Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Officially speaking: NFC West in focus
By Mike Sando
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
DANA POINT, Calif. -- A few more NFC West plays of note from officiating director Mike Pereira's annual media session Tuesday at the NFL owners' meeting:
- Seahawks at Bills, Week 1: Seahawks receiver Logan Payne fumbles out of bounds following a 23-yard reception in the third quarter. Under a proposed rule, the clock would start when the ball is placed for the next play, not at the snap. This would remove any advantage gained from fumbling out of bounds.
- 49ers at Saints, Week 4: Saints safety Kevin Kaesviharn blasts 49ers receiver Josh Morgan with an illegal hit to the head. Officials do not throw a flag, but the league levies a $25,000 fine. Pereira singled out this play as an example of illegal tactics.
- Cardinals at Jets, Week 4: Jets safety Eric Smith hits Cardinals receiver Anquan Boldin with an illegal hit to the head. Officials do not throw a flag, but the league levies a one-game suspension against Smith. Pereira singled out this play as an example of illegal tactics. He also commended players for getting the message, noting that the league levied two suspensions and a $25,000 fine for illegal hits during the first four weeks of the season, but none thereafter.
- Redskins at Seahawks, Week 12: Redskins receiver Santana Moss provokes Seahawks cornerback Josh Wilson, throwing a punch. The play draws an immediate flag. Pereira pointed to this play, among others, in noting that the NFL would re-emphasize its stance against taunting in its message to teams.
- Giants at Cardinals, Week 12: Cardinals linebacker Gerald Hayes comes off the sideline to taunt Giants running back Derrick Ward after Arizona cornerback Ralph Brown tackles Ward short of a first down with 4:26 remaining in the first quarter. Pereira pointed to this play as another example of taunting, although officials did not throw a flag.
- Vikings at Cardinals, Week 15: Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett pulls down Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackson using illegal horse-collar tactics. Pereira singled out this play, among others, while noting that horse-collar penalties roughly doubled from 2007 to 2008. Pereira called this "disappointing."
These sessions are always informative. Pereira, operating in a more relaxed environment than the regular season allows, tends to be freer in his commentary. He said officiating last season suffered from too many high-profile errors, which he candidly called "train wrecks" that negatively skewed the overall view of officiating.