PHOENIX – Mike Pereira, a trailblazer in the trend of NFL rules experts on TV, thinks Aaron Rodgers has a point.
After Pereira, a former NFL executive, left the job for a role at Fox Sports and achieved tremendous success, executives Gene Steratore, Terry McCauley and John Perry moved on to roles at CBS, NBC and ESPN, respectively. left for Rodgers believed that this mass exodus had watered down the ranks of the league’s officials.
“I liked the logic of it, but it didn’t apply to me because I was already off the field and in the league office,” Pereira told The Post at Fox Sports’ Super Bowl 2023 media day on Tuesday. “He has a point. I feel like officiating is underappreciated from a league standpoint. I think I had a job to do. [as head of officiating] The second most important job in the league. I give Roger Goodell the No. 1 job, but I think what goes into officiating and the integrity of the game, I think that position is so important that if you get the right one, you have to do everything you can. That they should not let them go away.”
Pereira felt that other executives in Goodell’s inner circle were more valuable.
“I don’t think it’s ever been seen as a position among executives at that high level, like EVPs, and I think that’s where it belongs,” he said. “It’s never been this way, and it’s not this way in the NBA and MLB and I think it should be.”
Rodgers lamented the loss to top league officials during an appearance on “The Pete McAfee Show” in January.
“Listen, we have the best referees in the league on TV now,” Rodgers said. “They’re not working in the league office. They’re on TV. Gene Steratore, my favorite referee of all time. I think the way to interact with the guys and interact with them, and then a game. A great guy to understand how to control it without being a part of it. Gene was incredible in that, but Gene is on TV now. Why? Because they pay more.
“Terry Macaulay, a brilliant referee too. He’s not working as head of the league office. He’s on TV. John Perry, another great referee. What’s he doing? He’s working on TV. All these guys who were fantastic White Caps, and all those who have probably left in the last five years. You have eight or nine really good long-time White Cap referees. Are any of them working in the league office? ? no.”
Rodgers called on the NFL to pay its best referees at a level commensurate with their worth.
“If the league was smart, they’d grab one of those guys, pay them whatever they want, and make it a little easier for the refs.” “They have a tough job to do, but some things have to be simplified.”
Dan Blandino, who like Pereira was once an NFL executive and is now a rules expert at Fox Sports, believes the league’s treatment of referees is on the rise.
“I think the league has done a better job of providing resources for accountability over the years,” Blandino told The Post. “This is one area of the league office that really affects the games on the field. You need good people in place. You have to make sure the officials are paid, and that there’s a support system. I think the league has done a better job of doing that in recent years.
A positive against further declines is that the networks’ slots are now filled.
He said that TV is also a great opportunity. “Having the opportunity to come and work for Fox Sports, it’s exciting. And there’s only a limited number of spots, and the networks are always looking for good people, so I think it’s natural that they’re going to be the ones to do it.” Some were going to go. But I think the league has done a good job in terms of providing the resources to get better.
As for what’s improved, Blandino said, “I think they’ve gotten more people involved. [league’s central] The working department has former coaches who add input. Technology and resources from Game Day Central [the league office in New York]. It’s not where it needs to be, but I think they’ve made strides in recent years. They have done a better job of saying that it affects sports and we need good people, processes and infrastructure.
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