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fordfixer
11-07-2008, 07:14 PM
For VP of officiating, ref troubles no laughing matterby Alex Marvez
Alex Marvez is a Senior NFL Writer for FOXSports.com. He's covered the NFL for 14 seasons as a beat writer and is the president of the Pro Football Writers of America.


http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/8765948?MSNHPHMA
Updated: November 7, 2008, 1:20 PM EST 147 comments add this RSS blog email Print NEW YORK CITY - This is how personally Mike Pereira takes shots against his craft.

After the recent debut of a Subway commercial that featured a referee saying he would throw a bogus flag to make amends for a blown call, Pereira stopped eating there.


He finds no humor in the cute Buffalo Wild Wings ad with officials intentionally sabotaging a game so patrons can keep eating and drinking.

And don't get the NFL's vice president of officiating started on the Ref Bop Bag.

The weeble-wobble doll comes inside a damning cardboard box. A smiling young girl is shown punching the frowning official wearing a black-and-white striped shirt. Printed on the box's side are quotes from an anonymous doctor claiming the toy "is a therapeutic aid for children to vent feelings of anger, rage and frustration. This enables children to process feelings in an appropriate rather than inappropriate manner."

"Appropriate?!" an appalled Pereira vented inside his office at NFL headquarters. "We're supposed to be the good guys trying to do the right thing."

Pereira has had some fun with the 40-inch bags, inflating several dozen as a humorous surprise to greet NFL executives attending a league meeting. But for Pereira, his profession's integrity is no laughing matter.

That has become a major issue in the first half of this season. Unlike NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Pereira admits public perception of the league's officiating has taken a Ray Lewis-sized hit.

The troubles began in Week 2 with referee Ed Hochuli's inadvertent whistle playing a major role in the outcome of Denver's 39-38 victory over San Diego. Hochuli then came under further scrutiny three weeks later on Monday Night Football when his crew missed a blatant facemask penalty committed against New Orleans running back Reggie Bush.

"I think the only difference this year to the previous year which I think everybody thought was good is that we had a couple high-profile mistakes by a high-profile referee that generated a lot of publicity," said Pereira, who continues to offer strong support of Hochuli. "Any time you have something like that happen, it's in the news and there's a pile-on effect."

Compounding the problem is a weekly stream of post-game criticism from players and coaches when replays reveal a possible or definitive error.

Officials also are feeling heat for not calling enough questionable hits that are deemed illegal following video review by Pereira's office. Such un-flagged blows have generated fines and even suspensions but mean little to the affected party after the fact.

Still, this doesn't mean these zebras should be stripped of their stripes.

As pointed out by Goodell last month during an exclusive interview with FOXSports.com, statistics show the officiating quality remains at the same high level as in previous years. Of the 18,118 plays through the first eight weeks of the season, Pereira said 97.6 percent were properly officiated. That marks only a .1 percent drop from this same point in 2007.

"We have approximately 155 plays a game, so you're talking about averaging three mistakes a game," Pereira said. "More so, they're calls we didn't make that we should have. That makes up probably two-thirds of that figure, but it's right on line (with previous seasons).

"I get reports from coaches every week and they're not any different than they've been in the past. I can't control people's perception. But I know one thing I'll take 98 percent of plays being officiated correctly."


That doesn't mean Pereira is completely satisfied.

"Our standard is 100 percent," said Pereira, a former NFL side judge who assumed his current league post in 2001. "That standard is not the same for clubs that have turnovers, incomplete passes and commit penalties. I accept that. That's the way officiating has always been."

Pereira, though, doesn't believe players and coaches should be adding even more pressure to what is already a demanding task. He strongly supports Goodell's crackdown on negative public comments about the officiating that has resulted in $20,000 fines to players such as Denver cornerback Dre' Bly and Miami linebacker Joey Porter.

"It's not acceptable," Pereira said. "We have 120 of the most professional people in the world working their tails off. To openly criticize this group which I think has the toughest job of anybody on the field I don't like it."

In turn, Pereira wants his crews to become less lenient with borderline on-field hits. Of the 139 fines levied by the NFL through the season's first six weeks, at least 62 stemmed from infractions that weren't called on the field.

"If you have any doubt, throw (the flag)," Pereira said. "I'm encouraging our guys to do that. That's where we need to be in terms of player safety."

On that front, Pereira expects the NFL to consider an offseason rule change that would outlaw the kind of peel-back block that Pittsburgh wide receiver Hines Ward delivered last month on Cincinnati linebacker Keith Rivers. The blow sidelined Rivers for the season with a broken jaw.

"There are vicious hits on defensive players by offensive guys," Pereira said. "Some of these peel-back blocks that are legal can be helmet-to-helmet. You can blindside a guy when he doesn't even know you're coming.

