Only two items on this week’s “Official Review” with the league’s vice-president of officiating, Mike Pereira. Usually, we have a web-only video to go along with the NFL Network segment, but we only have one segment this week (video). We will take these out of order.
First: the injury to back judge Rich Reels. We asked the league for an update on his status, and they simply responded, “Reels returned to the game.” Pereira said that Reels suffered chest contusions, and that he was going to be out for a week. We also asked about the report of equiping officials with protective gear, but received a generic answer. Pereira did not indicate what may be under consideration, but he acknowledged that this is becoming an increased risk:
I think it’s time that we do take a look at getting them set up with some more protection, especially the umpires. The game has gotten faster, the players have gotten bigger. And whether it’s helmets, whether it’s shoulder pads, whether it’s moving him to an alternate position to get him out of the way, I think we’re going to have to look at it, because we are getting too many people hurt
Before we move on, we did not address the penalty that happened four plays earlier in the Vikings—Steelers game. A Vikings touchdown was taken off the board because of a trip call against the tight end, Jeff Dugan. Dugan blocked his defender low, but legally, and knocked the defender off his feet. This was obviously penalized incorrectly as tripping, which not only took the six points away, but also lead to a fumble return three plays later put six points on the other side of the scoreboard. The kickoff following the touchdown was the one which Reels was injured. Coincidentally, Dugan was the one that ran the official over. And to be clear, it was certainly an accident, we are not implying anything nefarious.
Pereira also addressed a clear incomplete pass in the Saints—Dolphins game that could not be reviewed because of a malfunction in the replay equipment. Periera explained the procedure that, in case of buggy equipment, the referee can wait no longer than two minutes, at which point the replay is abandoned for that play and the challenge is not docked from the coach. In this case, there was a malfunctioning switch froze the system which required the replay technician to reboot the system.
And, oddly, we think that the NFL Network’s Rich Eisen might be aspiring to replace Drew Carey with a couple of references to The Price Is Right. We’ll know for sure if he mentions Plinko in next week’s segment.