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Pereira says ref didn’t follow proper protocol after hit on Cam Newton

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 8:  Quarterback Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers addresses the media following their 21-20 loss to the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field Field at Mile High on September 8, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) Getty Images

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.

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66 Responses to “Pereira says ref didn’t follow proper protocol after hit on Cam Newton”
  1. pistolpeteweb says: Sep 15, 2016 8:36 AM

    The League Only Cares About Money $$$

    They didn’t pull him to the sidelines because they were worried about the anticipated big finish. Vegas was happy. that’s all that matters.

  2. kepickle says: Sep 15, 2016 8:38 AM

    Being unhappy and doing. Something about it is two different things but I love how the illega hits to the head is being pushed aside NB to say Cam should have been removed kind of what the SB champion Denver wanted

  3. joetoronto says: Sep 15, 2016 8:39 AM

    The NFL better watch out, no integrity means no future.

  4. upper23 says: Sep 15, 2016 8:40 AM

    Sorry, the refs have enough to do. Being an EMT should not be one of them. They have independent medical people, who’s only job is to monitor that stuff. Thats where the responsibility should lie. Not some lawyer who sidelines as an official.

  5. lscottman3 says: Sep 15, 2016 8:42 AM

    so Pereira is talking with coughlin?

    who else in the league office has integrity?

    certainly not the other godell appointees who surely do not want to end up being kensiled.

  6. chesswhileyouplaycheckers says: Sep 15, 2016 8:46 AM

    Why not create an official’s timeout for suspected head injuries that does not require the plyer being checked to sit out the next play if he checks out okay? League shouldn’t mind that, they can slam in 3-5 commercials for DFS during it.

  7. nflfan4now says: Sep 15, 2016 8:47 AM

    Maybe they should think of a way in the final 2 minutes to be checked out with a referee’s time out so he wouldn’t have to leave the game. Then they wouldn’t be penalized form losing him and the dirty head hunters team wouldn’t gfain an advantage.

  8. bigbluedeadhead says: Sep 15, 2016 8:51 AM

    The protocol should include a free timeout called by refs that doesn’t require the hit player to miss a play if he is medically cleared quickly.

  9. luckyforus says: Sep 15, 2016 8:52 AM

    The league includes the referees, coaches, and players.

    Nobody told Newton to be checked including Newton himself, they are all to be blamed. It’s about winning and money, and that goes for the owners, coaches and players.

    People talk about the owner’s wanting every last dime, but the players do too.

  10. ReligionIsForIdiots says: Sep 15, 2016 8:57 AM

    What does this guy know?

  11. dlb4180 says: Sep 15, 2016 8:57 AM

    So if I hit the opposing qb in the head with 36 seconds left he has to leave the game? Sign me up every time. That sounds like a bad and unfair president to set.

  12. kissbillsrings says: Sep 15, 2016 8:57 AM

    The REFS blew it by not controlling all the illegal shots Denvers Dirty D was being allowed to inflict… Their NO CALLS allowed Denver to keep trying to knock Cam out of the game & it was OBVIOUS that’s what they were trying to do…..
    & throwing that flag for the O lineman jumping up & down after Carolina scored just shows you how out of sync the REFS really are as opposed to what really matters in preventing/protecting integrity!!!

  13. bucsorbust says: Sep 15, 2016 8:59 AM

    Let’s be clear here. It was the responsibility of the refs to enforce the protocol, and it was also the responsibility of the docs and Panthers sideline to know the protocol as well–and should have said something.

  14. bsizemore68 says: Sep 15, 2016 8:59 AM

    Leadership is lacking at the NFL front office, however with all the teams worth billions, or close to it only one thing matters, its how much money can we make, players and fans can go kiss there rear end, money is all they care about. As far as hits to the head, that can be stop with rules that work, of course that takes leadership. Bill

  15. parilli15 says: Sep 15, 2016 9:03 AM

    Like so much the NFL does under Goodell these days, the league totally screwed up the creation of the Concussion Protocol. As written, it encourages cheap shots, especially in the final minutes. There has to be a punitive aspect to the team causing the protocol to be initiated otherwise why not try to kill the quarterback (or top receiver as in the Edelman case in Super Bowl 49). There’s little down side. The player delivering the illegal hit ought to be sidelined for the rest of the possession. And how about letting the offense pick one other defensive player to sit out as well. Under that scenario I imagine Denver would quickly figure out how to tackle without trying to literally knock out other team’s top players.

