Several of you have forwarded to us the link to a Super Bowl week Radio Row interview of now-former NFL V.P. of officiating Mike Pereira, who sat down with Mike Felger and Tony Massarotti of 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston.
Among other things, Pereira talked about the renewed emphasis that was placed in the middle of the last decade on the rule regarding illegal contact with receivers. Pereira made it clear that Colts president Bill Polian, a long-time member of the Competition Committee, pushed the issue due to the perception/reality that Patriots defensive backs were manhandling Indianapolis receivers.
Pereira was candid regarding his belief that the change to the application of the rule made little sense. Specifically, he said that the notion that a flag would be thrown and a first down awarded regardless of whether the contact actually generates an advantage for the defensive team “didn’t seem logical.”
“It was difficult for us,” he said. “You always tried to officiate the game advantage-disadvantage. And so it didn’t seem logical . . . to me at the time. I probably wouldn’t be saying this if I didn’t have just four quarters left to go in my career. But it didn’t seem logical to me that you would take advantage-disadvantage out of the equation, that just a touch became a foul whether or not it had an affect or not.”
Pereira also explained that the spike in illegal-contact calls has since leveled out, with the spike in calls subsiding over time.
But his broader point is an eye-opener. Not only did Pereira make it clear that Polian pushed the “point of emphasis” through the Competition Committee, but Pereira also was refreshingly candid regarding his disagreement with the requirement that any contact with a receiver after five yards mandated a five-yard penalty and an automatic first down.