Bill Belichick goes off script on replacement officials

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The NFL has provided the 32 teams with suggested talking points regarding the replacement officials.  The memo says nothing about expressing agreement with the opinions of former V.P. of officiating Mike Pereira, who has been (to put it mildly) a thorn in the league’s side during this process.

Enter Pats coach Bill Belichick.  After Thursday night’s preseason opener against the Saints, Belichick made it clear that he defers to Pereira on these matters.

“I think Mike Pereira has made his comments on the officials,” Belichick said.  “I don’t know who knows more about NFL officiating than Mike Pereira, so we’ll leave it to him.  I’m just trying to coach our team and get our team better.  I’m not worried about what everybody else is doing; it’s not my job.”

Pereira has said that the use of replacement officials undermines the integrity of the game.  By expressly agreeing with Pereira, Belichick believes that the use of replacement officials undermines the integrity of the game.

Pereira also has said that the league is embellishing the credentials of the replacement officials, and that Shannon Eastin, the first female to officiate an NFL game, would not have been approved under normal procedures due to her participation in the 2007 World Series of Poker.

So, basically, Belichick has given the league office the finger, in passive-aggressive fashion.

That said, it’s hard to disagree with him.  Pereira knows as much as anyone about officiating.  His concerns should be taken seriously.

It remains to be seen whether other coaches will muster the nerve to agree with Belichick.

Strategically, they’d be wise to do so.  Eventually, the locked-out officials will be back, and it will be impossible for them to complete ignore who had their backs — and who didn’t — when making close calls in real time.

85 responses to “Bill Belichick goes off script on replacement officials

  1. They did a horrific job tonight in the Redskins-Bills game and apparently they stunk it up all over the league. The NFL MUST get the real refs back in place before regular season brother!!!

  2. It’s not surprising that a cheating scumbag like Belichick would like Pereira. I for one am happy to see referees that are not on social security benefits.

  3. If Bill Belichick is suggesting the integrity of the game might be in question, then it must seriously be in question. He certainly knows about putting the integrity of the game in question.

  4. I dislike Bellichik but the officials in the Bears-Broncos game were down right awful!!!!!!!

  5. well not necessarily….he says that Mike Pereira knows more about officiating, not that everything he said was correct….. Bellichick is agreeing that the officiating is poor but you can’t state that Bellichick believes the NFL is undermining the integrity of the game based on that statement

  6. I am SURE these replacement officials are doing the best they can. But I watched a few games tonight. They are just incapable of officiating at this level. And some players are going to get hurt badly just because the owners are trying to squeeze everyone they can for cash. This stands a chance at ruing this great game more than anything else so far.

    The coaches know.

  7. What a smokescreen that female ref was. C’mon NFL pay the real refs and lets move on. You could easily afford the hike with half of the hit-to-the-head fines you’ll levee this year.

    And Bill sure does know what hes doing. That man is a genius in a hoodie !

  8. The “replacements” were just AWFUL. and it really all in all was just embarassing to watch their heads just spinning over a simple punt downed at the 5 yard line that they placed the down marker at the 5 yard line and then later ruled it a touchback. then the bills coach Chan Gailey had to throw a challenge flag for them to put the ball back where they originally placed it at the 5!?

  9. Ole Coach Bill is ALWAYS looking ahead and ALWAYS looking for a competitive advantage…. Agreed that the refs will be back and they will remember who had their back

  10. The NFL needs to keep player safety in mind, before these unexperienced officials get someone hurt bad. If you earn your opportunity well fine, but come on now this is going to have a big factor on the game if unexperienced officials are in the game. Let’s go NFL make the right choice like you ask the players to do, meet in the middle with the officials and sign a deal!

  11. I mean they called a touchback on a punt that was downed at the 4yd line in the skins bills game that chan gailey had to challenge lmao! It wasn’t even close an he’s gotta risk a challenge? Wow! Oh yea Hail to Rg3 and HTTR!! ROY!!!

  12. if dey dnt fix this alot bad calls will be made along with alot of bets too be lost in places like nyc,vegas and atlantic city smh bad time to have replacement refs just pay them guy there hard-earned cash u owe dem

  13. Even though the real refs will be back and all will be well and mostly forgotten by week 1, the NFL and Roger G. are surely making themselves look like dollar first hypocrites in the meantime.

  14. Eventually, the locked-out officials will be back, and it will be impossible for them to complete ignore who had their backs — and who didn’t — when making close calls in real time.

    Then the NFL should keep the replacements if that’s the kind of integrity the real officials have.

