Pereira thinks NFL turning to full-time officials would be a mistake

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Since Saints coach Sean Payton said last week on PFT Live that the NFL needs full-time officials, there has seemed to be a groundswell of support for the idea, even including the league’s head of officiating, Dean Blandino, saying the idea has merit.

But a former head of officiating doesn’t think it’s a good idea.

Mike Pereira, who ran the league’s officiating department for years and now works as a rules analyst for FOX, told Peter King of TheMMQB.com that many of the best officials in the NFL would quit officiating if the league forced them to do it as a full-time job. And Pereira thinks there just isn’t enough work to do all week, and all offseason, to justify it being a full-time job.

I can’t fathom what a side judge would do all week to get better and make better calls on Sunday,” Pereira said. “Read the rule book? Watch a lot more tape?”

Pereira also defends the officials who currently do the job, saying they do as good a job as the full-timers in other sports.

“If they went full-time, what effect would it have? Basketball officials work basketball all the time; they get criticized all the time. Baseball umpires, same thing,” Pereira said. “We have maybe 19 games a year for our officials. Look at the accuracy rate. It’s pretty damn incredible. There’s maybe 155 plays a game, with 10 significant decisions to be made on every one. And what’s the accuracy—maybe 96 percent? There’s going to be mistakes. I think the officiating right now, overall, is excellent. I don’t want all these new officials that would come in all at once. What it comes down to for me is whether full-time officials would really improve officiating, and I don’t think it would.”

And if it wouldn’t improve officiating, the NFL wouldn’t do it.

63 responses to “Pereira thinks NFL turning to full-time officials would be a mistake

  1. I don’t know if that’s the answer, but something better be done . The officiating is horrendous. It’s inconsistent between games, locations, and within games. Refs don’t know the rules in many cases. No one can agree on what “indisputable” means. Blatantly missed calls cannot be challenged and affect games. One team gets penalized 14 times and the other 2 times, and there are no concrete repercussions.

    Do something.

  2. Ok Pereira but how do you improve officiating ?
    That’s the point fundamentally, and the NFL has no answers.

  3. You don’t do it all at once! Hire new ones as full time. The current good ones can stay part time as is. Of course it would improve the officiating if done correctly. Refs miss calls every single game that avg fans can clearly see from their couches. THAT is NOT ‘excellent’.

  4. I have said for years now the idea that the NFL doesn’t have 10 refs per game on the field is ridiculous. 7 refs were fine when freakish athletes didn’t play the game. there is just too much going on to not have the field more closely monitored with more refs.

    Also there needs to be an “eye in the sky” at every game, a ref watching the game and reviewing each play. When the field refs miss something the eye in the booth signals down and corrects the call.

    The teams need to be able to challenge everything. penalties, missed penalties, clock violations…still only give them 3 opportunities to challenge but challenge everything.

    The idea is to get the calls right. not put the millions of dollars and wins and losses into the hands of out of shape, poor visioned, 55= year old refs trying to watch quick twitch freakish athletes operate in a different plane.

    And if they don’t look to standardize the pass interference calls making it more easily flagged then they need to return to P.I. ‘s being no more than 15 yard penalties.

    Lastly, defensive holding needs to not include an automatic first down with it.

    This is easy to fix. More refs, more challenges, standardized calls and more cameras at every game.

  5. It’s not going to be popular but he is right. Officiating is complained about in all levels of competition and regardless of the sport.

    There will always be calls some fans will disagree with because of our particular rooting interests distort our perceptions. And then there are the actual incorrect calls which is the much smaller part of our complaint as fans.

    But I do think they need to streamline the rule book and remove some of the confusing “emphasis’s” they added since 2000. I have no doubt the game was better before they (Polian and Fisher) started tinkering with the rules in the mid 2000’s.

  6. “Read the rule book? Watch a lot more tape?”
    ________________________________

    Gee, what a novel idea! Learn the job, execute the job, get it right, through better knowledge? Rather than looking at each other, after a play, and “guessing” what just happened. Duh!

