The week prior to a calendar changes prompts a look back at the biggest and best of the year in every imaginable category. There are no trophies, but in this case there ought to be. In the year-end Sports Illustrated, Richard Deitsch named NFL on Fox officiating analyst Mike Pereira as the best sports media person of the year.
Periera retired last year as the vice-president of officiating, in which his weekly chores included an “Official Review” segment on the NFL Network. It was the first time someone from the league office made himself available on a weekly basis to discuss the calls on the field. Even though it was filtered through the league-owned cable network, he still used the platform to engage in controversial calls and critiques of the officials.
Pereira’s retirement was partially motivated by his desire to live near his elderly parents in California, and the league office is in New York. Fox Sports seized the opportunity to hire Pereira, as they are, unlike their competition, located in Los Angeles.
The incorporation of Pereira into the broadcast is nothing short of genius. Serving as a rules-interpretation jukebox, he will pop in to a broadcast to relieve the game commentators from embarrassingly wrong analysis of the NFL rulebook. So far, he was correct on 49 of 50 replay challenges this season, or right on the league average of 98 percent. (In this case, “correct” means matching the call made on the field.)
Pereira has even made himself available during the Thanksgiving Day game and the regionally telecast Giants–Vikings game that was moved to Monday due to stadium damage.
The part that we miss, however, is the non-Fox games, obviously. It becomes painfully obvious when a former jock shows his complete lack of knowledge of the sport he once played. (Isolated example, video of Matt Millen’s complete lack of understanding of how the end-zone pylon indicates in-bounds and out-of-bounds.)
We appreciate Pereira’s analysis, but he is now hamstrung by league rules from showing game footage outside of the “broadcast window” to explain the calls beyond Fox game broadcasts or on the Internet. Even with that limitation, his analysis has been the obvious, slap-to-the-forehead answer to decades worth of bad rules interpretation from the booth.