  15. While i agree the game will no doubt be better with the highest quality officials,i find it hard to like or agree with Pereira.

    Here is a guy who blindly supports every bad call a regular ref makes throughout the season by finding loop-holes and semantic flaws in the rule book……..meanwhile took about ten cheap shots at the replacement guys before they set foot on the field.

    Pereira may know a ton about refs but he he very biased on this subject.

  16. The owners has nothing to do with the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell job, what Goodell need to do is do his job correctly. But most of the people’s are backing Goodell in his in mess knowing all the time that officials who has not called an NFL game don’t know anything about calling for the NFL because the ruling are different. Goodell also said players will be alright as long as Roger Goodell the NFL commissioner each year game will get worse.

  17. …said the guy who video taped other team’s practices and read lips of other coaches calling plays, which ironically, underminded the integrity of the game. see? passive aggression is fun.

  18. Belichick may be very good at passive aggressive behavior but Roger Goodell as evidenced by the bounty situation etc……is much better than Bill Belichick.

    Pay the players, disabled retired players, league officials and whom ever costs the owners money as little as possible.

  19. Belichick is once again ahead of the game the haters hate with cheap lame unoriginal jokes that for some reason they think are clever even though they all got old four years ago.

    Me well I’ll continue to enjoy having the NFL’s best coach lead my team to success.

  20. Just pay them. There will be a deafening uproar if they aren’t back for the games that count. Just offer all your games online to your fans on a pay per view basis without local channel and network blackouts so we don’t have to be tethered to old technology and jump through all the insane hoops and BS to watch the games we want and then use that money to pay your officials. What’s that? You can’t because you sold all your rights to the ass clowns at the networks and directv? Brilliant move NFL!

  21. How interesting… The old refs are trying to make it seem like they’re needed, but they’re not. Give these new guys some slack for the preseason, most, if not all, of them have never done an NFL game before. I’m sure it takes a few games to get used to it. We don’t kick rookies off the team after one game do we? Do we fire employees after the first couple weeks? They were not THAT bad. Not sure if you all remember but the old refs were far from perfect. Ex: 2009 NFC champ game. And EVERY Steelers game (seriously just ask them). Ok sorry that last one was jokes.

  22. I’m a Big Blue fan, but I like Bill ! He is 100 % right. We get the same old Fem Double Standard,(FDS) the bimbo does NOT qualify under the NFL own rules but yet she gets a pass. What a joke ! This crap gotta stop now. They’ve turned the Army into a joke with this fem BS, all my buddies in the National Guard tell me the broads whine about the rain,cold and mud in the foxholes all night long. The NFL gotta grow a pair. They’re paranoia about gambling, so how can she get a ref job with them ?? I know ! Let sue the NFL ! Get the NFLPA guys on the phone.

  23. I only watched the Chargers/Packers game and they weren’t great but weren’t terrible either. I heard about the call in the Redskins/Bills game and that was HILARIOUSLY bad!!

    Anyway, why wouldn’t the lady ref not be eligible to ref because of the 2007 World Series of Poker? How does that make sense? Someone please clarify that for me.

  24. His statement speaks volumes. I’m shocked. I had thought BB would be stocked about replacement officials since he loves to exploit the grey in the game.

  25. The league must feel SO embarrassed after these games today because the officiating was probably the worst I’ve ever seen in a lllooonngg time… I mean you got high school refs, division 1 and 2 refs, I would’nt be suprised if there was a couple youth football refs out there. If this continues, I’ll have to force myself in doing drugs while watching these games…..

  26. The NFL is a multi-billion dollar industry; PAY the REFS already! They deserve every penny they can get from these billionaire owners. They should each be getting 500k per season easy. They are officiating a game that pays the commissioner 20 million a year and rookie players gets a minimum of 375k a year.

  27. Sounds like players all over the league, already did get hurt because of these bogus refs.

    I think the real refs should be paid well so they are not tempted to take bribes.

  28. Oh man all these clowns making a big deal out of these replacement officials. Cmon, is there anything really different? Reffing is not rocket science. Real refs blow a lot of calls and make bad calls too. Tonight I heard Mike tirico try to criticize a replacement ref that made a semi legitimate although minor call by saying that he has seen that penalty not called before thousands of times. Please, you CAN SAY THE EXACT SAME THING EVERY WEEK ABOUT ANY GIVEN OFFICIATING CREW. Real refs make bad calls, so do replacement refs. Stop acting like the difference is agregious

  29. The cat is out of the bag. The officials have sole control over player safety. They should all be suspended for not having detected the “Bounty scandal”

  30. This is a two-fold effort by Belichick.

    First, he gets into the good graces of the real officials who will be coming back at some point.