    It’s his prehistoric slant, that underlines the heart of the problem! A Trillion dollar organization, hinging on the whim of part-time, “guessers”. Yep, that sounds a winning formula.

  7. I can see the downside. They might unionize and go on strike and not show up for games. What? You say many of them don’t actually see the games they officiate now? You are right sir.

  8. I don’t think the officiating is making games less enjoyable; it’s all the rules and challenges.

  9. Not surprised at all by this response. Somehow the nfl is a full time job for players, coaches, front office executives, etc but for the refs….who have a huge sway in the outcomes of games based on their interpretation and understanding of the rules it can’t be a full time job. What sense does that make?

    Have seminars during off season, review new rules with the rules committee, have them officiate team practices on rotation and inform teams of rules and how far they can go as far as the gray areas in some rules…..the list is endless.

  10. If he thinks the officiating has been good, he sure as hell doesn’t watch very much football. Officiating is the worst it’s ever been. Pathetic actually!!

  11. Maybe all the officials go to teams practices and ref them just to teach the players what CAN be called. AND hold 30 minute classes on rules.

  12. Stats are skewed. The problem is with the 10 plays that aren’t give mes.. NFL refs get those right about 20% of the time.

    But, it goes much deeper than that. There is no consistency with NFL refs. Different crews call it differently from game to game and play to play. Hockey and baseball have far superior officials. Basketball also seems to be rigged with horrible officials.

  13. Perhaps what the refs need is practice. He’s right, watching film and reading the rule/play book isn’t enough. That is why the players practice. Perhaps the refs need to find a way to practice both during the week and during the off season to increase the amount of times they see a given situation so they can better recognize it.

  14. I agree. I also thought the ‘scabs’ were pretty much just as good as the high paid guys.

    To me, I think they’ve gotten ‘worse’ since they started wearing the communication devices. Know they’ve always got someone in their ear and they probably don’t automatically react (ie the book ‘Blink’) as quickly and accurately as they had before.

  15. “Pereira also defends the officials who currently do the job, saying they do as good a job as the full-timers in other sports.”

    Seriously? The NFL refs routinely make game-altering mistakes that are making professional wrestling look like the more legitimate sport. The team that gets screwed by these mistakes has no recourse whatsoever, nor can they even publicly question the bad calls/no-calls afterward or else they will get fined.

  16. It would not change 1 thing… for the reasons he mentioned.

    There has been a ridiculous quest for perfection. Replay has gotten most things right and better than EVER before.

    There will ALWAYS be issues and dissatisfaction with referee’s and umpires. ALWAYS has been, ALWAYS will be… in football, baseball, hockey, basketball… every sport known to man.

    We need to get over it and enjoy the game.

  17. Of course Pereira is against the idea of trained, full-time officials who have accountability. It stands to reason because as head of officiating he continued (and worsened) the existing status-quo of incompetence by moonlighting refs. Would he ever admit his own culpability in this long-time mess?

  18. Folks remember when the NFL wanted to shake things up by bringing in offcials from other leagues a couple of years ago? How did that work out? Exactly. Terrible and it forced the NFL to make nice with the current officials. The system has been working for years, but we needed to stare over the precipice to understand how good we really have it. The officials we have for the most part are scholarly and captains of industry. The few that aren’t very good are the ones the NFL is trying to bring in to eventually make them “full time” officials. The NFL does not need full time officials. Don’t fall for the NFL-led propoganda.

  19. They could spend the week practicing, just like players do. Practice on live fields with live players (even ex-player actors)… sideline calls, holding calls… reenact those difficult situations at real speed and practice seeing them, practice calling them, review performance and noticed personal tendencies IBM perception. Like any skill, perception is learned and can be honed and improved. Work in the specific observational and cognitive skills needed to do better with bang-bang calls. Work to impove accuracy on those split second observations. That is basic cognitive training. Players do it already!

