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Mike Carey exits CBS




Report: CBS and Carey ‘mutually agreed to part ways’

Former NFL official Mike Carey will no longer analyze NFL calls and rules  for CBS sports. According to reports, Carey and CBS mutually agreed to go their separate ways.

Carey surprised the NFL in the summer of 2014 when he announced he was retiring from officiating to take a new job  as officiating analyst for CBS Sports. This was an answer to Mike Pereira’s popular presence on FOX and Gerald Austin’s presence on Monday Night Football.

Carey was the first African-American to lead a crew in a Super Bowl, as he was the referee for Super Bowl XLII. That Super Bowl was an instant classic and a call Carey made late in the game was so good that  Football Zebras deemed it the top call in Super Bowl history.

When he was on the field, Carey delivered his calls with confidence and authority, making him a highly respected and trusted referee.  CBS assumed  that Carey’s characteristics that made him a successful referee would translate to TV; however, on TV he came across as shy and reserved in his first season. Later on, Carey developed a stronger delivery.

2014 was written off as a learning experience. In 2015, Carey wasn’t criticized for his delivery. Critics called his analysis into question, especially on replay challenges. There were many high-profile plays in the 2015 season where Carey incorrectly predicted the replay. While all officiating experts have been incorrect in replay predictions, pundits severely criticized Carey for several  instances where  his analysis  differed from the final replay ruling.  In fact, before Super Bowl 50, CBS took time to defend Carey’s work.

In Super Bowl 50, the Panthers challenged a Jericho Crotchery incomplete pass. Carey looked at the replay and predicted the officials would change the call to a catch. Seconds later, referee Clete Blakeman announced that the call stood as called (meaning no indisputable evidence to overturn the call), social media exploded and CBS didn’t call on Carey for the rest of the game.

While I am not an expert on replay rules, it seemed that Carey tried to over-officiate the replay which lead to him  to several misses. While network TV doesn’t demand 100-percent accuracy in replay predictions, executives hope  the  officiating analysts are “tuned in” to proper replay officiating maxims and philosophy, which Carey never seemed to master.

Carey’s departure means there is no officiating analyst for CBS this fall. The network needs to find a former official with the right blend of TV persona and accuracy in rules analysis to fill the position – if they want to do so.

There are very few former officials out there that currently fit the bill.



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?"