Football Zebras™

Mike Carey quits NFL for CBS gig

CBS Sports has hired referee Mike Carey away from the NFL to work as a rules analyst during the network’s Thursday and Sunday games. Carey will be at the game site or the NFL Network studios in Culver City, Calif., for Thursday night games and in the CBS New York studios on Sunday.

“So many times throughout the years of watching Mike officiate, I often thought it would be great to have him someday work for CBS explaining the calls on the field,” said CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus in a statement. “We’re excited that this has now come to fruition. He will be a great complement to our Thursday Night Football and Sunday afternoon coverage.”

The timing is very unusual, as the officiating office places all 119 officials “in season” on May 15 each year. At that time, the officiating crews are determined and rules tests are administered. At this late stage, a new vacancy is uncommon and presents several logistical problems.

CBS has not had a rules analyst on its staff prior to this season. Fox Sports forged the role of an expert rules analyst in 2010 when they hired Mike Pereira after he stepped down as the league’s vice president of officiating. ESPN added former referee Gerry Austin to the Monday Night Football booth and NBC and the NFL Network both used the current VP of officiating, Dean Blandino.

Carey was hired by NFL officiating supervisor Jerry Seeman in 1990 as a side judge. In his sixth NFL season, Carey was promoted to the referee position. He has worked 17 postseason assignments, including 9 wild card playoffs, 5 divisional playoffs, 2 conference championships, and Super Bowl XLII. In that Super Bowl, Carey was noted for his poise on the game’s most sensational play. While Giants quarterback Eli Manning was swarmed under by a Patriots blitz, Carey waited blow the play dead until he confirmed that Manning was under control. Manning was able to escape and completed the pass to receiver David Tyree, who pinned the catch to his helmet to secure the ball (video). Had Carey whistled the play dead, the fate of the game could have completely changed.

Carey owns Seirus Innovations, a company that manufactures ski equipment and cold-weather gear, which he founded with his business partner in 1979.

Football Zebras is still working to confirm who will fill the referee vacancy left by Carey.

Image: Dan Paschal