  20. He’s right, why make officials full time when they aren’t doing nothing in March, April, May, June, July. When the world league/NFL Europe was around, they would send current and newly hired officials over there to keep themselves fresh or the newbies get used to NFL game speed. I think not having NFL Europe is part of the problem

  21. Of course he does, he WAS a part time ref at one point, holding a high paying full time job and another high paying weekend job. No bias there.

  22. Maybe all the officials go to teams practices and ref them just to teach the players what CAN be called. AND hold 30 minute classes on rules.
    ———
    During the season team practices are at a walk through pace. They are not full contact practices once the regular season begins. Officials have been going to training camps for years doing exactly what you suggest during training camp. It’s sort of the officials training camp too.

  23. Pereira, another guy who did nothing but lie to cover mistakes by officials when he had the job.

    Part time officials are a travesty and for an over 10 billion a year business to try and justify keeping them part time is beyond ridiculous.

    The only plausible explanation for not making officials full time and not using goal line cams and other goal line and out of bounds technology is so the league can manipulate games through officials, plain and simple.

    Corruption runs deep in Roger Goodell’s National Integrity League

  24. One thing that having full time officials could help is with their conditioning and running. How many times do the officials make a call from 20 or 30 yards or more from the play????

  25. the refs & the gutting of the defense after the 2003 season are the main reasons why football has become so terrible

  26. What they need to do is not make rule changes every off season. It’s not necessary. Simplify the game. I am sure lot of players do not know all the rules.

  27. Very simple. Make them take a test every week, both written and calling plays that are on tape. If they do not pass the test, they are suspended that week. It would mean you need more refs on call, but it would definitely improve the quality.

  28. Right! Do the same thing over and over and expect different results! Wait….the’s the definition of something…oh yeah, insanity.

  29. harrisonhits2 says:
    Nov 9, 2016 9:47 AM

    Pereira, another guy who did nothing but lie to cover mistakes by officials when he had the job.

    Part time officials are a travesty and for an over 10 billion a year business to try and justify keeping them part time is beyond ridiculous.

    The only plausible explanation for not making officials full time and not using goal line cams and other goal line and out of bounds technology is so the league can manipulate games through officials, plain and simple.

    Corruption runs deep in Roger Goodell’s National Integrity League
    ————————–
    Amen brother!!! 100% correct

  30. “I can’t fathom what a side judge would do all week to get better and make better calls on Sunday,” Pereira said. “Read the rule book? Watch a lot more tape?”

    Yeah, do that. And go to all the team practices and hold a short session with the team to help the players know how they call things. Attend the teams’ OTAs and minicamps in addition to the training camps they attend now.

    And something similar to the NBA D-league played in the spring is a pretty good idea. Most NFL officials come from college ball. An NFL D-league would be somewhere between college and NFL in speed and talent. Perfect place for training college officials moving to the pros. And put these teams in cities too small for the NFL but have nice college stadiums – Columbus, Knoxville, Austin, Madison and Salt Lake City spring immediately to mind.

    So yes, having full-time officials IS a good idea, and it’s not too hard to find work for them to do.

  31. nard100 says:
    Nov 9, 2016 9:32 AM
    Folks remember when the NFL wanted to shake things up by bringing in offcials from other leagues a couple of years ago? How did that work out? Exactly. Terrible and it forced the NFL to make nice with the current officials. The system has been working for years, but we needed to stare over the precipice to understand how good we really have it. The officials we have for the most part are scholarly and captains of industry. The few that aren’t very good are the ones the NFL is trying to bring in to eventually make them “full time” officials. The NFL does not need full time officials. Don’t fall for the NFL-led propoganda.
    ——
    Thank you Mr. Prarrira…..what you forgot to mention is the NFL attempted to bring in replacement refs when they got greedy during negotiations with the Referees’ union and decided at the last minute to bring any Joe Schmo ref from college to high school in as replacement, give them a few days of “training” and then throw them out to the wolves to ref prime time NFL games.

