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Pereira discusses Murphy non-touchdown, and other Week One calls

We missed the first 2009 edition of V.P. of officiating Mike Pereira’s segment on NFL Network’s Total Access, during which he reviews controversial calls from the prior weekend’s games.

But since many of the segments appearing on NFLN are later available within’s extensive library of videos, you can watch the thing right here.

First, Pereira talks about the decision to overturn the touchdown awarded to the Raiders after receiver Louis Murphy lost control over the ball while landing in the end zone.

His explanation of the rule matches the one we posted the other day. (Which is a good thing, since the explanation we posted the other day was based on information from Pereira.)

And Pereira was slightly more tactful than we were in pointing out that the Night at the Roxbury trio in the ESPN MNF “B” team booth did the audience a disservice on this one.

“Unfortunately, TV didn’t do a good job of explaining it or showing the right video,” Pereira said.

Bottom line? “After you hit the ground, you must hold onto the ball,” Pereria said.

Pereira also discussed the premature fair catch signal in the season-opening game between the Titans and the Steelers, which really wasn’t all that controversial of a call, in our view. (Possibly because Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth did an appropriate job of explaining the situation. On NBC.)

In online-only bonus coverage available right here, Pereira addresses two other situations from Week One.

Pereira acknowledged that the illegal contact call against Packers cornerback Al Harris was erroneous, since it came right at the edge of the five-yard buffer within which that one chuck is permitted. The problem, as Pereira candidly admitted, is that the official calling illegal contact often is 25 yards away from the line of scrimmage, making it difficult to know where exactly the five-yard zone ends.

Pereira also addressed concerns raised by host Rich Eisen regarding the fact that the five-yard penalty resulting from illegal contact triggers an automatic first down.

"[I]f you make it not an automatic first down,” Pereira said, “the big concern is that if the offense gets into a situation that maybe they’re [facing] third and 12 or third and 15, now maybe if you’re a defense now maybe you’re gonna take license to contact.”

Finally, Pereira discussed the play in the Vikings-Browns game during which Minnesota corner Cedric Griffin interfered with Cleveland receiver Braylon Edwards, who was knocked out of bounds and then re-entered the field of play and caught the pass for a touchdown, which was later taken away via replay review.

All in all, it was a pretty clean week for officials. But that next Ed Hochuli moment is always potentially only one play away.