    Second, he gets a free jab at the league front office and Goodell.

    This guy always has one eye forward, looking ahead, and one eye backward, never forgeting.

  31. I’m sure Southland Corporation will be excited when the regular ref’s get back to work.There has to be at least 50 7-11 stores missing their night managers.Roger give the ref’s what they want,you’ve collected more than enough just from the Saints alone to be able to afford it……

  32. Funny how so many of us complained about refs for years, now we’re begging for them to be given what they want so we can get them back out there! When they do settle, we’ll be back to ripping them every Monday morning

  33. “…and it will be impossible for them to complete ignore who had their backs — and who didn’t — when making close calls in real time.”

    Sounds like you believe the locked out refs might have some issues with integrity.

  34. “Strategically, they’d be wise to do so. Eventually, the locked-out officials will be back, and it will be impossible for them to complete ignore who had their backs — and who didn’t — when making close calls in real time.”


    So you think it’s inevitable that the refs will be biased towards teams that stuck up for them during the lockout?

    Why do we want these guys back again?

  35. Now that he made the Saints the league scapegoats, I guess Roger doesn’t need to care about player safety anymore.

  36. As the saying goes, a perfect game for an official is when they’re not noticed at all. These guys are sticking out like a sore thumb.

    Whether it’s being woefully out of position to the point where they’re coming dangerously close to having an effect on the play (see Brady’s deep ball to Lloyd, really nice breakup by the Saints’ defender but the official was so close to the players that he had to duck and run away rather than do his job and watch for infractions) or the Keystone Cops routine anytime a flag is thrown and they need to figure out the details of the call (if we’d been playing a drinking game called “Drink Every Time the Ref Puts His Whistle in His Mouth Before Using the PA to Announce the Call” every Pats and Saints fan would be dead of alcohol poisoning by halftime).

    I know it is only the first preseason game and even the regular officials would have their moments, but this is ridiculous. We have the best players and best coaches giving it their all on the field, now let’s get the best officials out there with them.

  37. Simply put…. These replacements will never be able to keep up with the speed of a regular season game. Can you imagine this group of officials (from what we’ve seen so far), trying to get the ball back to the line of scrimmage for a team that’s in the 2 minute drill ? Or what if your team wants to go no huddle for a series ? Efffff….

  38. I watched the Pats game and kept flipping over to the Pack game. The refs in both looked completely overwhelmed and flustered. The announcers kept pointing out their delay in making basic calls like change of possession on turnovers.

    The NFL has to pony up for the refs before it ruins a season with some really great story lines.

  39. That accusation about the Pats’ reading the lips of the other side in their play-calling is a new one on me and frankly it seems a bit silly, but if you could do that – why not? Every possible competitive advantage and all that.

    Bulletin – People have been stealing signals in ALL competitive sports since the invention of dirt.

    I’ve said this many times before and here I go again – I know there are many Pats’ haters out there and for the most part you are amusing, but it would be nice if – from the safety/anonymity of cyberspace – one of you occasionally summoned the courage to declare what team you like.

    The fact that the owners won’t give the REAL refs the money they want – and deserve – says all that need be said about where their hears (and hands) are – in the pockets of the people who go to the games. Remember, fans – no one is MAKING you go to the games.

    The female ref – that’s just plain goofy. What if 2 350 guys get into it and she’s the closest one to them – is she going to be the one who breaks it up?

  40. One more thing – Many times I have expressed my opinion about Florio in negative terms, so it’s only fair that this time I say that I agree with him on this and not only that it’s a pretty well done colunn.

  41. Funny how everyone keeps saying the NFL needs to do something with officials. It is the officials that have rejected a more than fair deal and are letting their greed rule. I do not recall numbers exactly but refs make about $148,00 a year for PART TIME job, which the NFL has agreed to gradually increase to around $191,000 per year, again for a PART TIME job. The other point is moving from retirement plan to 401(k) like the majority of jobs have already done.

    Someone wants to pay me that kind of money for part time work and contribute to my retirement? Sign me up now.

  42. I don’t care if the regular refs ever come back! Maybe the Raiders will be given a fair shake for once!

    Al Davis Forever!!!
    Just Win Baby!!!

  43. Florio’s articles and arguments are usually well reasoned, but his last paragraph makes no sense. So when the regular officials come back, they’re going to actively hold it against any coach who didn’t buck their employer just to say that Mike Pereira is smart? Come on. That’s a fairly ridiculous notion.

