Former Vice President of Officiating Mike Pereira Says the Integrity of the NFL is In Question With Replacement OfficialsAugust 7, 2012 – 11:00 am by Chris Fedor
Sunday night was the first preseason game in the NFL of the 2012. It marked the return of the pigskin and it also means regular season football is only about one month away. It was also the first game with replacement officials. It didn’t go very well. The lead official got the coin toss wrong! Hopefully Sunday night showed the league that referees have a very difficult job and they need to find a way to bring the professionals back. The game is so fast, there are so many different rules changes that have come down recently and the game was moving too fast for the replacement officials on Sunday night and that was just a preseason game. Imagine what will happen in the regular season.
Mike Pereira joined Fox Sports Radio with Petros and Money to talk about how tough it is to be an official right now with all the rules changes, if he thinks there is a better way to do things with officials as opposed to having live bodies making judgment calls, on the officials being on strike and his feelings on the strike.
How tough it is to be an official right now with all the rules changes:
“It’s nearly impossible and I think the one thing that has made it so tough is you’re now being asked to officiate areas of the game that you were never asked to officiate before when you were developing. You never worried about hits on defenseless players and those types of things, you were more focused on passes being complete or incomplete. Now with this emphasis you have a whole ‘nother judgment that you’re trying to make in real time and you’re trying make a judgment in one thirty-sixth of a second as to whether or not you had shoulder contact to the head or forearm contact to the head and it’s nearly impossible. The speed of the game is just unbelievable and the 120 or so regular officials have had a hard time adjusting this and have made mistakes and that’s certainly more overwhelming than the group of replacements they are going to have on the field from this point on.”
If he thinks there is a better way to do things with officials as opposed to having live bodies making judgment calls:
“No I don’t think there is because I think there’s always going to be human judgment involved and you have to have people on the field just to maintain order. I don’t think you can get away from that and I don’t think you want to get away from that. In my mind right now technology has gone about as far as it should go and I do think it is a game played by players and coached by coaches and it’s a people’s game. I just don’t think you want to take the human element out of the game, at least totally out of the game in any one of those elements.”
On the referees being on strike and why the NFL can’t just give in to the demands:
“That’s the whole issue here. This is the second time we’ve been through this now when you go back to 2001 and we locked out the officials. That’s when I was running the program. This, to me, is not huge. The thing that has made it a little different is that the pension is involved and they got a pension starting in 1974 which is a defined pension and everybody understands that defined pension, when the economy goes down the way it is, it’s difficult to and the risk is on the company that provides the defined benefits but I look at this and say the officials have kind of made an offer to go to the 401K with all the new guys that come in but the league has balked at that. And I understand on the pension thing that when you read that the Green Bay Packers make 42.7 million dollars last year, up 26 million dollars from the year before, it’s kind of difficult. The money is not great. From what I’m basically understanding it’s like 100,000 dollars per club, which is not a great amount of money. I think both sides have to agree to make moves a little bit in my opinion. I do think the officials probably have to come off of what they’re asking for and the league needs to up their offer more but I don’t think if you’re the league that you can say, with a straight face, that with guys who have zero experience, that have never worked this speed, and are not even Division I college football officials at this point, you cannot with a straight face say the integrity of the game is not in question and that the players, their player safety, is also in question here. That’s just the way it is with this group.”
You should just give them the ‘Come On Man’ right now:
“I’d like to give him the come on man. I don’t have a horse in this race. I don’t work for the league anymore and I don’t manage the officials anymore. I’ve almost transitioned more to a fan and I enjoy being in the studios watching the game for Fox or when I get the opportunity to go to the game but when I’m there and I’m watching I just want to know that for the money that people invest to go to the games at the stadium or whatever I’d like to know that it’s being played by the best players, that it’s being coached by the best coaches and it’s being officiated by the best 120 guys regardless of what I think of them. Nobody really likes officials, they either tolerate them or they dislike them, but the fact is I just want the best out there and the league can’t say that now and I think that’s a sad reflection of the way things are.”