Mike Pereira sees NFL following NCAA’s lead on ejections


In college football this year, players who target an opponent with a blow to the head will face an automatic ejection. The former head of NFL officiating thinks that will soon be the case in pro football as well.

Pereira was asked by the Big Ten Network if he sees the NFL adopting the college rule, and he said, “Sure, if this is successful.”

Pereira went on to say that he thinks the NFL is being forced to change if it wants the game of football to survive at all.

“The NFL has the same issues as college,” Pereira said. “This isn’t all about college football. The rules are about parents who don’t want to put their kids in Pop Warner football because they are scared of all coverage about concussions. So young kids are being turned away from the game. Those on the college and pro level have a responsibility to make the game safer on all levels. I have news for you: if the game dries up on the Pop Warner level, it will on every other level, too. There is no college or NFL football. It’s a trickle-up effect.”

Pereira added that rules regarding player safety, and especially blows to the head, are officiated differently than other rules in one key respect: With a penalty like a false start or holding, officials are told to err on the side of letting the players play. But the new emphasis on player safety has officials being instructed to err on the side of calling a penalty if they think there might have been an illegal blow to the head.

“It’s contrary to any other concept of officiating,” Pereira said. “We always told people to not throw the flag unless they are 110 percent sure. But in this area, over the past decade, it’s become OK to err on the side of safety. They throw the flag on impact; they throw when they think it’s close because the book tells them to do that. And the rules committee tells them to do that. They are charged with trying to protect players. They didn’t make the rules. They don’t mind doing this.”

In 2007, when Pereira was running the officiating department, the NFL instructed officials to eject players for flagrant hits to the head, but NFL officials very, very rarely do so. The new college rule, however, is expected to result in scores of players getting ejected this season. And that soon may be the case in the NFL.

40 responses to “Mike Pereira sees NFL following NCAA’s lead on ejections

  1. Flags are going to ruin the game… It’s a “trickle T.V.” effect… Fans are going to start turning the channel if they can’t watch the game without seeing yellow flags interrupting it for 4 hours straight.. I’d highly suggest when they get this figured out, that the “competition committee”
    leave the game alone while they still have a chance to keep people interested… No other sport has ever seen changes to the game like football has the last 10 years, and if they don’t slow down people are going to get fed up. What’s the worse feeling you can have when watching a football game? Having it interrupted and sent to commercial, so the refs can figure out what the hell just happened…

  2. which leads to more wrong calls which makes the officials affect the outcome of the game which makes me not want to care as much about the outcome

  3. In all seriousness I’m horrified what this could do to college football. There could be 2-3 ejections per game. Just throw a flag instead.

    I completely understand player safety but this could get out of line real quick. Imagine your team in a championship moment only to lose because on of your best defensive players was ejected… Apparently Clowney would have been out vs Michigan…

  4. Maybe we should take out HGH first before we start putting flags and tutus on these guys.

  5. Without a doubt the dumbest thing they could possibly do. The game is already too slow and too commercialized this will only make matters worse. You cannot remove the risk of concussions and other head injuries from the sport so stop trying to ruin the sport in an effort to do so. It would also be nice if pencil neck geeks who have never played a down of organized football in their lives, the media, kept their mouths shut.

  6. New defensive penalties coming in the next 10-15 years:

    1. Staring at the quarterback in a mean and threatening way, 10 yards.

    2. Saying scary and mean things to any receiver, 5 yards.

    3. Defensive player was within 2 yards of a receiver attempting to make a catch, 10 yards.

    4. Hitting a receiver within 5 seconds of him making a catch, 15 yards.

    5. Sacking the QB, 15 yards, repeat down.

    6. Defender coming within 5 yards of QB while he is making a throw, 5 yards, repeat down.

    7. Defender hitting any offensive ball carrier before he crosses the line of scrimmage, 5 yards repeat down.

    Flag football is coming to the NFL in the next 20 years.

  7. There should be some sort of review before a player is ejected because of the fast speed of the plays. Or it has to be so obvious even a ref knows for sure that the player was targeting the opponents head.

  8. The NFL will use the rule to decide who should win a ball game.
    Its an automatic penalty to touch an official. And an ejection for anything more than that. Then watch Williams in the Superbowl shove the official and get in his face..no penalty, no ejection as it would have made it harder for the leagues predetermined winner to prevail.

  9. If parents want to make the world safer for their children then don’t let them drive as teenagers.

  10. Jack Tatum thinks this is a stupid idea.

    Daryl Stingley thinks it might be a good idea.

  11. They should automatically get a 100 yard penalty every time they have this dipstick on tv! I don’t think anything annoys me more than when Joe Buck his boyfriend Troy Gaykman have Perrira on during a game, makes me want to watch figure skating

  12. At the NCAA level and NFL level, they are approaching the problem “ass-backwards”…

    …instead of making more and more ridiculous rules so they can say they are doing “something” top protect the players…

    …the NCAA and NFL need to be improving the quality of the equipment the players are using..especially the helmets.

    We know if we add a layer of cushioning to the outside of today’s existing helmets, that head gear is better able to protect the shock a player receives when their head gear meets something hard..such as another helmet.

    The Pro Cap used by Bill’s Safety, Mark Kelso and the 49ers OT, Steve Wallace proved “that fact” decades ago…yet the NFL and NCAA completely ignore the Pro Cap.

    Someone needs to start directing some question toward the NCAA and NFL, asking if they truly have the players safety in mind…or is the NFL and NCAA contracts with existing helmet manufacturers more important than the players health.

    The Pro Cap works so well that the NFL and NCAA could stop making up new rules…the Pro Cap is that good !

