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Riveron explains Bears’ TD overturn, predecessors skeptical

Is NFL replay getting too technical?



NFL vice president for officiating, Alberto Riveron, explained why he overturned Zach Miller’s touchdown catch on replay, but that explanation did not convince former officiating boss Mike Pereira.

Riveron explained (see Week 8 video) that as Miller’s first leg landed (the one horribly injured), the ball was moving. “Now we know that before he contacts the ground he must regain control of the football because the ball is loose,” he said. He continued, “As he is coming down, one more time we see ball is loose, and now we’re looking to make sure the ball doesn’t hit the ground because we know he does not have control….the ball is on the ground, we know he did not regain control and we have an incomplete pass.”

“We’re getting rulings 50 drunk guys in a bar don’t agree with”

Mike Pereira disagreed. The former officiating supervisor talked to “The Spiegel and Parkins Show” on WSCR-AM, The Score (see October 31 podcast interviews). Pereira is concerned about the direction of replay reviews. “You only make changes if there is indisputable visual evidence now called ‘clear and obvious,'” he said. He continued, “(Dean Blandino) and I were breaking down the play and we concluded that had they ruled incomplete, that we would have reversed it to a touchdown.”

Pereira further observed, “Zach is going to the ground…he doesn’t lose possession on the way to the ground, hits the ground in obvious pain, rolls over on his back still in possession of the ball and lets it go.” Periera and Blandino both agreed that Miller “survived the ground” and it should have been a touchdown. “Where is the ‘clear and obvious evidence’ to reverse it,” Pereira asked. “You do not change the call on the field due to slight movement (of the ball),” he added.

“We’re getting very concerned that the NFL office is getting way too technical reviewing these plays,” Pereira said of him and Blandino. 

“You’re taking a common sense ruling away from officials and reversing it on a technicality. We’re getting rulings that 50 drunk guys in a bar don’t agree with,” Pereira commented.

I am willing to predict that Riveron doesn’t appreciate Pereira’s and Blandino’s comments, but it is illustrative to see that instant replay reviews are an inexact science.


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?"