Why has Mike Pereira been so quiet lately?
Pereira is the NFL’s former director of officiating, who was very vocal in the beginning of the preseason about the seriously negative impact replacement officials would potentially have on the game.
However, amid the constant rhetoric coming from the NFL in the last two weeks about how the officials are supposedly improving, Pereira has been silent. Or, has he been muted because he works for Fox?
Watch an NFL practice-game broadcast. While errors will be noted, there haven’t been any strong statements made by the broadcasters.
It’s an affront to the game that the NFL appears perfectly willing to enter the season with sub-standard officiating, and is trying to convince us with their statements that there has been improvement and things will be fine. Whoever says that certainly isn’t watching the same games we are. Talk about delusional.
How can commissioner Roger Goodell ever talk about the sanctity of the shield again if he allows even one game that counts be officiated by replacements? Donovan Briggans, the referee in the St. Louis-Dallas game Saturday night, had a 12 on his back and it was difficult to figure out whether that was his number or his age. A Google search of Briggans revealed that his officiating experience has been in football and women’s basketball in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, which is Division II. And he’s a referee. The Colorado School of Mines will really miss him.
The NFL simply hopes that most people won’t notice, and that isn’t a bad approach. Three friends I was with Saturday night didn’t know replacements were officiating games until I told them.
The lead negotiator of the NFL Referees Association, Michael Arnold, told Newsday, “The league has apparently predetermined that they’re going to keep us locked out until the third or fourth week of the regular season. Their strategy has always been lockout. We feel they’ve had a strategy from the beginning to lock us out.”
No revelation there since that was also the league’s strategy last year with the players and that lockout had been planned for at least two years.
According to Arnold, there haven’t been any talks since July 27, but he claims the officials won’t cave.
“They are strong and very united,” he said. “I’ve been with this group for 18 years, and they are more united and stronger in their position than I’ve ever seen them. … “They told us (last month) that if this thing was going to settle, it was going to be on their terms and they were not going to make any additional offers.”
Asked for his thoughts on the replacements, Arnold said, “There are a lot of knowledgeable football people who have commented on (them). We think their performance is self-explanatory.”
While there will always be bad calls by whoever is officiating, some of what’s occurred is laughable. And players are beginning to comment.
Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe tweeted, “The NFL really needs to kiss and make up with the refs. These replacements are horrible. Frankly, it’s kind of embarrassing. … I’m sure they’re trying hard, but they’re just not good. So many blown calls tonight in both directions.”
Chicago bears kicker Robbie Gould tweeted, “Watching the coaches get upset on @espn because the refs are clueless @nfl when did you stop caring about the integrity of the game?”
In a Sporting News survey of 146 players from 29 teams, 90.4 percent believe the games will be negatively impacted.
During their game against Arizona Thursday, The Tennessean reported that Titans defensive coordinator Jerry Gray was so frustrated he was heard referring to the officials as “The Three Stooges.”
Most troubling is that The Los Angeles Times reported there are some officials with ear pieces that are getting help with calls from league officials in the press box.
Ray Anderson, the league’s executive vice president of football operations, was quoted saying of the replacements, “Are they going to be Tom Brady? No. But they can be a Matt Hasselbeck.”
That’s an attitude of “settling” that should be abhorrent to anyone associated with the league. Teams and leagues normally try to hire the best people possible for jobs.
In this case, the NFL appears more than willing to sacrifice the integrity of the game and have those games affected by the egregious mistakes that will surely be made by officials that have no business being on an NFL field.
Just so they can show the officials who’s got the hammer.