There have been few people more critical of the replacement refs than Mike Peirera. Well, except maybe me. But probably Peirera is first in line. He's been brutal. And, again, some of what he's said has been correct. I think the way the officials are being treated is a joke and the replacements are a bigger joke and threat to player safety. But that's just me. And my dumbass opinion.
That is, my dumbass consistent opinion. We all evolve but let me tell you Peirera has really evolved. And by really evolved I mean done a total 180. The most vocal, high profile critic of the replacement officials was once a vocal, high profile supporter.
Peirera is the one-time vice president of officiating. In 2001, during another dispute with the regular officials, also resulting in the use of the replacements, Peirera was the NFL's director of officiating. In that position, he was an ardent supporter of the replacements.
Peirera was interviewed by the Dallas Morning News and was positively glowing about the replacements after they worked a Cowboys game.
"Obviously, the guys can officiate," Periera said then. "They didn't over-officiate this game. There wasn't an abundance of fouls. There was a couple of mistakes as there are in all games. But I was happy with the way that they worked."
Wait, it gets more interesting. In a memo to the replacements that year, Peirera wrote: “We are using you because of your ability and instincts as an official. The game is the same no matter on what level it is played. You officiate the game and we will guide you through the differences in the rules.”
So in 2001, when he was working for the league, replacement officials were good. Now, when he's no longer with the NFL, they're a threat.
But wait, it gets more interesting. The article states this: "One of the alternate officials was Mike Pereira, whose day job is as the NFL's director of officiating."
So, if the article is accurate, Peirera was a backup replacement official.
Oh. Oh. Wow.
Hey, we all evolve. Ten years ago I believed the moon landing was faked. Now, I think there's a base on the moon. See, evolve. It's possible that's what happened with Peirera.
But consider this. The largest current critic of the replacement refs was once not only a public backer, but once, according to a published report, a backup replacement official himself.
This confirms what I've always believed about Peirera that he's a bit of an opportunist. He's in the media now and he's formulated these -- ahem -- newer opinions because it gives him more credibility in his new position of media dude.
To be clear this is no shot at anyone who has cited Peirera's opinions. I agree with them.
But I'm not so sure a man who was once -- according to a report -- a backup replacement and the replacement's biggest advocate -- is the man to be saying them.