  13. The NFL, specifically Roger Goodell, STARTED all this nonsense about concussions. This is not about player safety, it’s about new revenue streams for ambulance chasing lawyers. And guess what Goodell’s background is…

  14. Drives me nuts. I agree with the intent of penalties for blows to the head and defenseless receivers, but they are judgement calls that too often go in the wrong direction. When hitting someone, there are TWO players. If an RB lowers his shoulder while an LB is in the process of engaging and hits the RB in the head, the RB is just as much at fault at the LB, but the defense gets penalized.

  15. Stop making the Helmet and pads safer! If the helmet and shoulder pads had minimal protection, do you think these guys would lower their heads or want to make head to head contact still? Leather helmets and placekicker pads and let these guys loose. They’ll figure out their pain tolerance real quick. And football will be a Man’s sport again

  16. Has he seen decrease in kids signing up for pop Warner league? Probably not, so he can go and shove it. Just another scare tactic.

  17. so they should start attaching the PINK flags to players’ belts any time now and force us to turn to RUGBY and AUSSIE FOOTIE to watch real sport!

  18. So do parents actually sit around and watch the 4 letter network talk about all the concussions and injuries (like they haven’t been part of the game since its birth), listen to the NFLPA parade these 75 year old worst case scenario players that played football for 35 years of their life, 20 years at a professional level with the biggest, strongest, fastest players in the world who can’t talk and walk (probably partially due to age and other ailments), and then think this is going to happen to their 1/3 size, 1/3 speed child that wears stripes on their helmets that limits their opponents based on weight class? Come on people! What is this country coming to? Weird, I played football from 4th-12th grade, and suffered a severe concussion. Guess what? I can still walk, talk, and think. I managed to graduate college and land a job. It’s a miracle!

  19. Wow…

    NFL should be renamed to the Justin Bieber League for it’s new state of wussyness…

    South Park had it right with Sarcastaball

  20. Rugby players don’t seem to have this issue. Maybe it’s because they aren’t wrapped in body armor and they realize that they are indeed at risk. Something to consider.

  21. All of the sissy rules are designed to get women into the sport. The softer the game can be made, the more apt women are to get involved. That is what it is all about. No point trying to make it out as something else. One day, it will be all women playing. Book it.

  22. It’s about time!
    I think that any player who commits a personal foul should be kicked out for the rest of the QTR. or 10 mins. whichever is greater.

  23. osiris33 says:
    Jul 26, 2013 1:36 PM
    The NFL, specifically Roger Goodell, STARTED all this nonsense about concussions. This is not about player safety, it’s about new revenue streams for ambulance chasing lawyers. And guess what Goodell’s background is…

    Thanks for the explanation. I was under the impression that all of the lawsuits from former NFL players was the driving factor. My bad.

  24. “How about a futbol-like yellow card/red card system?”

    ____________________________________because we’re talking about the ruination of a REAL SPORT!

  25. 1. Hi. Im Mike Perriera. Highly paid Head of officials. Im sorry to inform you but the way the rule is read, the official technkically made the correct call. Sorry your team got hosed.

    2. Hi Im Mike Periera, Highly paid NFL analyst. The refs suck. That was a horrible call. Your team got hosed.

  26. @SparkyGump,

    With these rules, James Harrison may never play another complete game.

    There, fixed you’re statement for you.

  27. NCAA now implementing NFL ejections rules….and if Nick Saban has his say….they’ll also eliminate the “no huddle offense”. Why not just put them in skirts now NCAA!

  28. @pillowporkers: The NFL cannot control how the larger culture evolves. All it can do is adapt to that evolution in order to survive in it. And yes, for better or worse, parents are more aware of the dangers of football than ever before in the sport’s history, and to think they’ll just ignore all that when deciding what they’ll allow their children to participate in is beyond ludicrous.

    Does that mean the culture is getting softer? Maybe, but again, that’s not something the NFL can hope to reverse or even hold back. They can only follow Darwin’s edict: Adapt, or die. The NFL is choosing the path of survival, which is something I would have thought we all could at least respect.

  29. jnbnet says: Jul 26, 2013 2:16 PM

    Thanks for the explanation. I was under the impression that all of the lawsuits from former NFL players was the driving factor. My bad.

    Yeah, it is your bad. Nobody was talking about concussions until Goodell started throwing around $50,000 dollar fines for legal hits and talking about taking the “violence” out of the game. He made an issue of concussions in the first place and practically invited the lawyers to start recruiting players for the lawsuits. Nobody was talking about it until Goodell made it his cause-celeb. Maybe if you actually read some articles or paid attention you might know the history of this phony issue. Start with the fine on the legal hit on Anquan Boldin.

    Dig deeper, and I guarantee you will find some association between Goodell, his family or friends, and the lawyers involved in these cases. Wake up and follow the money.

  30. @12is3times4:

    If you don’t want to play football, then don’t. Why, then, if the “larger culture” is hating football now, do more people watch and play this sport than ever before? More people are “against” these rule changes? It’s not for the culture, it’s for the money and lawsuits. There’s inherent risk in every action in life. There’s a % chance you can die on the field. People die in basketball and soccer too (enlarged hearts). Football teaches a lot more good than bad. Teamwork, work ethic, responsibility, and respect. No one should go out and intentionally hurt other players. However, it’s part of the game, injuries that is. You recover.

    How about that lady who died on that roller coaster? Are amusement parks going to start building smaller, slower, and less extreme roller coasters? No, because people want them. But the NFL, however, is essentially doing this. It’s going to turn fans away from the game. I enjoyed playing football.

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