BOSTON (CBS) – With a controversial no-call at the end of the Patriots’ 24-20 loss to the Panthers on Monday night, 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Felger & Mazz were joined by former head of NFL officiating Mike Pereira to get his take on the officials in Carolina.
Pereira, like many around New England and throughout the country, thought the officials should have called pass interference on Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly for wrapping up Rob Gronkowski in the end zone on the final play, instead of picking up the flag and not calling a penalty.
“It’s a tough play that involves a couple of different aspects of the pass interference rule. It all boiled down to the pass being ‘catchable’ or ‘uncatchable.’ The rule book doesn’t really define what is ‘catchable,’ but says it is not interference if a pass is ‘clearly uncatchable,'” explained Pereira. “In the end I think this; you might be able to make a case the pass was ‘uncatchable,’ maybe. But ‘might and maybe’ are not ‘clearly’ in my mind. The fact the back judge threw the flag, the prudent thing to do is to stay with the call on the field.”
“Since the contact was so clearly pass interference, and if the pass wasn’t intercepted it would probably land two feet from Gronk’s feet, you have to stay with the call and leave it as pass interference.”
Pereira said it was obvious that back judge Terrance Miles was unsure of the flag after throwing it.
“The whole things looked a little bit different because when the call is made, usually the calling official runs to the referee to say what he’s got. This time he asked for helped,” said Pereira. “I just look at it sand say, I understand that you threw the flag, and when you try to factor in ‘catchablilty’ we all think about it as a way-overthrown pass out-of-bounds. You can make them ‘uncatchable’ if it’s clearly short, but the act itself — it was like [Kuechly] gave up on the play and committed the foul so [the Patriots] didn’t score a touchdown.
“The league will defend the flag pickup, but if they really look at it and would rather have their druther, not much would be said if they left it as pass interference,” he said.
Pereira went on to say that head referee Clete Blakeman, who said they got the call right following the game, did not factor into the decision to pick up the flag.
“Clete had nothing to do with it other than announcing there was no foul, which he should have expanded on. When I see Terrence throw the flag and immediately ask for help, there is indecision there. I’m all for getting together to discuss plays, but the fact he asked for help means there was indecision and he was probably easily swayed by the side judge and the umpire. I think they easily swayed him out of the call because he was a bit indecisive,” said Pereira.
“I just think they made the decision, a decision when you do look back at the play they’ll honestly wish they left [the flag] down on the field,” he said. “[Gronkowski] was interfered with early; he was only five yards into the end zone when he was getting ridden back. He’s one of the best tight ends in the league and it’s certainly within the realm of possibility he could have made a play on that ball.”
Pereira also discussed a game-changing roughing the passer call from Sunday’s 49ers-Saints game: