Sacramento’s Mike Pereira, a former NFL referee and head of NFL referees, is a rules analyst for Fox Sports. He’s writing a weekly column for The Sacramento Bee throughout the postseason.
What did I do in Green Bay on Saturday? I certainly didn’t go outside.
With the temperature about 7 degrees, I watched both wild-card games with the Fox broadcast crew in the production meeting room. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman didn’t pay much attention to the Raiders-Texans game because they felt neither team would reach the Super Bowl.
As I began to watch the game, I fired up my computer and got on Twitter. There really wasn’t a lot of action on my feed. There were the normal comments of “Your officials missed offensive pass interference,” “Your officials are the worst,” “You hate the Raiders,” “It was a fumble,” etc.
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The outcome was never really in doubt, and the officials didn’t play a decisive role.
During the Giants-Packers game, Green Bay’s Randall Cobb caught a Hail Mary pass to end the first half. Cobb pushed off to gain a little separation. In Hail Mary situations, such contact is not to be called unless it’s to push or pull an opponent to the ground.
My Twitter followers were well rested for the Lions-Seahawks game, and those who tweeted were not happy, especially Lions fans.
Frankly – and it pains me to say this – I don’t blame them. There were too many missed calls on top of an early penalty enforcement that was eventually done correctly, but getting there was a mess.
I said last week that breaking up crews for the playoffs and using individuals working together for the first time may lead to a breakdown in communication. Well, I rest my case. Missed calls included offensive pass interference that would have negated a touchdown, a block in the back by Russell Wilson and pass interference not called because the pass was ruled uncatchable. The pass was catchable. All three of those calls went against the Lions. This officiating group did not have a great game.
On the way to breakfast Sunday, the temperature was minus-1 degree. Game-time temperature was around 12 degrees. Not only were the officials cold, so were we in the broadcast booth.
The booths in all the stadiums are open for sound quality and to provide clear sight lines for the announcers. I may have looked normal on the outside, but underneath I had layer after layer, including a heated vest. Despite the cold, it was a thrill to be there. There is something magical about Lambeau Field.
The early game between the Steelers and Dolphins offered little intrigue.
My Twitter followers were well rested for the Lions-Seahawks game, and those who tweeted were not happy, especially Lions fans. Frankly – and it pains me to say this – I don’t blame them.
During the Giants-Packers game, Green Bay’s Randall Cobb caught a Hail Mary pass to end the first half. Cobb pushed off to gain a little separation.
In Hail Mary situations, such contact is not to be called unless it’s to push or pull an opponent to the ground. Remember the Fail Mary at the end of the Seahawks-Packers game in 2012? Not only should it have been a Packers interception, Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate pushed the defender to the ground before making his bogus reception. That is the type of pass interference the league wants called in that situation.
Other than that, there really wasn’t much in our game, either. There were only five penalties and nary a replay review. Ed Hochuli and his crew had a good game. I will point out that Hochuli had three members of his crew together and the line judge was a member of his crew last year. Familiarity and trust in each other do play a part in officiating.
Off I go to Atlanta on Saturday and Dallas on Sunday. Unless Seattle beats Atlanta and Green Bay beats Dallas, putting the NFC Championship Game in Seattle, the heated vest is retired to the closet for the season. Then again, with the weather we have been having in Sacramento, I might just keep it handy.