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Pereira: Officials ‘nailed’ NFC championship



Former officiating boss says officials got two critical calls correct

Former NFL vice president for officiating and current Fox Sports officiating consultant Mike Pereira says Terry McAulay’s crew called a superb game on Sunday when the San Francisco 49ers beat the Atlanta Falcons to advance to Super Bowl XLVII. 

Pereira broke down two critical plays that generated the most attention – the catch by the Falcons’ Harry Douglas and the last-ditch fourth down pass play where the 49ers NaVorro Bowman knocked down a pass intended for Roddy White.

Mike Pereira has high praise for Terry McAulay’s NFC Championship Game crew.

Pereira says referee Terry McAulay properly ruled the Douglas play a catch — a ruling that sent 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh into orbit (video).  According to Pereira, McAulay had to look at three aspects of the play – whether Bowman had control before he hit the ground, whether he lost possession when he hit the ground, and whether Douglas maintained control after he hit the ground and was rolling over.  Pereira confirms that the answer is clearly yes on the first and third aspects of the replay, and he admits it is hard to tell if Bowman lost possession of the ball when he hit the ground.  While the ball did move when Douglas hit the ground his hand stayed on the ball, which in Pereira’s opinion, means Douglas didn’t lose possession.  Pereira agrees with McAulay’s ruling to let the catch stand.

The former officials’ boss says while Bowman did make contact with Roddy White on the Falcons’ last gasp fourth down play, the contact occurred within the five yards and before quarterback Matt Ryan threw the ball.  Pereira says the officials were right to pass on an illegal contact flag.  Pereira says Bowman’s contact with White after the chuck did not rise to the level of pass interference.  Pereira praised the crew for not calling Bowman for a foul and added that it takes discipline on the officials’ part to keep the flag in their pocket.

I don’t think Pereira will break down Pro Bowl calls this weekend, but we’ll be sure to summarize Pereira’s take on any calls during Super Bowl XLVII.

Image: San Francisco 49ers photo

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?"