  16. charliecharger says: Sep 15, 2016 9:07 AM

    I think the refs handles it perfectly and Newton checked out 100% ok by the doctors. However, they are constantly tweaking the rules. I think they should adjust the rules to allow for an official time-out in the last few minutes of a game, to allow a QB to get a medical clearance, and then return without having to miss a crucial play. But the end result, in this case, turned out to be a good decision by the refs. Cam didn’t have any head injuries, and the players determined the outcome of the game. Good job by the NFL on this one. Pereira has to say something controversial or nobody will want to listen to him. We love controversy. Keeps it interesting, and allows us to blow off some steam.

  17. guitarkevin says: Sep 15, 2016 9:07 AM

    The NFL is in a tough spot. What is going to stop defenses from hitting a QB in the head if they are on a potential game winning drive??? A fine??? LOL

    A couple ideas come to mind.

    Do like hockey and sit the defender out for the rest of the opposing offense’s drive and force the defense to go with 10 players.

    Do like like soccer and yellow flag the defender and then on the second offense (same game or not) sit out next game.

    Increase the fine to exceed that of a game check.

  18. 3yardsndust says: Sep 15, 2016 9:09 AM

    The NFL doesn’t care at all about the players, no matter what they say.

  19. clashpoint says: Sep 15, 2016 9:10 AM

    The refs didn’t even call penalties on those hits to the head and you expect them to call medical personnel about those hits to the head?

  20. pillowporkers says: Sep 15, 2016 9:11 AM

    You can rip on these officials but I would’ve done the same thing if I was those officials. I’m not taking out a team’s start player with 36 seconds left.

  21. Staticphear says: Sep 15, 2016 9:12 AM

    This why Mike Pereira is a former ref. He is wrong alot.

  22. thoughtlessintheextreme says: Sep 15, 2016 9:12 AM

    Moral of the story: Up by less than a touchdown in the final minute, take the cheap shot and pay the fine.

  23. raiderrob21 says: Sep 15, 2016 9:14 AM

    They should be more worries about the other 3 hits Cam took helmet to helmet that weren’t flagged.

  24. Mo Pro Babble says: Sep 15, 2016 9:14 AM

    Sounds like the blueprint to get a QB off the field for 2 minute situations. Would you take a 15 yarder to get the starting QB out for a play in a critical situation?

    Apparently part of the Denver playbook this year. The unanticipated bonus is that the refs only call 3rd or 4th hit to the head,if Denver is on Defense that is.

    With each passing day Framegate becomes more clear.

  25. fsstnotch says: Sep 15, 2016 9:22 AM

    So basically what he is saying is… If you are playing a team who is driving down the field for a last minute game winning FG… cheap shot their QB. He gets removed via “protocol” and the team is more likely to win! The team will silently pickup the $20k fine and not even bat an eye. Winning is winning right!

  26. mmack66 says: Sep 15, 2016 9:23 AM

    If the league cared about it they wouldn’t let the refs purposefully look the other way when the Broncos are spearing players in the head.

  27. thebirdofprey says: Sep 15, 2016 9:23 AM

    Good for Mike Pereira for pointing this out, I have always thought he still acted like a company man and made obvious excuses for NFL and referees on blown calls.

    This is him calling it has he sees it and saying someone needs to be accountable. Hopefully this is something that continues.

  28. waynefontesismyfather says: Sep 15, 2016 9:29 AM

    You know, I really have to give Steratore a pass on this for not flagging the plays, etc. He is probably like most of us out there, tired or Newton’s antics and if the guy got knocked out for the season we’d all be thankful for it.

    What ref number is Steratore? I want to buy his ref jersey.

  29. bucsorbust says: Sep 15, 2016 9:34 AM

    True, looks like the refs ignored the protocol they were responsible for enforcing, but don’t forget the docs and the Panthers sideline also had some responsibilities too.

  30. truthprofessor says: Sep 15, 2016 9:37 AM

    Careful, Mike. Roger will rough you up.

