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Officially speaking: Referee confidential

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

While NFL officiating director Mike Pereira defended referee Tony Corrente on most fronts following the Monday night game, he would have preferred a game with fewer penalties.

The non-penalties were the ones that caught my attention. Corrente waved off four penalties during the game, including one after 49ers coach Mike Singletary tried to challenge a tipped pass.

Corrente spent an unusual amount of time explaining calls that became non-calls during the Cardinals' 29-24 victory.

  • Corrente, after correctly determining that Justin Smith hadn't grabbed Tim Hightower's facemask: "After discussion, the flag will be picked up. There is no foul for facemask."

  • Corrente, after officials flagged Kurt Warner for intentional grounding on the next play: "There is no foul for intentional grounding. It's been reported the ball was thrown to No. 34."

  • Corrente, after officials flagged the Cardinals for pass interference: "There is no penalty for pass interference as the pass was tipped. It will be third down."

  • Corrente, after Singletary tried to challenge whether the pass was tipped: "There will be no challenge on the play as the pass interference would have been picked up as a tangled feet had occurred. There was no foul on the play. Therefore, the tipped pass becomes immaterial."

  • Corrente, after officials flagged 49ers receiver Jason Hill for what initially looked like an illegal substitution: "There is no foul. No. 89 was in the previous play. [He] did not have to come back inside the numbers. Therefore he was legal in the position that he was in."

Corrente and crew still managed to assess 20 penalties for 164 yards during the game. His crew is now assessing more penalties per game than all but three crews.