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Mike Pereira Describes Roger Goodell’s Aggressive Shove, Advocates For ‘No Fun League’

BOSTON (CBS) — Former head of officiating Mike Pereira joined Toucher & Rich on Wednesday morning to discuss his new book, “After Further Review.” One excerpt from that book drew a lot of attention this past month, as it detailed an exchange between Pereira and Roger Goodell, who at the time was the COO and executive vice president of the NFL.

That story involved Goodell disagreeing with Pereira, to the point where Goodell got physical.

“He gave me a hard shove into my door to try and continue the argument,” Pereira described.

The confrontation was naturally a discussion point with T&R.

“The incident that I described in the book was clearly not assault, but he did give me a pretty good shove out of frustration when he didn’t get his way,” Pereira said. “Ultimately, I guess in that situation he didn’t get his way.”

Pereira said he had plenty of such arguments with Goodell, and they only increased once Goodell became commissioner.

“Well he was difficult, certainly coming out of the transition with [Paul] Tagliabue. Because Tagliabue was more of a let-you-do-your-job kind of guy, whereas Roger was hands-on just about everything,” Pereira said. “I remember the days, I was in the command center for every game, and when you’re talking about at midnight on Monday or at midnight on Thursday night, if there was a play that came up, maybe a pass interference call, I would never hear from Tagliabue. But Roger, the minute he [became commissioner], he’d call at midnight and he’d want to know what I thought of that call. He was a hands-on guy that obviously has his feelings on how things should be done, and they’re strong feelings on how they should be done.

“Was it difficult? I think yes, and maybe more so for me because I was there when he became the commissioner. This whole thing that happened with the shove happened even before he became commissioner, when he was the No. 2 guy. It’s just born out of stubbornness and frustration.”

The conversation then steered toward Pereira’s stance that Josh Norman’s bow-and-arrow celebration is worthy of a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Rich pointed out that at Patriots games, when the home team scores, people dressed up like Minutemen literally shoot guns into the air to celebrate. So why can’t a player shoot an imaginary arrow into the air?

“Well, I have to admit to you that I am and always have been the duly elected president of the No Fun League. If there is a commissioner of the No Fun League, that would be me,” Pereira stated. “My stance wasn’t so much that I didn’t like the acts, that I felt the demonstrations went too far. I like celebrations. I like spontaneous celebration. What I didn’t like were demonstrations, because I don’t think it spoke to the sportsmanship that these players, and our clubs, and our league needs to put forth that are being seen by young players, players at the Pop Warner level who emulate these stars. And I think, to me, it’s a team sport and all this stuff brings attention on yourself.”

Pereira used the example of the throat slash gesture setting a bad example for kids. Rich asked, “So you think Josh Norman’s whole reasoning behind that motion is that he wanted to murder someone with an actual bow and arrow?”

“I don’t know what’s in Josh Norman’s head. I don’t know. I just think that it’s one of those deals that’s not spontaneous. It’s an image thing for him. It’s something that he developed and other guys starting doing by the way,” Pereira answered.

Pereira was then asked about Antonio Brown’s punishments for shaking his butt after scoring touchdowns. Rich pointed out that, again, viewers can see cheerleaders shaking their bodies on the sidelines for just about every game.

“It’s the same issue — it’s bringing attention upon yourself, and I know that there is an uproar of things, but do you really think that because they don’t let people twerk that people aren’t watching the game?” Pereira asked rhetorically. “I think maybe that’s the difference between you and me and some others. If you look at college football vs. NFL, and I know nobody wants to make that comparison, but to me, you look at college football, and that’s football. If you look at the NFL, I think it’s bordered more on entertainment than it is football.”

Fred said there might not be anything wrong with that development. Pereira disagreed.

“Listen, you need to realize something. I am old and old school,” said the 66-year-old Pereira. “I like the old style football. I’ve had to go through the evolution and player safety that has changed the game, but I’ll never be one that shifts and loves the entertainment value in the league.”

Fred also asked Pereira if that infamous Lions-Cowboys playoff game from a few years back was rigged. Listen to the interview below:

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