Memo: NFL puts brakes on officiating quick-fix

BY Alex Marvez • June 10, 2009

The NFL is revamping its officiating department, but not as quickly as initially expected.

Offseason plans to hire a new vice president of officiating to replace the retiring Mike Pereira were recently placed on hold, according to an NFL internal memo obtained by

Ray Anderson, the NFL's executive vice president of football operations, informed all 32 teams that no decision would be made regarding Pereira's successor until the league's officiating department undergoes a "broader reorganization that reflects recent personnel changes in that group." Anderson wrote that the process "will be completed later this year."

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FOX Sports NFL insider Jay Glazer first reported in January that Pereira was retiring but agreed to stay on for the 2009 season to train his replacement. A source told that the search for Pereira's successor is continuing after initially being whittled to three finalists.

"There are multiple candidates and Ray anticipates identifying additional candidates," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told via email.

Pereira's departure after nine years in his position is one of several changes forthcoming. The NFL is considering naming regional supervisors for officiating crews rather than having them based out of the league offices. Those supervisors and the new vice president of officiating would report directly to Anderson, a former sports agent and Atlanta Falcons executive who was hired by the NFL in 2006.

Aiello said any changes would be made "to continue to improve the officiating function as we aim to do every year."

Pereira has previously told that NFL officials have consistently graded in the upper-90 percentile in recent seasons, but the league had its share of officiating controversies throughout the 2008 campaign. Referee Ed Hochuli botched a call in a Week 2 game between Denver and San Diego that played a major role in a Broncos' victory. Officials also failed to call an excessive celebration penalty against Pittsburgh wide receiver Santonio Holmes when he used the football as a celebratory prop after scoring what proved to be the game-winning touchdown against Arizona in Super Bowl XLIII. Holmes was later fined $10,000 by the NFL. That served as little consolation for the Cardinals, which may have gotten better field position for their final possession had the 15-yard penalty gotten called and enforced on the ensuing kickoff.

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