Though the NFL defended on game day the decision by referee Alberto Riveron to overturn a call on the field of an incomplete pass and award a touchdown to Jaguars receiver Mike Sims-Walker in a 37-17 win over Tennessee, V.P. of officiating Mike Pereira candidly admitted during his weekly “Official Review” segment on NFL Network’s Total Access that Riveron got it wrong.
“This is an incomplete pass,” Pereira said, “and [the referee] should have stayed with the call on the field.”
Pereira took blame for the situation, explaining that he sent a video to officials recently in an effort to clarify the rule regarding receptions made while a player is going to the ground. His goal was to focus on the “second act” in determining whether a reception had been made.
“I think I got the referee away from the thought of what is actually complete or incomplete,” Pereira said. (We admire Pereira both for leaning on the sword and for not calling out Riveron by name. Still, Riveron should have known how to interpret the rule — and if he had any doubt he should have said so.)
As host Rich Eisen pointed out during the segment, the issue has come up multiple times this year, starting with the Louis Murphy catch in the Week One game between the Chargers and the Raiders.
Said Pereira in distinguishing the Murphy play from two Week Two situations in which the league determined (we’re still not persuaded) that the passes had been completed, “I mean, this has gotten to be so
convoluted, this whole act of catching a pass when you’re going to the
ground, that it’s very difficult for people to grasp what is a catch
and what isn’t a catch.”
As it turns out, the people having difficulty grasping what is and isn’t a catch include one or more of the men whose Sunday best includes thick stripes of black and white.