Pereira Offers Clarity On Official Confusion

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While the picture above is grainier than footage of the Loch Ness Monster, we know that the Sunday Night Football officials are offering two very different set of instructions.

At the top of your screen, head referee Jeff Triplette is signaling third down following a four-yard completion to Redskins receiver Pierre Garcon.

The clock is running inside of two minutes and no official measurement was called for, so the Redskins and Giants hustle up to the line.

But wait.

At the bottom of your screen, head linesman Phil McKinley is (incorrectly) waving the chain crew to move up to mark the first down.

So what do you do?

As a member of the Redskins coaching staff, the chain gang moves the sticks and the down marker is switched to first down. Head coach Mike Shanahan is not looking for Triplette gesturing with three fingers in the air, he’s basing his play call off the official down marker.

From there, he’s going to make an aggressive play call and target tight end Fred Davis 20 yards downfield. Picking up inches on third down was understandably the furthest thing from his mind.

After the game, Triplette offered an explanation that raised as many questions as it answered.

This morning, former Vice President of Officiating in the National Football League and current Rules Analyst at FOX Sports Mike Pereira sat down with FOX Sports Live to explain the play in detail.

WARNING: Before diving in, Pereira promises, “You’re going to see that there is a major crew breakdown.” This review is not for the feint of heart:

5 thoughts on “Pereira Offers Clarity On Official Confusion

  1. Wouldn’t have happened in a game with Peyton or Brady playing. They always benefit from referees whether it’s hitting them too hard….or making sure they always get their first downs…


  2. However, if we had executed correctly, maybe we wouldn’t be in this position. This is all a Case of The Disease of Me. RG3 wasn’t ready to play, and he & Coach rushed him back, but that was their fault. No one was ready to concede and let it take its time…The D has been unreliable. Can’t cover any TE at all!!!, No big play threats anywhere. The 15 yd penalties are boneheaded…Next year, please upgrade at RT, WR, DB- corner, and beast DLineman. Too many complimentary players. The point Im making is everybody has been about themselves and it was shown negatively in critical times of the games. Its from Coach all the way down!!!THE DISEASE OF ME.


  3. Pereira has it partially right–but he still misses some points:

    –The mark was poor. Forward progress was further up than where the officials marked the ball. The official at the top of the screen was closer to having it right, but then the official who actually marked the ball marked it well short of where the top official had said the ball was down. It should have been a booth review of the forward progress.
    –The correct officiating signal for “third down” is an arm STRAIGHT UP in the air, with three fingers extended. Look at the signal Triplette gives in the video above–it does indeed use three fingers, but it’s pointing FORWARD in the direction the ball is moving, not straight up! And THAT is the signal for a FIRST DOWN!!! So BOTH Triplette and the official at the bottom of the screen signalled a first down!

    Come on, NFL–Triplette has to go. He’s been far too incompetent for far too long, with no improvement ever having been shown.


  4. Here’s how you make sure this doesn’t happen again and solve a number of other problems regarding first downs:

    New rule – When a first down is made (including change of possession) the ball is moved back to the nearest yard line. Never forward as this could result in a touchdown being given.

    This way officials can easily eyeball whether or not a first down was made. This also eliminates the silly ritual of bringing out chains and pretending like spotting the ball is an exact science.


  5. So if Triplette is the only one who can declare a first down, how in the world can he tell that anybody was short of the line to gain when he’s five yards off the spot?


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