"I know this is a very sensitive issue with players and coaches. There's a feeling like, 'How can I play the game? Twenty years ago, they were hitting quarterbacks and wide receivers much worse than now and it was never illegal.' I understand that, but players are bigger and faster and the commissioner is absolutely, properly concerned with their safety ... It's a tough game and we want to try and protect everybody as much as we can."

Including those whose disparaging comments have made life more difficult for the NFL's referees.

"Wouldn't it be something if we came up to a linebacker and said, 'You never should have missed that tackle. That was ridiculous,' " said Pereira, tongue-in-cheek.

Sounds like the makings of a good commercial.

SanAntonioSteelerFan
11-07-2008, 07:39 PM
...
Pereira, though, doesn't believe players and coaches should be adding even more pressure to what is already a demanding task. He strongly supports Goodell's crackdown on negative public comments about the officiating that has resulted in $20,000 fines to players such as Denver cornerback Dre' Bly and Miami linebacker Joey Porter.

"It's not acceptable," Pereira said. "We have 120 of the most professional people in the world working their tails off. To openly criticize this group which I think has the toughest job of anybody on the field I don't like it." Bullhockey. Aren't these refs part friggin' time? Don't they have day jobs, and devote much less than 40 hrs a week? More like "temps" than "the most professional people in the world", IMO.

In turn, Pereira wants his crews to become less lenient with borderline on-field hits. Of the 139 fines levied by the NFL through the season's first six weeks, at least 62 stemmed from infractions that weren't called on the field.

"If you have any doubt, throw (the flag)," Pereira said. "I'm encouraging our guys to do that. That's where we need to be in terms of player safety." And these calls are challengable, right? No they're not, so what he is saying is we will intentionally make wrong calls that can materially affect the course of the game, and there will be no opportunity to reverse it.

On that front, Pereira expects the NFL to consider an offseason rule change that would outlaw the kind of peel-back block that Pittsburgh wide receiver Hines Ward delivered last month on Cincinnati linebacker Keith Rivers. The blow sidelined Rivers for the season with a broken jaw.

"There are vicious hits on defensive players by offensive guys," Pereira said. "Some of these peel-back blocks that are legal can be helmet-to-helmet. What is this guy smoking? Helmet-to-helmet hits can be legal? You can blindside a guy when he doesn't even know you're coming.

....

This is ridiculous. Next they'll fine someone for tackling with an attitude meant to demean. Oh, wait, sorry, that's what they did to #56 against JC last week...

I would suggest these owners cough up a few pennies and hire full-time refs, and as well have the calls reviewable and reversible for blatant suckhood. Just my two cents...

SteelTorch
11-07-2008, 07:52 PM
"It's not acceptable," Pereira said. "We have 120 of the most professional people in the world working their tails off. To openly criticize this group which I think has the toughest job of anybody on the field I don't like it."
Professional people??? What a joke. These guys are f#@*ing WEEKEND WARRIORS!!!


On that front, Pereira expects the NFL to consider an offseason rule change that would outlaw the kind of peel-back block that Pittsburgh wide receiver Hines Ward delivered last month on Cincinnati linebacker Keith Rivers. The blow sidelined Rivers for the season with a broken jaw.

"There are vicious hits on defensive players by offensive guys," Pereira said. "Some of these peel-back blocks that are legal can be helmet-to-helmet. You can blindside a guy when he doesn't even know you're coming.

Fine. Let's put dresses on the defenders now. What is this league coming to??? God, I despise this man. I can't wait until he and Goodell are gone.

RuthlessBurgher
11-07-2008, 09:58 PM
http://www.skate2stick.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/referee_blind_lg_nwm.gif

We understand that refs make mistakes. They're human, and therefore aren't perfect. That's not the issue. The main reason refs are being criticized more this year than in years past is because of something Perreira himself is telling them to do:


Pereira wants his crews to become less lenient with borderline on-field hits. Of the 139 fines levied by the NFL through the season's first six weeks, at least 62 stemmed from infractions that weren't called on the field.

"If you have any doubt, throw (the flag)," Pereira said. "I'm encouraging our guys to do that. That's where we need to be in terms of player safety."

Pretty soon, the standard NFL uniform will have to change to this:

http://www.bridalwave.tv/football.JPG

sd steel
11-08-2008, 12:50 AM
...
Pereira, though, doesn't believe players and coaches should be adding even more pressure to what is already a demanding task. He strongly supports Goodell's crackdown on negative public comments about the officiating that has resulted in $20,000 fines to players such as Denver cornerback Dre' Bly and Miami linebacker Joey Porter.