    If the decision to go to full time refs is made the NFL would phase in any current ref and have a transition plan for new refs. Nice try though.

  32. Have them monitor pee-wee games, H.S. games, Division III games and mentor those refs. Watch tape of other refs and grade those games. There is so much outreach that they can use the rest of their time doing.

  33. …..leave the refs on the field…BUT have 3 refs in the booth. When a Penality or fumbel or catch issue is called …it gets reviewed with footage the average fan sees & the 3 wise men in the booth electronically submit their “call” to the field. …..it aint perfect, but you have more eyes on the penality or issue……..They have 30 secs to make the call.

  34. Keep the great officials part time. If their quality starts slipping give them a choice of going fulltime to improve or quit.

  35. Why is it implied that it’s an either/or option ie either full time or part time. Why not an option as a variation to military reservists. During the season, they all have to work both Saturday and Sundays and a couple of nights a week of distance learning ie like attending school off campus. During the off season they spend one weekend a month at a common training facility. And prior to the start of the season, two weeks of intensive training to learn the new rules/sharpen their skills. And like the military, they would be required to pass some realistic physical fitness criteria.
    Can easily be managed. Doesn’t require full time refs but would require refs dedicated to getting it right. Lots of variation to the above is possible with minimal and reasonable additional cost. Older refs could take on the role of on site video reviewer or some sucj. And with all the game tape produced each week, there would be no limit to training materials.
    But you have to do something. The game changes too much from year to year to maintain the status quo.

  36. Why only either/or ie full time or part time? Why not a variation of what military reservists do. For example during the season, every 2nd weekend they work both Saturday and Sunday. Off season they work one weekend a month and for two weeks prior to season start to learn new rules etc. In addition they have to do a minimum of 5 hours per week of distance learning/testing that specifically addressed judgment type decisions.
    All easily done with existing training facilities/software capabilities. Additionally, there should be some mimimum physical fitness criteria to be met.
    Add more booth refs to the games, who have been specially trained for that job.
    All this could be done prior to the start of the new season next year.
    But do something for Pete’s sake.

  37. Remember all the talk of how the war room was set up to watch all games and correct officiating errors as they happened? What happened to that?

  38. If the NFL offered in-depth courses in the offseason in which they had to read AND understand the rules, be certified, and were required to maintain a current certification through continuing education and possibly be certified in more than one sport football/basketball or football/soccer or women’s sports/high school-college certification, etc., they could find enough things to keep them occupied in addition to opening up new careers in our much needed job market. Having internships to provide some OJT for college students or people with interest in such a career are other possibilities.
    At the present time, my hairdresser, insurance agent and realtor all have tougher requirements than NFL officials, have to carry “error and omissions”professional liability insurance, because they are help accountable AND they make less money! If officials get bored with too much time on their hands they can do like so many of us regular fans and get a second job or volunteer with after school youth programs.
    It’s not rocket science!

  39. I always wondered the reasoning behind ‘Make ’em full time’ argument. So what are they going to do on Tuesday afternoon that makes them better on Sunday?

    keep your 3 coaches challenges but make everything challenge-able.

    Pass interference is ridiculous. This is one call that is incorrect 50% of the time. Many of those infractions should have been a ‘non-call

  40. you mean, a guy who is paid to say bad things about the rules has bad things to say about how to handle the rules? i’m shocked

  41. What about making just the heads of officiating crews full time? They could be studying new rules, helping work out interpretations, etc. and decide what they needed to pass on to each of their part-time subordinates.

  42. We don’t care if they are replaced by part-time or full-time refs…JUST GET RID OF THE BAD ONES NOW

    Wonder why ratings are down? People DO NOT want to watch a Seahawks game, see Sherman commit penalties all game long, and then listen to his big mouth afterward about how persecuted he is.

    Total trash. Got better things to watch on TV

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