Former NFL head of officiating Mike Pereira says referee Gene Steratore should have taken matters into his own hands to protect Panthers quarterback Cam Newton during last week’s game against the Broncos.
Pereira said this morning on PFT Live that it’s the official’s responsibility to get Newton medically checked after he took a brutal helmet-to-helmet hit from Denver’s Darian Stewart with 36 seconds left in the game.
“Certainly, I thought, ‘Oh my God, the league is going to be upset that this is what happens in game No. 1,'” Pereira said. “What disappointed me the most was how they basically went against protocol with 36 seconds to go. The shot Cam took from Stewart on the offsetting fouls, protocol has Cam out of the game, and it starts with the referees.”
Pereira said the officials should have told Newton to leave the field for at least one play to get checked out by the medical staff. Pereira thinks the officials may have worried that if they had taken Newton out at such a crucial time, they would have been determining the outcome of the game.
“Did they consider the fact that there was only 36 seconds to go and Carolina was behind and that factored into the decision? If that’s the case, then the league is speaking out of both sides of their mouth,” Pereira said.
Although the NFL initially released a statement that its protocols were followed properly, Pereira says that inside the league office there is some consternation about it.
“Internally, there were some really unhappy people in the league at how this turned out, no matter what they say,” he said.
People inside the league should be unhappy. The Newton situation was not handled properly.