So after getting all fired up about the NFL’s chief official appearing Wednesday evening on the NFL Network, I totally whiffed and forgot to watch it. Luckily, Greg A. Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Tom Pelissero of the Green Bay Press-Gazette saw it and have expanded quotes on their respective blogs.
The basic message from Mike Pereira, the NFL’s vice president of officiating: No face mask penalty should have been called on the final play of Green Bay’s wild-card playoff loss at Arizona. As the league hinted Monday in its rule explanation, the play apparently falls into the “incidental” version that was removed from the NFL rule book in 2008.
Pereira also noted that referee Scott Green’s job was to follow the ball after it left quarterback Aaron Rodgers' hand to determine possession and whether it should have been a fumble or interception. That explains why Green didn’t see cornerback Michael Adams pull Rodgers’ face mask with his finger.
Said Pereira: “This is the really the one that fell into that category of being in the incidental grab. Because he takes him down but there's no real pull, no twist.”
I’m not sure whether that satisfied you or not, but it’s probably going to be the last word on the subject. Ultimately, I agree with what Packers coach Mike McCarthy said earlier Wednesday: “[A]nytime you're sitting around waiting on calls to win football games, you're in a mode of excuses.”