Mike Pereira (born April 13, 1950) is a former American football official and later Vice President of Officiating for the National Football League (NFL). Since 2010, he has served as a rules analyst for Fox Sports.
Before working in the NFL, Pereira spent 14 years officiating college football games, with nine years in the Big West Conference (1982–91) followed by five years in the Western Athletic Conference (1992–96). Pereira moved up to the NFL for two seasons (1996 and 1997) as a side judge on the officiating crew headed by referee Mike Carey. He wore uniform number 77, which is now worn by side judge-turned-three-time Super Bowl referee Terry McAulay. While working for the NFL, Pereira served as supervisor of officials for the Western Athletic Conference.
In 1998, Pereira was promoted to NFL supervisor of officiating. In 2001 Pereira became Director of Officiating for the NFL, succeeding Jerry Seeman, and then was promoted to Vice President of Officiating in 2004. Pereira retired from the NFL after the 2009 season.
From February to June 2011, Pereira was the Pac-10's interim coordinator of officiating, charged with implementing changes in the conference's officiating program. His successor, Tony Corrente, retained Pereira on his staff as a consultant through the Pac-12's 2011–12 football season.
As VP of Officiating, Pereira appeared on the NFL Network show NFL Total Access during the "Official Review" segment, to discuss key calls made during the previous week's games with host Rich Eisen every Wednesday during the season.
In June 2010, it was announced that Pereira would be joining Fox Sports to serve as a rules analyst for the network's college and NFL coverage. He began a column on FoxSports.com and started to provide commentary during Fox Sports football telecasts. During Week 1 of the 2010 NFL season, Pereira correctly predicted that referee Gene Steratore would rule what appeared to be a game-winning catch by Calvin Johnson as incomplete. "That was my first real time of being put on the spot", Pereira would later say. "I was worried to death that the referee was going to say it's a touchdown and I'd be out of a job in one week... It validated my role as to being able to go on and explain things so people could understand why a decision was made on the field. Then at that point on, I got more air time." Pereira is also a frequent guest on KNBR during football season.
In 2012, Sports Illustrated named Pereira as one of the NFL's most indispensable broadcasting talents, saying, "Viewers have longed for broadcasters to provide accurate explanations from the NFL's byzantine rule book, and Pereira, thankfully, has taken the burden off ex-jocks and announcers". Michael Hiestand of USA Today wrote that "after Fox's groundbreaking move to put the ex-NFL vice president of officiating on-air, Pereira proved to be a candid voice — not a shill for the almighty NFL". However, Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times wrote that "Pereira has assumed the role of the overzealous defense attorney ... his appearances generally conclude with him concluding that the referees have gotten it right yet again ... Analyst is the title that FOX hangs on Pereira, but advocate is more appropriate".
Pereira also sparked coverage by others in the media when he criticized the commentary of Monday Night Football announcer Jon Gruden, calling him out as a "blowhard ... who spouts off when he doesn’t know what he’s talking about". Pereira specifically felt that Gruden "butchered" the analysis of two defenseless receiver plays during the telecast of an Atlanta Falcons-New Orleans Saints game. However, Doug Farrar of Yahoo! Sports thought that Pereira should have instead taken the higher road, and Fox should "lay down the law to Pereira [and] needs to be told to put the agendas away".
Pereira was born and grew up in Stockton, California and graduated from Santa Clara University in 1972 with a degree in Finance. Pereira lives in Sacramento with his wife Gail. Pereira commutes to the Fox Sports studios in Los Angeles each weekend during the football season.
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- Washburn, Mark (January 15, 2016). "Television analyst Mike Pereira is with you on referee lapses". The Charlotte Observer.
- Farmer, Sam (June 27, 2010). "Fox Sports hires former NFL top ref Mike Pereira". The Los Angeles Times.