Former NFL head of officiating Mike Pereira, now a rules analyst on FOX's NFL telecasts, said the lack of reversals of key replay calls in the Super Bowl were likely the result of a league effort to not overturn calls after complaints to commissioner Roger Goodell.
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Pereira made his comments on the "Talk of Fame" podcast with veteran NFL writer Clark Judge. He said the current head of officiating, Al Riveron, was probably told by the commissioner to not be so quick to overturn calls via replay. He cited the touchdown catch by the Eagles' Corey Clement against the Patriots - where Clement may not have had control of the ball with both feet down as fell out of the end zone - as an example.
FOX rules analyst @MikePereira joins @talkoffamenet podcast to talk about the "new normal" in replay reviews and how refs missed call on "Philly Special": https://t.co/q4zDdsvq3d @Eagles #EaglesNation @Patriots @PatsMilitia #PatriotsNation #SuperBowlLII— clark v judge jr (@clarkjudgeTOF) February 12, 2018
“I talk to enough coaches and enough members of the competition committee that they weren’t happy," Pereria said, "and so I think the word trickled to Goodell and Goodell probably sat down with Alberto, who he has a great amount of respect for, and just said, ‘Hey, you’ve got to realize you need to make an adjustment. You’re being too technical.'”
NBC's Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth had said on the broadcast that the Clement TD might be reversed.
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“[The Clement catch] just wasn’t clear enough," Pereira said. "So I said it would stand...and it did..and I do believe that is the new normal...and probably had been the new normal for the last five weeks or so of the regular season and throughout the playoffs.
“So I wasn’t surprised. But I don’t fault Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth because it’s certainly reasonable to assume, based on the first two-thirds of the season, that they would’ve reversed it.”
The eventual winning TD catch by Eagles tight end Zach Ertz was also reviewed and upheld. Pereira also pointed out, as others have, that on the Eagles' "Philly Special" trick-play TD pass to quarterback Nick Foles, receiver Alshon Jeffery wasn't on the line of scrimmage, making it an illegal formation.
“I know the league came out and said that it’s a judgment call, which it is,” Pereira said. “The down judge, who was the one [official] that was on his side of the field, they felt that it was his judgment, and [Jeffrey] was close enough. Well, he wasn’t. They lined up wrong."