When discussing earlier this week his team’s inability to win close games, Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb partially blamed the outcome of the most recent narrow loss on an officiating blunder on Sunday night against the Cowboys.
In the online-only bonus portion of his weekly “Official Review” segment on NFL Network’s Total Access, league V.P. of officiating Mike Pereira was candid regarding the decision via replay review not to move the ball after McNabb was stopped on a fourth-and-short quarterback sneak during the fourth quarter.
As Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth pointed out during the NBC broadcast, the fact that the play occurred near the midfield Eagles logo made it easy for the referee to identify the precise spot at which the ball should have been placed in advance of a new measurement, in order to determine whether McNabb actually had earned a first down.
“I think I’d move it,” Pereira told host Rich Eisen. (Not to be confused with “I think it moved.”)
Pereira explained that there was enough evidence on the video to “establish a point” at which the ball could have been placed, in relation to the beak on the bird that has been painted on the grass.
He also said that, without the logo present, the ball could not have been moved. The presence of that point of reference made it easier to re-spot the ball, and then to bring the sticks back out.
“It might have made a difference,” Pereira conceded.
And, given the specific circumstances at the time, that might have made a difference in the outcome of the game.
As the league continues to search for the new Mike Pereira, we’re hopeful that the next guy has the same willingness to acknowledge areas in which the men in black and white can do a better job.