  44. someone needs to call out and take on goodell for the tin plated dictator of evil that he is in his pathetic union bashing, You would almost think he was a conservative or worse.

    I wish he would not be so intent on ruining the game just to please his conservative masters.

  45. “We don’t kick rookies off the team after one game do we?”

    Sorry, could you remind me of this mythical NFL team that started 53 rookies? Because that’s the comparison here. It’s not one or two new officials — every single official in the entire league is new.

    You don’t cut a struggling rookie because he’s got 10 other experienced guys on the field helping him out. These refs have no experienced guy to turn to — they’re all “rookies” so to speak. It’s insane. It’d be like an NFL team where every player is a rookie. Disastrous.

  46. Let me point out that there were many regular season games (games that count!) where the regular refs were a mess. For instance, the Lions-49er’s game. This excerpt is taken from an article written right here on PFT :

    “The officiating crew incorrectly spotted the ball at the Detroit 35 instead of the 40 where Ted Ginn went out of bounds,” the league office acknowledged in a statement, via Mike Sando of

    Obviously, the mistake is inexcusable. And the officiating throughout this game was a mess.

    The Lions had several complaints about the officiating in the game, which they ultimately lost 25-19. Others included wrongly ruling that Matthew Stafford’s forward progress had been stopped in the end zone on a safety, a bad call on a horse-collar tackle and a questionable chop block flag on Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew.

    How about :

    NFL admits Marshall’s hit on Newton was legal

    Posted by Gregg Rosenthal on September 15, 2011, 10:46 AM EDT

    Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt was looking for clarification earlier this week. Why exactly was cornerback Richard Marshall’s hit on Cam Newton a roughing the passer penalty?

    It turns out it wasn’t illegal. The league admitted that the game official made an error, according to Marshall.

    “NFL looked at my hit on cam newton from Sundays game and said it was legal. Happy to say I’m not getting fined, thanks,” Marshall tweeted.

    Newton’s day wouldn’t have looked quite as spectacular if not for the error. The penalty wiped out an interception. A few plays later, Newton found Steve Smith for an 89-yard touchdown.

    or in the Playoffs :

    League admits errors on Lions-Saints fumble

    Posted by Mike Florio on January 8, 2012, 10:27 PM EDT

    Sunday’s game between the Steelers and Broncos included a bad call on an apparent fumble that allowed the Steelers to force an overtime period from which the Broncos emerged with a memorable win. Saturday night’s game between the Lions and Saints included a bad call on an apparent fumble that could have allowed the Lions to seize a 21-7 lead late in the first half.

    The league admits that two mistakes were made on the play. One hurt the Lions, and one helped the Lions.

    NFL Refs have been making errors that decide games that count forever yet people want to roast the replacement refs for not being at the top of their game for week 1 of the preseason?

    The examples I found took about 20 seconds of google search and were for just last year alone. I could probably triple that with a little research.

    The only person that wants to put the refs up on a pedastal is Mike Perreira because he’ll explain how the refs didn’t make a mistake at the same time the league is sending out apologies to the teams.

  47. Good for BB. Whether you agree with him or not, you gotta give the guy credit…hes no-nonsense and people always know where he stands.

  48. Someday Belichick will tell his side of the story…
    Then everybody’s dirty laundry will be displayed.. All the 3 yr. olds complaining and name calling, will get a dose of reality……Now that’s a book I’ll buy…and relish!
    All Teams try and get an edge…Unlike the kid with his hand in the cookie jar, BB took his punishment and then punished the rest of the league by a undefeated regular season. Hate all U want, but at least give the man his due…

  49. OK, replacement refs are a bad idea.

    That being said – implying that Belicheck is concerned about the integrity of the game.


    Yeah right. You keep thinking that sunshine.

  50. Did anyone else catch the ref of the Pats/Saints game pointing to the wrong side of the field on an encroachment call? Not to mention the fact that it looks like they gave him Ed Hochuli’s uniform and it’s 2 sizes too big.

  51. “Eventually, the locked-out officials will be back, and it will be impossible for them to complete ignore who had their backs — and who didn’t — when making close calls in real time.”

    Doesn’t that very statement undermine the integrity of the game? And by game I mean television show, of course.

  52. Belichick is the biggest cheater in professional sports since the black sox scandle. How he still has a job is beyond me. Any self respecting franchise would have fired him long ago.

    Also, I have no say in this whole ref issue other than the fact Bill Leavy should not have a job. That guy blew a entire superbowl, he has no right officating a game, ever. He admitted he blew SB XL, so why is he still allowed to ref even pre season games?

