In acknowledging the blatant blunder made by the officials working Sunday night’s Steelers-Ravens game, V.P. of officiating Mike Pereira supported our call for full-time officials.
“It was chaos,” Pereira said during his “Official Review” segment on NFL Network’s Total Access. “It was chaos to the nth degree. I
understand why they missed it. It’s no excuse. So much happened on the
In other words, “Here’s my excuse. It’s no excuse. But here’s my excuse.”
Here’s what we said on the importance of full-time officials to such situations, in the Week 12 Morning Aftermath: “By requiring the officials to devote their full professional time and
attention to perfecting their craft, the league could devise offseason
simulations in which officials are forced to apply the rules during
times of chaos, such as the final seconds of a game where the clock is
ticking and one team is trying to get off a final play. With increased repetitions, the officials’ ability to think clearly in such circumstances necessarily would improve.”
Though we’ve never previously believed that hiring full-time officials would do anything other than increase the perception of a commitment to 100-percent accuracy, the Sunday night spotting gaffe represents one (and possibly the only) circumstance in which full-time access to the officials could help to prepare them in advance for maintaining a cool head amid the chaos.
For the men who were working Sunday night’s game, it was probably the only time this season — and for some of them possibly the first time ever — that they were forced to scan their brains with the speed and precision of a computer for all rules that might apply. And they failed.
If they were constantly exposed to simulated chaos from February to July of each year, we’ve got a feeling that someone other than Al Michaels (and NBCSports.com G.M. Rick Cordella) would have caught the error as it was happening.