Ever wonder what people inside the NFL game really think of coaches and players and owners?
Mike Pereira, the league’s former vice-president of officiating, is free to speak his mind now as a Fox Sports analyst and, in his latest column, he levels former coach/ESPN analyst/possible future coach Jon Gruden: he’s a “loudmouth” and a “blowhard ... who spouts off when he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
Specifically in this column, Pereira was criticizing Gruden’s interpretation of rules in the New Orleans Saints-Atlanta Falcons “Monday Night Football” game. But first, he dropped the gloves:
I am not a fan of Gruden’s. Not today, not yesterday, not when I worked for the NFL and not when I was working on the field as a side judge. He was a loudmouth as a coach who constantly disrespected officials and he is a blowhard in the broadcast booth who spouts off when he doesn’t know what he is talking about.
I respect his knowledge about the X’s and O’s when it comes to coaching and playing the game of football, but I have very little respect for him when it comes to officiating and his knowledge of the rules.
Monday night during the Falcons-Saints game, in the second quarter alone, Gruden butchered two plays regarding hits on defenseless receivers. To me, the second you agree to step into the broadcast booth, you agree to learn the rules. It goes with the job. You, as an announcer, have an obligation to know the rules. You are free to pontificate as to whether or not you like a rule, but you must present the rule first.
Pereira targeted Gruden’s criticisms on two catches in the game and says the former coach doesn’t understand the guidelines on when a receiver is considered to be “defenseless.” After officials had flagged Curtis Lofton for a helmet-to-helmit hit on Marques Colston and did not flag Malcolm Jenkins for a hit on Reggie Kelly, Gruden said: “I just do not understand how games are being officiated.”
Pereira wrote: “Gruden said he doesn't understand how games are being officiated? Correctly and consistently in this case. But that's OK, Jon. Just throw the officials under the bus when you don't know the rules.”
The role as ombudsman of officiating is a natural one for Pereira, which doesn’t always mean he’s right, either. Still, as anyone who follows him on Twitter knows, he is a game-day resource who provides instant guidance on and interpretation of the rules. Last week, he reminded followers that he hates the tuck rule (see the original play here). He also has called the Calvin Johnson rule “a mess” and predicts that it will be for quite a while.
(While we’re on the topic of rules and the correct interpretation of them, Doug Farrar of Yahoo’s Shutdown Corner thinks Jeff Triplette is just making stuff up.)