coach Sean Payton certainly didn’t.

“We have to improve. Everyone who watches, participates and participates in it deserves better, ”Payton said on“ The Dan Patrick Show ”.

The league is trying.

“With all the technology, replay, and use of the official to official and New York communications system, we’ve gone one step further and further down that path of using technology to help referee,” Pereira said. , “and this is also the case for the next the first step which could say,” OK, let this eighth official examine a player’s safety foul? “and let him do it in real time, before the game clock does not ring like 15.

“Since we started in 1999 bringing back proofreading and adding and adding and adding, and this video assistant is now the proofread official, I think that could be the next logical step, and might even be involved. in pass interference in the last two minutes. of the fourth trimester, perhaps. Who knows? Who knows where it could end?

Mike Pereira is in favor of a Sky Judge.
Mike Pereira is in favor of a Sky Judge.

It must end with an official eighth in the booth.

“Put this guy up there and let him get involved in player safety issues,” Pereira said. “Then we caution, hey, in the last two minutes, let him get involved in the pass interference when it has a huge impact on the game at the end of the game – like the Rams and the Saints. This for me is the way I would like to see it spread, but I also say that this is the way I think it is.

To witness it:

“Listen carefully to the game, listen carefully to the referee,” said Pereira. “When he says, ‘After discussion’, it means that the video assistant has given officials the option to modify a call on the field, which avoids a challenge for either team. And if it says “After Expedited Review”, it means that this is an exam situation that the video assistant got involved in and gave them the information that made it possible to record the review. ‘exam. This is a big step for me. And I think when we look at the end of the season and see that the number of replay stoppages is going down, that’s the reason why.

At least the under-the-hood rerun review deadlines are no longer necessary. Pereira commends the NFL for putting a system in place to correct errors in real time.

“I think we’ll all be very, very surprised when the end of the season comes and we’ll hear that they’ve used this combination of fast-track review assistants and video assistants 700 times and a few times,” Pereira said.

Pereira’s Sky Judge concept: “I would love to have it on a rotating basis so that the eighth official is a working official and moves up to the eighth official position in the booth. ”

No one wants to hear that the national pastime is the hardest sport to officiate. But he is.

“I’ve always said that the fans are very invested in the game – either you are a huge fan of your team or let’s not ignore fantasy football,” said Pereira. “And I always said they bet, although now it’s becoming common and it wasn’t common before, but they still did.

“I had a guy call me once after we missed a game in Washington and hit a touchdown at the end of the game. The game was 24 points away, but there was an illegal forward pass on an interception and we didn’t apply it, which would have lost points. So as a result, it affected the Over / Under.

“So I had a fan call me and I wanted me to pay his bet that he lost. I said, ‘I have better things to do than pay your gambling debts.’ ”

Die-hard fans, then and now, would undoubtedly get the upper hand over huffed calls.

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