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.