  31. roadtrip3500 says: Sep 15, 2016 9:39 AM

    Any other player who is down on all fours and can’t get it together is a stoppage in play for the medical staff to come get him, head-hit or not. I’m with Pereira on this… and not only should Steratore have done something, Ron Rivera also had the power to pull Cam for a play but didn’t, claiming his medical staff was not concerned.

    I understand Cam takes off and runs more than most QBs, and is almost the size of a tight end… but this was not a scramble for yardage or a designed QB-draw. He was looking to avoid the hit that came anyway (thus the intentional grounding call) and was subject to the QB protection rules. I also agree with Pereira that Steratore was afraid of being a factor in the outcome if he pulled Cam at that point.

  32. tonebones says: Sep 15, 2016 9:40 AM

    I think the refs got it right. Cam Newton plays the position different than all the other QBs, so the refs are going to call the game accordingly. Steve Young played the same way and got similar treatment.

  33. nflfan22 says: Sep 15, 2016 9:44 AM

    The problem is if you take Cam out at that point in the game, even for just a play, Carolina has no chance. Why wouldn’t a defensive player take a head shot there? 15 yards is a fair trade if you are trying to secure a win at the end of the game. The fine? Please… the win is more important.

    As a ref, I wouldn’t want to reward Denver for taking a cheap shot by making Cam go to the bench there unless it is absolutely clear that he can’t continue.

    Head shots need to have harsher consequences. That’s how you fix this.

  34. beavertonsteve says: Sep 15, 2016 9:50 AM

    The NFL doesn’t care at all about the players, no matter what they say
    ——
    The players don’t care about other players either. They realize that a helmet to helmet hit is worth it if it forces a starting QB into the locker room for a concussion exam.

    They won’t even take themselves off the field after hits like that. Their teammates don’t call the trainers out to look at them because they know they’ll be taken off the field for an exam.

    Case Keenum couldn’t even get his balance last year and he admitted he forced himself to stand up so he could stay in the game and not lose his job. Does that sound like someone who cares about the life impacts of head trauma?

  35. wend28 says: Sep 15, 2016 9:52 AM

    It kills me that the NFL is far more concerned about whether or not Cam should have been taken out over versus what led to the problem in the first place. And that’s the illegal shots to the head that Cam kept taking. Love him or hate, no player should be subjected to that. Should have been flags thrown and penalties enforced well before that.

  36. mongo3401 says: Sep 15, 2016 9:53 AM

    The betting lines are there for good reason. If anyone believes a lot of refs are not in some way coneecred to the betting then you are naive

  37. stealthjunk says: Sep 15, 2016 9:57 AM

    Yes, let’s blame the officials and the NFL! Clearly the owners and Roger Goodell sitting thousands of miles away decided to keep Cam in the game!! Who cares that 52 other Carolina players, 20 Carolina coaches, 5 Carolina trainers, and hundreds of others standing on the sideline cheering for Cam sat on their thumbs watching the whole thing with front row seats instead of doing something about it. Their hands are clearly clean!

  38. spammerscrammer says: Sep 15, 2016 10:02 AM

    While I agree the refs did not handle the situation properly, tilting so heavily the outcome of the game in favor of the offending team is a valid concern. Some adjustments to the rules are due.
    This “offsettings penalty” rule really needs to be rethought. In this situation it gave the Broncos a free license to take out the opposing quarterback in a critical moment of the game.
    If protecting players is really a priority, then the rule should be that these egregious penalties take precedence.
    So the 15 yd penalty should have stuck. I would also have the player committing the penalty sit out two or three plays.
    In the case of the quarterback getting illegally hit, I would suspend play to give the team on offense all the time they need to check out the player and if possible get him or his replacement to go again.
    They do this in boxing for low blows. Why can’t they do it in football?
    In summary, I believe that aligning the rules with protecting the players, and the interest in a fair outcome of the game is the best way to prevent these situations in the future.

  39. agent7x6 says: Sep 15, 2016 10:03 AM

    Perhaps if Steratore had flagged some of the earlier hits to the head, he would have set the proper tone of play and this incident wouldn’t have happened.

  40. pastabelly says: Sep 15, 2016 10:25 AM

    Until the NFL starts acting more like the NHL with match penalties and suspensions for head shots, we’ll keep seeing them. We’ll also keep seeing the league office pretend that this isn’t a problem and look the other way. They’re playing with fire here.