"It's not acceptable," Pereira said. "We have 120 of the most professional people in the world working their tails off. To openly criticize this group which I think has the toughest job of anybody on the field I don't like it." Bullhockey. Aren't these refs part friggin' time? Don't they have day jobs, and devote much less than 40 hrs a week? More like "temps" than "the most professional people in the world", IMO.

In turn, Pereira wants his crews to become less lenient with borderline on-field hits. Of the 139 fines levied by the NFL through the season's first six weeks, at least 62 stemmed from infractions that weren't called on the field.

"If you have any doubt, throw (the flag)," Pereira said. "I'm encouraging our guys to do that. That's where we need to be in terms of player safety." And these calls are challengable, right? No they're not, so what he is saying is we will intentionally make wrong calls that can materially affect the course of the game, and there will be no opportunity to reverse it.

On that front, Pereira expects the NFL to consider an offseason rule change that would outlaw the kind of peel-back block that Pittsburgh wide receiver Hines Ward delivered last month on Cincinnati linebacker Keith Rivers. The blow sidelined Rivers for the season with a broken jaw.

"There are vicious hits on defensive players by offensive guys," Pereira said. "Some of these peel-back blocks that are legal can be helmet-to-helmet. What is this guy smoking? Helmet-to-helmet hits can be legal? You can blindside a guy when he doesn't even know you're coming.

....

This is ridiculous. Next they'll fine someone for tackling with an attitude meant to demean. Oh, wait, sorry, that's what they did to #56 against JC last week...

I would suggest these owners cough up a few pennies and hire full-time refs, and as well have the calls reviewable and reversible for blatant suckhood. Just my two cents...




They are not weekend warriors. They are fulltime when the season is on, and they get paid as well as any fulltime employee you know. They are like teachers, they get a summer break. This has nothing to do with the refs and everything to do with Goodell and trying to protect players from getting injured. The players don't seem to care, but I am guessing Goodell is trying to protect the sport, not now, but 10 years from now, when todays players will be tomorrows cripples and collecting more compensation from the NFL.

The union wasn't strong enough to get the old NFL players compensated, but with the way employment laws are today, the NFL will be forced to pay for long term health care and for injuries sustained today, some of the most costly and hardest to disprove being brain injuries from concussions and such.

This has nothing to do with players safety and everything to do with the NFL's future profits. If the NFL will be able to prove in years to come that they did their best to ensure the safety of all players they might not be as liable for the lifetime care that many players will claim to need. But with the way the laws are today and the way the lawyers are today, anyone who played in the NFL will have an opportunity to sue them in the years to come. You won't hear about the guys who were successful in life after the NFL because they will have the best healthcare and more than enough money to pay for it, but the guys who spend like fools and don't plan for the future will be banging on the NFL's door for more money IMO, and the lawyers of today will make that happen.

Djfan
11-08-2008, 03:08 AM
This is just sick. I miss the days when men were men, and you lived with your choices.

Don't want to get hurt? Play tennis.

RuthlessBurgher
11-08-2008, 10:36 AM
This is just sick. I miss the days when men were men, and you lived with your choices.

Don't want to get hurt? Play tennis.

They are not immune either:

http://www.sportsinjuryhandbook.com/images/tih_cover_sm.jpg

:lol:

SanAntonioSteelerFan
11-08-2008, 01:52 PM
...
Pereira, though, doesn't believe players and coaches should be adding even more pressure to what is already a demanding task. He strongly supports Goodell's crackdown on negative public comments about the officiating that has resulted in $20,000 fines to players such as Denver cornerback Dre' Bly and Miami linebacker Joey Porter.

"It's not acceptable," Pereira said. "We have 120 of the most professional people in the world working their tails off. To openly criticize this group which I think has the toughest job of anybody on the field I don't like it." Bullhockey. Aren't these refs part friggin' time? Don't they have day jobs, and devote much less than 40 hrs a week? More like "temps" than "the most professional people in the world", IMO.

In turn, Pereira wants his crews to become less lenient with borderline on-field hits. Of the 139 fines levied by the NFL through the season's first six weeks, at least 62 stemmed from infractions that weren't called on the field.

"If you have any doubt, throw (the flag)," Pereira said. "I'm encouraging our guys to do that. That's where we need to be in terms of player safety." And these calls are challengable, right? No they're not, so what he is saying is we will intentionally make wrong calls that can materially affect the course of the game, and there will be no opportunity to reverse it.

On that front, Pereira expects the NFL to consider an offseason rule change that would outlaw the kind of peel-back block that Pittsburgh wide receiver Hines Ward delivered last month on Cincinnati linebacker Keith Rivers. The blow sidelined Rivers for the season with a broken jaw.