  53. This is simple…Belichick is gaining favor with the officials on strike. Expect some great calls for the Patriots down the line.

  54. “Everything is fine. What is everyone worrying about? These are great refs.”
    So says the most honest man in the room, Roger Goodell.
    I love seeing BB throw sand in that arrogant SOB’s eyes

  55. Ahhh…that’s our good ol’ coach going against the grain in a subtle way again. He really is anti-establishment.

    I watched the Pats game last night and I thought the officials did a decent job. I didn’t see any glaring mistakes although I’m sure there were some. I did notice the head ref kept going to blow his whistle before making the call…but then remembered he doesn’t have to use it, he just needed to turn on his mic and say the infraction. Old habits die hard I guess.

    As for Mike Pereira, that guy is a stooge…one way or the other. He makes every sad sack excuse why a call was right when he was in charge of the officials…even though it really wasn’t. Now he hops on the other end of the bandwagon and rails against the replacement refs. He might want to be careful because a lot of the NFL refs are older and won’t be there as long.

    Some of these replacements might make their way up. This experience for them, even if short-lived, is going to give them a good leg up for future employment. They’ll be able to move up the chain and eventually might get to the NFL level. Think they’ll give MP the time of day?

  56. what belicheat means to say is that he’s already paid the original officials to call the game the way he likes it. He was mad that no roughing the passer penalty was thrown when brady got sandwiched last night by the saints D

  57. The new refs needed some practice just like everyone else. Periera hasnt called out one bad ref call since he’s been out of officiated. It’s always, well I could see why they called it and I agree. Someone has to remember the non-catch by Megatron that couldnt be explained a couple years later. Or the fumble by Pittsburgh against the Dolphins that was shown to be out of the players hands but was stilled ruled in his hands.

    Theres many other examples so it’s not like the normal refs are close to perfect. But they cant be called out or its a fine. They get paid a lot of money to F some games up. I remember just last year hearing accouncers of multiple games saying that at one point, the regular refs would cost a team a game(already happened Im sure). I think they need to be picked apart just as bad when they get back. Oh, and Belichick wouldnt know integrity if it hit him in the face.

  58. And I bet every single other HC agree’s with Pereira too. The league preaches player’s safety and will not pay top dollar for the best refs, am I missing something here?

  59. It’s preseason folks! The refs need to work out their kinks too. Remember? Preseason? It doesn’t count? I’d rather them make their mistakes now, unlike the locked out refs who like to make them in the post season.

  60. Tomorrow, someone should look at game tape and create a list of all of the questionable/blown calls from this week’s pre-season games.

    I can think of two from the Packers-Chargers game: a celebration penalty that negated a sack on Rodgers, flag was thrown for a guy flexing afterwards. And a hands-to-the-face penalty on the defense that the announcers said they have seen “not called” over 100 times last season. There were probably more but I stopped watching.

  61. atrophiedambitions says:
    Aug 10, 2012 11:20 AM
    Tomorrow, someone should look at game tape and create a list of all of the questionable/blown calls from this week’s pre-season games.

    I can think of two from the Packers-Chargers game: a celebration penalty that negated a sack on Rodgers, flag was thrown for a guy flexing afterwards. And a hands-to-the-face penalty on the defense that the announcers said they have seen “not called” over 100 times last season. There were probably more but I stopped watching.


    Why should someone do that other than the person who is training and reveiwing the officials? The people that need to, are doing it, without your prompting.

    There were plenty of games last season, including the playoffs, where the regular refs were horrible, yet you are stressed over the first preseason game not being called to perfection?

    Any incorrect calls last night didn’t cost someone a playoff chance or affect their regular season record. Like the players, it provided the refs a chance to hone their trade before getting to the games that count.

  62. This is what it looks like when you use scabs in anything. Less quality and mediocre results. You pay for the best and you get the best..just how it is.

  63. They stink, they are awful! They are worse than pee-wee officials, they need to go to jail … starting today!

  64. I can’t take Belichick seriously here…..He got fined $500k, the Patriots got fined 250k and lost a first round pick. Rules and Belichick do not matter.

  65. Let’s see.There are 32 teams in the NFL with 32 head coaches.Why do the media outlets continuously act as though he is the only coach that has something to say about this?I’m sure if you asked other coaches about the replacement officials,they would have a lot to say.This is the second such story about this and I note that you have chosen to pick two representitive’s from the NE Patriots.This is why you get so many hateful responses from most of the posters.How about discussing issues with other teams?

  66. the refs are out because they want to hold onto defined benefit pensions. they’re the only ones on the planet who still have them. most of us now have 401 type. good luck with that

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