The San Francisco 49ers played on Thursday Night Football, which means we have extra time to sit and stew about the things that make us angry. This week, it’s the offensive pass interference call on 49ers receiver Trent Taylor. That call killed the 49ers’ chances of making a comeback against the Los Angeles Rams.
We’ve talked about it plenty and I thought we were done doing so, but Mike Pereira, former NFL head of officiating, weighed in on the call recently and I felt like taking a look at his response. Pereira isn’t a fan of the call, as noted in his column in the Sacramento Bee.
“This is the type of play that I used to really not like when I ran the officiating program in the NFL,” Pereira said. “Why? Because it’s a huge call, and I can’t really prove whether the official is right or wrong. It’s certainly, based on the shot that you got on television, suspect at best.”
He goes on to say that the replays were inconclusive as to whether or not it should apply as a push-off. The first two reasons he gives FOR it, though, are fairly poor reasons as far as I’m concerned.
The TV broadcast showed me two indicators. For one, Taylor, after he caught the pass, actually just got up and went back to the huddle and didn’t complain. He didn’t complain until the next day, in the media. And secondly, the defender, when he was at the sideline, immediately came up and gave the signal as if he had gotten pushed at the top of the route.
I can’t think of a worse reason for making a call than the reactions of the players on the field. Every week officials make decisions based on the reactions of players and it’s a terrible system. Pereira, to his credit, said that those are “just indicators” and that they don’t prove anything. But the fact they give him some semblance of indication at all is pretty backwards, as far as I’m concerned.
Pereira finished by saying that the replay cannot disprove or prove the official wrong or right, and I agree with him. He doesn’t offer any clarity on the call, though, which is unfortunate. Still, he’s asked a couple more questions related to the 49ers and officiating, so go ahead and click through the link above to read that.
For me, the problem with Taylor’s penalty isn’t the letter-of-the-law definition as to whether or not it was a pushoff. The problem is that it was a terribly ineffective pushoff in a physical game where the call, suspect at best, completely changed the outcome in every way. I don’t know if the 49ers were going to win, but even if it were some other team, I’d feel fairly robbed of a great finish to a great game.