Damon Amendolara got right to it, his first question to Mike Pereira a simple one: Was the 2013 NFL season more poorly officiated than recent years?
“I think they made more high-profile mistakes than they’ve made in the past,” the former NFL vice president of officiating said. “That’s one element. So yes, I do think it was a semi-down year. Horribly-down year? No. But the high-profile misses – that’s the first part of it.
“The second part is that there’s more people talking about officiating now than ever before because of social media. So social media is kind of driving (a lot of the attention on officiating). And let’s face it: It’s not a positive. Officiating’s never been a positive. Everything about it denotes a negative. You throw a yellow flag to say that there’s been a foul. You throw a red flag to say I’m challenging what you’ve called. It’s really basically a negative, so the more attention, the more negative comments that you get made.
“That’s why I (ask), am I really good for the game? Or am I not so good for the game? I think I’m good for the game because I teach. I think maybe I could be bad for officiating because I bring so much attention to it.”
Pereira said he’s never been called out by an official or had an official tell him to back off.
“I think the feeling of the officials, which I think is appropriate, is they know they’re going to get criticized and they know they’re not going to be right all the time,” Pereira said. “So the question then becomes, who do you want to be criticizing you? And I don’t even consider my stuff criticism. I’m trying to teach and so I point out sometimes when they’re incorrect. But who do they want pointing that out? Somebody that doesn’t know the rules, or somebody that’s been through it and knows it and is credible?
“They live in glass houses,” Pereira continued. “They’re criticized all the time. I think almost universally they think I’ve done good for them because I more often point out when they’re right and why they’re right. I have, many times, cited the rule as being the reason why they made a call that people didn’t agree with, and the criticism gets deflected from them onto the rule, which is a positive for them.
“So when I see them, I’m sure that there’s a couple guys that (don’t like it) when I say I didn’t agree with (a) decision they made, but as a general rule, that’s not the case.”
Pereira, however, admitted that it’s bad for officiating – and bad for football – when he guesses, or says, how a call or review will go, only to have the head official go the exact opposite way.
“Consistency is the big issue,” he said. “That should concern people – and it concerns me. That’s why I’ve totally flipped on the way I feel abut replay and think that it ought to be taken internally into the New York office (so you) have a very small group of people (making) all the decisions. I think you’re getting inconsistent decisions now – and that’s not a good thing in replay. That’s not acceptable.”