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Felger and Massarotti were joined by former head of NFL officiating Mike Pereira to discuss the Week 3 performances of the replacement referees.
First and foremost, should Bill Belichick be suspended for making contact with an official last night?
“No. No I don’t. I think he should be fined but I understand what he’s saying,” Pereira said of Belichick. “I think you have to consider the frustration and everything that’s going on right now.”
When Pereira was still working for the NFL, how was it dealing with Belichick?
“He was less of a pain in the ass than other guys actually were. The one thing with Bill, when he did call me, and we did converse from time to time, if he thought one way and I thought another, he wouldn’t try to argue with me to win his point. He would end the conversation by saying, ‘Well, we can agree to disagree.’ And I respected that about him. He was not a guy that would call every week. He would only call if there was really something that he felt strongly about. He never at one single time during my role with the league, he never treated me with any disrespect.”
Switching gears to just how poor the officiating was in the Patriots-Ravens game, Pereira said the two biggest issues for the replacement officials were on full display. For one, the speed of the game continues to be too much for the replacements. They continue to show an inability to make correct calls in the passing game, both before the ball is in the air (illegal contact, defensive holding) and after the passes are thrown (pass interference).
“They’re not used to this speed whatsoever,” Pereira said. “They’re not only not used to the speed, but there’s no such rule as an illegal contact rule in college. So they’ve never seen this before. This is where in my mind the area where they’re really struggling with the calls on the field.”
The other major issue with these officials is simply a lack of control.
“And then the second thing that exposed itself is that there’s just a general lack of control, which to me does come with a lack of respect,” Pereira said.
Is there any end in sight for the referee lockout? Pereiera said he’s not sure, but he’s hopeful that someone like Robert Kraft can lead the charge to put an end to it.
“I have the utmost respect for him and I know he’ll do whatever he can to get this game back to what we all expect it to be,” Pereira said of Kraft. “You just can’t watch it right now and say it’s the same game it’s been in the past.”