"There are vicious hits on defensive players by offensive guys," Pereira said. "Some of these peel-back blocks that are legal can be helmet-to-helmet. What is this guy smoking? Helmet-to-helmet hits can be legal? You can blindside a guy when he doesn't even know you're coming.

....

This is ridiculous. Next they'll fine someone for tackling with an attitude meant to demean. Oh, wait, sorry, that's what they did to #56 against JC last week...

I would suggest these owners cough up a few pennies and hire full-time refs, and as well have the calls reviewable and reversible for blatant suckhood. Just my two cents...




They are not weekend warriors. They are fulltime when the season is on, and they get paid as well as any fulltime employee you know. They are like teachers, they get a summer break. This has nothing to do with the refs and everything to do with Goodell and trying to protect players from getting injured. The players don't seem to care, but I am guessing Goodell is trying to protect the sport, not now, but 10 years from now, when todays players will be tomorrows cripples and collecting more compensation from the NFL.

The union wasn't strong enough to get the old NFL players compensated, but with the way employment laws are today, the NFL will be forced to pay for long term health care and for injuries sustained today, some of the most costly and hardest to disprove being brain injuries from concussions and such.

This has nothing to do with players safety and everything to do with the NFL's future profits. If the NFL will be able to prove in years to come that they did their best to ensure the safety of all players they might not be as liable for the lifetime care that many players will claim to need. But with the way the laws are today and the way the lawyers are today, anyone who played in the NFL will have an opportunity to sue them in the years to come. You won't hear about the guys who were successful in life after the NFL because they will have the best healthcare and more than enough money to pay for it, but the guys who spend like fools and don't plan for the future will be banging on the NFL's door for more money IMO, and the lawyers of today will make that happen.

:Agree Hey SD Steel - I think you have a great point, this probably is all posturing for protection against future lawsuits. You have a Machiavellian mind!

I think though that the refs in the NFL actually may be part time - see article below.



************************************************** ***************
NFL officials squander credibility
By John Harris
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, October 13, 2008


They say never send a boy to do a man's job, but that's precisely what the NFL does, week after excruciating week.

The NFL is a full-time job for players and coaches. For officials, it's a part-time gig, a chance to earn extra cash on weekends. All of which makes officials targets for criticism.

"There's a fine balance between doing what's right and overstepping your boundaries, but we've just got to find that place where we can all get along," Steelers inside linebacker and defensive captain James Farrior said last week.

"If they make a bad call that's affecting the outcome of a game, and it's the wrong call, I think that they should be held accountable," Farrior said. "I feel like they should be held to the same standards. We get fined for stuff we do wrong. I think they should get fined."

With officials directly affecting the outcome of games, even the likes of the decorated Ed Hochuli, who has been the referee in two Super Bowls, hasn't been immune from criticism. Wall Street is having a better year than Hochuli.

In two of the first five weeks, Hochuli's officiating crew made bad calls. Both times, the team that the calls went against lost. In the first instance, the league admitted Hochuli's mistake in the San Diego Chargers' loss to the Denver Broncos.

Last Monday night, Hochuli's crew made a terrible call in the Minnesota-New Orleans game that went against the Saints. Reggie Bush's fumble was recovered by the Vikings, but replays showed that a facemask penalty was missed.

It gets worse. Saints coach Sean Payton was forced to use a challenge to correct what the officials called a completed pass to Vikings receiver Bernard Berrian.

On another play, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson appeared to fumble. The Saints recovered, but the play was blown dead because the ruling on the field was that Peterson's knee touched the ground before he fumbled. Replays showed Peterson losing the ball before being brought down.

I asked Farrior in the wake of a $20,000 fine levied against Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison for criticizing officials if he was willing to comment about officiating in general. Upon being reminded of the potential consequences in speaking about the performance of officials, Farrior, who was recently fined $7,500 by the league for making an obscene gesture to Cleveland Browns fans, agreed to speak anyway.

"I feel like the rules lean more on us," Farrior said. "When we break the rules, we gotta pay tougher consequences. They (officials) just try to do better next week."

It doesn't help the NFL's credibility that Hochuli, a prominent Arizona attorney, isn't employed by the league full time. NFL officials are the only referees among the major sports leagues with part-time status. It also doesn't help the league's credibility when those part-time officials make bad calls affecting the outcome of games.

John Harris can be reached at jharris@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.




Images and text copyright 2008 by The Tribune-Review Publishing Co.
Reproduction or reuse prohibited without written consent from PghTrib.com
************************************************** *************

sd steel
11-08-2008, 03:20 PM
I read an article on Ed Hercules as well and he lives here in Socal in the off season. they are fulltime for about 20 weeks a year if I am not mistaken, and make between $70K and $120K per season. He works in his law firm the rest of the year.