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Officiating experts break down Week 11 calls



Some assessments differ from the league office

Fox Sports NFL officiating analyst Mike Pereira and NBC Sports Network officiating analyst Jim Daopoulos had many different Week 11 calls to break down and all dealt with the referee going under the hood to review a play.

Daopoulos, a former officiating supervisor and official in the NFL, appeared on Pro Football Talk (video) and broke down the catch/no catch/fumble non-reviewable call in Dallas (video at Deadspin), the “process of the catch” review in Denver (video), and the “illegal challenge” incident in Atlanta (video). 

Daopoulos observed that catch/fumble plays are reviewable; however the whistle killed the play and nothing could be changed, because referee Ed Hochuli couldn’t change an incomplete pass to complete and a fumble and add on to a play that was already killed.  Regarding the penalty against the Falcons for throwing the challenge flag for a play that is automatically reviewed by the replay offical, both Daopoulos and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk both agreed that, while enforced correctly, the penalty is excessive and the goal should be to get the call right.  Daopoulos disagrees with the NFL’s statement that referee Carl Cheffers properly upheld the Chargers’ Danario Alexander touchdown.  Daopoulos says Alexander did not complete the process of the catch and he further says Cheffers should have overturned the call to incomplete.

Pereira, of course, the former NFL vice-president of officiating,  focused on the troubles Mike Smith had regarding challenging plays on Sunday.  Pereira says the NFL explicitly told coaches before the season started what the consequences would be if they threw the red flag when they were not entitled to do so.  Pereira also says earlier in the game Smith probably could have won a challenge in which an Arizona Cardinals’ player was ruled down by contact and then the ball popped out; however Smith decided against challenging that play.  Pereira ended his segment by saying that while fans focus on mistakes by replay officials and referees during replay challenges, the coaches also make mistakes during a game in deciding when to challenge a call and when they should keep the red flag tucked in their pocket (or, in Bill Belichick’s case, tucked in his sock).

Mark Schultz is a high school football official, freelance writer and journalist. He first became interested in officiating when he was six years old, was watching a NFL game with his father and asked the fateful question, "Dad, what are those guys in the striped shirts doing?"