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Officiating experts grade Week 14 officials



Referee in Colts – Titans game never got replay shot to overturn Luck pick six

The NFL’s most prominent officiating experts had much to say about the officiating for Week 14.  Former NFL vice president for officiating and FOX Sports officiating analyst Mike Pereira and former NFL supervisor and NBC Sports officiating analyst Jim Daopoulos broke down several interesting calls. 

Daopoulos explained (video) what happened in the Colts – Titans game where Colts quarterback Andrew Luck appeared to be down by contact, but instead was ruled to have thrown an interception for a touchdown (video of play).  Daopoulos says he was told that referee Pete Morelli never received the definitive angle that clearly showed Luck’s knee down before he threw the pass.  Daopoulos says it is up to the replay assistant to feed the referee the proper shots in order for him to make a proper ruling.  Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk summed up the situation perfectly by saying the “referee is only as good as what is provided to him.”

Daopoulos also discussed a foul called on Reggie Nelson of the Cincinnati Bengals where he was penalized for an illegal hit on the Dallas Cowboys’ Dez Bryant.  Daopoulos explained that Nelson’s hit was a legal hit and the officials were wrong to throw the flag.  He further explained that the official who threw the flag will not be down graded because the the NFL has told the men in stripes to err on the side of throwing a flag when it comes to player safety rules.

Pereira took some time in his weekly segment to criticize the NFL’s trial balloon it floated this week to eliminate kickoffs due to safety concerns.  Pereira says that the NFL’s safety rules on kickoffs (moving up the kickoff line to induce more touchbacks and eliminated the blocking wedge) have greatly reduced the number of concussions on free kick plays, so he feels this proposal is a “terrible idea.”

Pereira then wrote about some plays that caught his attention over the weekend.  He says referee Walt Coleman was right in ruling Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder’s forward progress stopped on a play where he apparently coughed up the ball to the Chicago Bears.  Pereira says the NFL teaches the officials to rule like this so it prevents a cheap turnover or intentional grounding penalty.  Pereira comments that the officials got the illegal touching foul on Bengals receiver Marvin Jones correct, thus wiping out a Bengals touchdown.  He also has similar comments as Daopoulos about the Andrew Luck play.

Never a dull week when it comes to NFL officiating!

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?"