In past years, one of our favorite segments during the season came every Wednesday night on NFL Network. As part of Total Access, former V.P. of officiating Mike Pereira faced the music as to various confusing or controversial calls from the prior weekend’s slate of games.
This year, Pereira is gone. But the segment will continue, with a trio of influential members of the league’s Competition Committee.
“[Falcons president] Rich McKay, [Colts president] Bill Polian or [Titans coach] Jeff Fisher will be on to talk about situations the Competition Committee deals with,” NFL Network spokesman Dennis Johnson told us via e-mail. “It is designed to serve as an opportunity to better educate fans about the NFL’s complex rules and address relevant officiating issues.”
Last week, McKay handled the segment. This week, with the Calvin Johnson rule at the top of everyone’s mind, Polian gets the honors. Next week, Fisher will handle the session, and the trio will thereafter rotate.
But here’s where things could get a little dicey. What if the Calvin Johnson rule had worked for or against the Colts on Sunday? Would Polian be able to set aside his partisan interests and discuss the matter with the league’s interests in mind? If it happens again in a game involving the Falcons or the Titans, will McKay or Fisher, respectively, be able to be objective if it’s their turn to talk about the big calls of the week?
Actually, Polian will be an interesting choice for Wednesday night, if the Calvin Johnson rule is addressed. The uncodified “second act” exception that was applied in February for the Saints (but not on Sunday for the Lions) put Polian’s Colts behind New Orleans by seven points instead of five.
So it will be interesting to see whether Polian takes the Colts-friendly approach or whether he comments on the matter with a bigger picture in mind.
And we also wonder whether his segment will be available for viewing on the Internet.