  41. gauchosporlife says: Sep 15, 2016 10:42 AM

    It’s football, that’s the nature of the game.

  42. tonebones says: Sep 15, 2016 10:43 AM

    pastabelly says:
    Sep 15, 2016 10:25 AM

    Until the NFL starts acting more like the NHL with match penalties and suspensions for head shots, we’ll keep seeing them. We’ll also keep seeing the league office pretend that this isn’t a problem and look the other way. They’re playing with fire here.
    ******************************
    Uh, the NFL start acting more like the NHL? Don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen. How many Americans watch the NHL compared to the NFL?

  43. imodan says: Sep 15, 2016 10:45 AM

    Mike Pereira, the same goons who knocked on the door of Charlie Sly’s parents home will surely be paying you a visit soon to make sure you “recant” your statement. Otherwise refresh the old resume bud because you’re going to be looking for work soon.

  44. Mo Pro Babble says: Sep 15, 2016 10:50 AM

    They will throw out a player for 2 taunting penalties, no matter how innocuous. Nice discretion to have if you want to make sure one team never loses while you’re wearing the
    white hat. Looking at you Muscles.

    But potentially career ending headshots? Nah, buck up you sissies! You’ll take your brain damage and LIKE it!

  45. milehighmagik7 says: Sep 15, 2016 11:15 AM

    Please. Denver didbt try or need to take Cam oyt of the game. Yes the 1st half Cam had a good gane but in the 2nd they made adjustments and once again shut him down. The hits on the final drive did not determine the outcome. You could see in the first half that when Cam got hit in any matter he did not like it and was rattled so that’s what Denver did. Continue to pressure him and hit him hard cause he doesn’t ge couldnt handle it. The plan was not to intentionally hit him in the head although that’s you excuse cause of you dislike for a champion. It’s funny how once your on top the haters come out in swarms against them. So teams like Denver, NE, Panthers, Seattle, GB all numerous haters but no one talks about your teams cause let’s face it their just not that good and that infuriates you. Your response will be cause your teams are clean and dont play dirty but the truth is their just bad and bo one really cares about them. So for all the really good teams out there that I mentioned cheers we are at the pinnacle looking down at the rubbish

  46. drakost says: Sep 15, 2016 11:16 AM

    I’ve expressed my view already about the hits Newton takes. As far as everyone crying about head trauma here is a fun fact. All football players suffer brain injuries. All football players will eventually have symptoms of cte. You brain floats in liquid. ANY hit can and does over time cause mental deficiencies. Don’t believe me do so research for yourself.

  47. statlaw says: Sep 15, 2016 11:18 AM

    Refs take the reigning MVP out for a play with 36 seconds left? Geez, what an incentive to get a penalty. I’d hit Brady in the helmet for that result.

  48. 12brichandfamous says: Sep 15, 2016 11:24 AM

    I actually agree that a blow to the head earns an automatic time out to check the player.

    This helps the offense and penalizes the defense for their action. The time out occurs automatically whether a flag is thrown or not.

  49. mmack66 says: Sep 15, 2016 11:24 AM

    milehighmagik7 says:
    Sep 15, 2016 11:15 AM

    Please. Denver didbt try or need to take Cam oyt of the game. Yes the 1st half Cam had a good gane but in the 2nd they made adjustments and once again shut him down.
    ——————–

    Yeah, the refs put their Broncos blinders on.

    The shame of it all is that the Broncos are probably good enough to win without cheating and playing dirty.

    Oh wait. No, they aren’t.

    Every Super Bowl win they have had is tainted.

    The Bronco Way***

  50. nhpats says: Sep 15, 2016 11:25 AM

    guitarkevin says:
    Sep 15, 2016 9:07 AM
    The NFL is in a tough spot. What is going to stop defenses from hitting a QB in the head if they are on a potential game winning drive??? A fine??? LOL

    A couple ideas come to mind.

    Do like hockey and sit the defender out for the rest of the opposing offense’s drive and force the defense to go with 10 players.

    Do like like soccer and yellow flag the defender and then on the second offense (same game or not) sit out next game.

    Increase the fine to exceed that of a game check.

    —————

    They already instituted the “yellow flag” thing. Two personal fouls and the player is out of the game.

