Yes, Mike Carey has heard all the jokes.
And yes, he knows he’s far from perfect.
But the former NFL referee and current CBS rules analyst (shown here signaling what must have been a touchdown) defended his work Monday, saying he thought his percentage of correct evaluations was a lot higher than many do.
“I’m happy with how I’ve synced up with New York,” Carey said during a CBS press conference, estimating he thought he was at about “90 percent” on replay review analysis.
“Of course, New York is 100 percent,” he added.
Many think he’s batting far lower than .900, which is part of the reason his CBS bosses came to his defense last week, calling the criticism “hurtful.”
But Carey knows he’s making mistakes from time to time, and that his are magnified.
“There are plays I’d like to have back,” Carey said. “There are days I’d like to have back.”
He admitted that last week’s AFC Championship Game was one of those plays, when he said Peyton Manning threw a forward pass, but it was overturned and ruled a lateral.
“That was one I’d like to have back,” he said.
Carey knows as well as anyone else that his is a thankless job, dependent on not just his knowledge of the rules, but the whims of his former bosses with the league’s. And his job is to communicate that, and at times, that has been a bit of an issue.
Referees generally don’t talk to reporters, and if they do, it’s in a very formalized pool report setting, when one reporter gets to ask a question or two about a specific play. So much like assistant coaches who interview poorly because their bosses never let them do interviews, officials are often ill-equipped to explain controversial plays.
But Carey said he didn’t think officials should be required to be available to reporters after games, saying he thought their focus should be on understanding the rules and getting them right the first time through.
But as was shown last week, a full knowledge of the rules isn’t a sure defense, when the 10 percent that go against you go against you do dramatically and to such a large audience.