Former head of NFL officials Mike Pereira has become a cast member for the "NFL on Fox" production. You probably saw him during the regular season, chiming in from the "Fox Command Center" during instant replay challenges.
Pereira made his playoff debut Sunday when he joined Joe Buck and Troy Aikman in the booth for a segment during the third quarter of the Eagles and Packers. And for what? There wasn't an instant replay challenge on the field but there are new overtime rules and we apparently need to know what Mike Pereira thinks about the new rule.
Not surprisingly, Pereira said the new rule is a "good move by the Commish".
We often hear the pundits talk about drive killing penalties or turnovers; this was the broadcast equivalent: 15 yards for roughing the viewer. Any fan momentum was put on hold because Mike Pereira wanted to reveal that he kisses the back side of the NFL.
Pereira represents a part of what's wrong with the NFL and the mainstream football machine. Football fans and people in general watch the NFL because of the game on the field – the one played by the players playing for themselves and the names on their jerseys. For some reason though, Fox Sports is hell bent on making Mike Pereira a prime character in their NFL production. This really sucks for several reasons:
It symbolizes a period in the game in which the broadcasters have more conversation freedom. The cookie cutter formula for the broadcast renders these segments dull.
Mike Pereira is smug.
Mike Pereira wears annoying glasses. We thought we once saw his mug in a game of Milton Bradley's Guess Who, but it turns out it wasn't him.
Mike Pereira represents the tail end of the snake that is NFL officials and their official league rules. Think about that for a second: he's not a referee, a line judge or even a replay booth worker ... he's the analyst and spokesperson for them. And he interrupts the action on the field of an actual NFL playoff game late in the third quarter. Wow. Sweet call, Fox.
Hey Fox: if you insist on interrupting, at least do it with someone who adds something positive to the broadcast. Instead of trying to promote the Fox brand (Pereira has his own column on Foxsports.com), you could also follow the simple strategy of tailoring conversation to the game.
Less is always more with you clowns.
THE DISAPPEARING PUNDIT MONKEY
Aaron Rodgers earned his first postseason win Sunday completing 18/27 for 180 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INT and a 122.5 rating. He also lost a fumble, which came two plays after James Jones dropped a sure touchdown pass.
Discussion in Punditville prior to the final wildcard game centered on Rodgers winning his first career playoff game: could he do it?
This was hardly the "can Peyton Manning win the big one?" conversation. Rodgers was 0-for-1 following the Packers' 2009 Wild Card round loss to the Arizona Cardinals led by Kurt Warner - who had one of the greatest postseason games in history, completing 29/33 for 379 yards and five touchdowns.
For his part, Rodgers was pretty impressive that day with 429 yards passing, four touchdowns and a rushing touchdown. He also threw a pick, and lost a fumble that was picked up and returned for the Cardinals winning score.
Rodgers' performance in a one game sample size didn't matter to Fox sideline reporter Pam Oliver, who asked her pre-ordained question in a predictable post game interview.
Pam Oliver: "Tell me your emotions right now. Do you feel the monkey is off your back?"
Aaron Rodgers: "I never felt like there was a monkey but I'm just so proud of these guys."
And with that, Aaron Rodgers vindicated himself from well ... people who doubted or ignored his historical efficiency, and people who think he is "haunted" by a monkey. These people honestly believe and project this view even though Rodgers himself says otherwise.
That's not to say we should have ignored the fact that Rodgers hadn't won a playoff game. But to suggest Rodgers had a monkey on his back is ridiculous. Not just because he played so well in his lone postseason game that resulted in a loss, but because Rodgers' back monkey was a work of media fiction.
Foxsports.com's Alex Marvez wrote a whole column
centered on this creation. I'll spare you but one statement:
Alex Marvez: "Since replacing Favre in 2008, everything Rodgers has done is compared to his future Hall of Fame predecessor."
And there we have it, ladies and gentlemen.
Note to Alex: the comparing was only from people like you and Pam Oliver. Here's an idea: come up with an original thought next time. And come up with it after watching the game on the field and not the one that is passed around in Punditville.
FILE THIS UNDER TOO MUCH INFORMATION
You could also file it under "more crap from sideline reporters." Regardless, let's go down to the field to NBC's Alex Flanagan who has something about Matt Hasselbeck's butt fluid.
Alex Flanagan: "Hasselbeck doesn't seem to have trouble moving despite playing with a soft tissue injury he has been battling in his hip and his glute area. He's had a lot of swelling there, so much so that he had to have a large needle inserted into the area earlier this morning. They drained out all the fluid."
Forcing down one more Buffalo wing becomes a chore when Alex Flanagan is overshadowing a moment in the game to talk about the quarterback's glute-fluid. Let's do away with these reports from now on.
The postseason headlines that broke three Saints tackles for a first down ...
Roman Harper suffers first-degree burns during wildcard loss
Source: Saints players drank Drew Brees' supply of Ny Quil prior to kickoff
Todd Haley uses clever misdirection with Chiefs pr guy during post game press conference
Mike Mayock leaves pool of saliva on Qwest Field press box floor
Michaels-Collinsworth season-ending hand pound deemed a failure
Clay Matthews admits to extreme fondness for pit bulls
Andy Reid unfriends David Akers on Facebook