Lost in last night’s Super Bowl was the fact that CBS officiating expert Mike Carey apparently got lost.
Carey contributed only once to the broadcast, in connection with an incomplete pass from Panthers quarterback Cam Newton to receiver Jerricho Cotchery that Carolina coach Ron Rivera challenged.
Before referee Clete Blakeman announced the outcome, Jim Nantz threw it to Carey for an explanation.
“I think this is a good challenge by Carolina,” Carey said. “The receiver goes up, he’s going the ground. So he must maintain control of the ball, which he does. If I was in the booth, I would reverse this to a catch.
“The ball never hits the ground. Even though there’s a bobble inside, maintains good control, up off the ground. He rolls over, keeps it off the ground at the end.”
But the ruling on the field was upheld, because the ball did hit the ground and because there was no indisputable visual evidence that the ruling on the field of the ball moving too much upon hitting the ground was incorrect.
After the play, Carey was never heard from again. Sure, there was only one more replay challenge (a tap-in putt that would have allowed Carey to quickly explain that Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning will be treated as down even with the slightest contact from a Carolina defender), but the game presented other opportunities for explanations from Carey, including an illegal blindside block during a punt return.
Likewise, multiple players had a pair of personal fouls, which Commissioner Roger Goodell has proposed would result in an ejection. Carey could have said something about the dilemma officials face when potentially sending a player to the showers prematurely.
Based on last week’s comments from CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus, it’s obvious that CBS is aware of, and sensitive to, the criticism of Carey. It seems that someone opted to protect Carey and CBS from further fodder for more criticism but putting him on ice for the rest of Super Bowl 50.
CBS has not yet responded to an email sent last night request comment on Carey’s disappearance from the broadcast. There’s at least a chance the disappearance will be something more than temporary, given his body of work.