Some will say it’s the first correct decision Mike Carey has made in two years.
Carey, who began working for CBS as a rules analyst in 2014, consistently struggled to interpret and apply rules to specific situations in a concise, clear, and accurate way. Before Super Bowl 50, CBS tried to circle the wagons, and Carey tried to offer up flimsy excuses for his performance, at one point comparing his mistakes in analyzing the rules to people incorrectly predicting the outcome of games. After Carey made a clear blunder regarding a replay review in during Denver’s win over Carolina, the wagons stopped circling — and Carey never again appeared on the air.
If happened when coach Ron Rivera threw the red flag to challenge a ruling on the field that receiver Jerricho Cotchery had failed to catch the ball.
“I think this is a good challenge by Carolina,” Carey said. “The receiver goes up, he’s going to the ground. So he must maintain control of the ball, which he does. If I was in the booth, I would reverse this to a catch. The ball never hits the ground. Even though there’s a bobble inside, maintains good control, up off the ground. He rolls over, keeps it off the ground at the end.”
The problem was that the ball did hit the ground. The other problem was that Carey ignored the standard that applies to replay review: Calls on the field are overturned only if indisputable visual evidence demonstrates that the ruling was incorrect. In that specific case, the evidence of an error on the field was far from indisputable.
If Carey were being truthful, he’d surely say he’s relieved to no longer have to do something that he simply isn’t suited to do. At a deeper level, some may wonder how suited he was to be a referee, especially when he was required to perform a replay review. Although he was able to communicate effectively and authoritatively (and concisely, Ed) the information that teams, fans, and media needed to know, it’s hard not to wonder whether the flaws the world witnessed during his time with CBS manifested themselves in some capacity when Mike Carey was wearing a white hat.
Still, it’s on CBS for putting a guy on the air who had no business being on the air. CBS compounded the error by keeping him on the air, with or without aggressive efforts to coach him to improve. Ultimately, whoever made the decision at CBS and Mike Carey were the last two to realize that Carey should have never been there in the first place.