Mike Pereira: Why I'd "greatly consider" retiring replay reviews for one season

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Clark Judge

(EDITOR’S NOTE; To access the interview with Mike Pereira fast-forward to 37:52 of the following audio: https://www.spreaker.com/user/fullpresscoverage/eyetest-ep4)

Mike Pereira is almost as recognizable to NFL fans as head coaches.

As the FOX football rules analyst the past 11 years, the former head of the NFL’s officiating department is a football fan’s best friend. He anticipates penalties. He explains them when they’re called. And he deciphers NFL the rule book so precisely that we understand it.

So when Mike Pereira speaks, we listen. And he said something on this week’s “Eye Test for Two” podcast on fullpressaudio.com that was astounding. It happened when he was asked what rules change he might make if he were commissioner for a day, with Pereira dropping the bombshell after -- what else? -- further review.

“My number-one answer,” he said, “has always been the pass-interference penalty to make it a maximum 15-yard penalty. Because I sat through too many plays in New York where I was grading video, and I was the head of the department and I’d see a 45-yard pass-interference call against the defense. And I’d look at it, and it’s wrong. And so it becomes a 45-yard mistake.

“It’s also, without question, the hardest call on the field to make because everybody’s moving. Everybody’s moving: The ball. The defender. The offensive player. Is it catchable? Is it not? You’re moving, and I think it puts so much pressure on the officials because they know it’s a 40-yard penalty.

“So I would’ve said that.”

OK, so that’s not astounding. Pereira frequently has been quoted as favoring the college rule for pass interference. So nothing new there … until he continued. And that’s where he broke new ground.

“As I transition a little bit more to the fan,” he said, “I almost hate that we brought instant replay back into the game in 1999. I really do. We all know (Hall-of-Fame GM) George Young, and he knew what was going to happen. In 1999 when we brought it in he was the head of (the NFL’s) football operations. On his instant-replay manila folder instead of on the tab writing “Instant Replay,” he wrote in big letters across the front: ‘The Monster Grows.’

“And he’s right.

“We’re now looking to see if the ball is an inch short of the goal line when it’s ruled a touchdown, and we sit there and decipher that and decipher that … when no one in the world would’ve ever thought about stopping it to look at it. I mean, it would’ve gone on as a touchdown. And so it’s gone from correcting the obvious error to looking at an inch difference at the goal line or the line to gain.

“So I think it’s outgrown what its intent was. To me, I just would love to just get rid of it for a year and see what it looks like. Of course, I’d be out of a job probably. But I’m near the end anyway. So, for the good of the game, I’d say that’s something I’d greatly consider.”

Comments (3)
No. 1-2
brian wolf
brian wolf

I have always believed that the pass interference penalty should only be 15 yards ... It gives defenses a chance, while taking out the obvious point shaving and dubious "chances" for teams to come back during a game.

The NFL wont change it however ... after all, the games are about offense, fantasy statistics and gambling.
In their mind, never let defense get in the way of an exciting game ... haha


Do away with “illegal contact”, Defensive holding and pass interference ate enough penalties on DBs and change the rules on offensive holding. I don’t require the guess-perts to explain the NFL rules because all too often they not explaining the rules but their opinion. Try explaining why offensive holding is seldom flagged the same way.

NFL Stories