  51. mark0226 says: Sep 15, 2016 11:37 AM

    With less than 2 minutes in the half/game, make it an official timeout like any injury timeout, so the medical staff can check him out and not take him out of the game unless there is a problem. The officials aren’t the only ones that don’t want critical (highly paid) skill players taken out of the game at critical points in the game.

  52. Mo Pro Babble says: Sep 15, 2016 11:55 AM

    agent7x6 says:
    Sep 15, 2016 10:03 AM
    Perhaps if Steratore had flagged some of the earlier hits to the head, he would have set the proper tone of play and this incident wouldn’t have happened.

    Absolutely. But the NFL needed to make sure that the Broncos appeared to be a team that could win w/o Manning to prove they didn’t look the other way on the HGH thingy.
    Except for a missed FG, it almost blew up in their faces.

  53. whatjusthapped says: Sep 15, 2016 12:05 PM

    If you are going to pull Cam at that point, you need a new rule in the NFL that takes the defensive back off the field also. Otherwise, everyone will be teeing off at the QB’s head to take him out of the game and force them to use their second string QB.

  54. idiedpretty says: Sep 15, 2016 12:08 PM

    Question. Will Camera’s new self-promotional dance feature a helmet to helmet hit? Coool!

  55. bkostela says: Sep 15, 2016 12:09 PM

    I think a fair compromise to the rule would be that the penalized player be removed from the game while the affected player is being evaluated, however long that takes. It could be one play or the rest of the game, or not at all (if no evaluation is deemed necessary). Normal fines and suspensions, if appropriate, would follow during the week.

  56. jonwill57 says: Sep 15, 2016 12:09 PM

    Not surprising considering how they didn’t call penalties on 4 of the other helmet to helmet hits.

  57. granadafan says: Sep 15, 2016 12:18 PM

    If the league is going to make the QB sit out a play or two, there has to be a more severe penalty for the defense other than just a 15 yard penalty. An ejection may not even be enough as teams will just send some scrub in to hit the QBs head. Yeah, he’ll be fined, but it’ll be paid for by the team.

  58. kemp13 says: Sep 15, 2016 12:24 PM

    If they had taken Newton out to check his head, that would have become the story, and the Carolina whiners would have been crying that the only reason they lost is because Newton wasn’t in there for the last few plays. They would have blamed the refs, the league, and everybody else except the team that is 2-0 against them in their last two games – beating them the first time with an HOF QB with nothing left in the tank, and beating them the second time with a guy who had never before thrown an NFL pass.

  59. eddiea25 says: Sep 15, 2016 12:29 PM

    Who the hell is Mike Pereira to throw Gene Steratore under the bus? A former ref? Where is the camaraderie? Sell your brother out for the almighty buck? I worked all my life with guys like you and it made me sick. Let the league open its mouth, not you.

  60. onebuffalove716 says: Sep 15, 2016 12:31 PM

    Like you can truly medically clear someone in the few seconds it takes to run the next play.
    I would love for Goodell to shove this guy…

  61. mmack66 says: Sep 15, 2016 12:31 PM

    Let’s make it count.

    Any headhunting in the last 2 minutes of the game results in an automatic win for the team that was headhunted.

  62. mmack66 says: Sep 15, 2016 12:37 PM

    Remember when Roger made a big deal about players getting paid for dirty hits? I think he even made a head coach sit out an entire season.

    Enjoy your vacation, Gary.

  63. osiris33 (bandwagon since 1976) says: Sep 15, 2016 1:09 PM

    As if the ludicrous hands to the face call didn’t already “change the outcome of the game.” The Broncos had to win it twice.

    Keeping in mind this is the same guy who claimed Super Bowl 40 was properly officiated

  64. richrob81 says: Sep 15, 2016 1:36 PM

    How was Steratore gonna take matters into his own hands when it was him that was swallowing his whistle while Cam was getting blow up anyways.

  65. mmack66 says: Sep 15, 2016 1:49 PM

    All I read is how bad of a referee Gene Steratore is, until he helps the Donkeys*** win a game, then he is the greatest referee ever.

    Leave him alone, Mike. Stay away from that Clete Blakeman also. The Donkeys would be nowhere without him.

  66. marthisdil says: Sep 15, 2016 8:11 PM

    refs should have thrown multiple flags and ejected the scumbags intentionally trying to hurt another player too…

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