Football guru speaks on variety of ethical topics
Published: Thursday, April 12, 2012
Updated: Thursday, April 12, 2012 11:04
When watching an NFL football game on FOX, there is one man who knows more about the rules than anyone else. His name is Mike Pereira, a Santa Clara graduate who returned to his alma mater on Tuesday to give a candid lecture to a capacity crowd at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.
As a television rules analyst, Pereira has become a fixture during the widely viewed telecasts of NFL and college games. If circumstances during a game call for an explanation or interpretation of the rules, Pereira is called upon to give viewers his insight into the situation on the field. Earlier this year, Sports Illustrated dubbed Pereira “one of the NFL’s most indispensable broadcasting talents.”
The reason Pereira knows so much about the rules of the game stems from his career before broadcasting. During Tuesday’s lecture entitled “Have the Rules Caught Up With the Game? Reflections on Football, Concussions and Character,” Pereira explained how during his junior year of college at Santa Clara he accepted a job refereeing Pop Warner football games in East Palo Alto in order to make some extra cash.
“It was like someone stuck a syringe in me and filled me with adrenaline,” said Pereira of his gig as an amateur football official. “It immediately became a passion.”
Pereira followed this passion to the NCAA and then to the NFL before further promotions took him off the field and into the executive arena as NFL supervisor of officiating, director of officiating and, finally, vice president of officiating.
Needless to say, the man has seen it all when it comes to football. Pereira spoke at length about Roger Goodell, the no-nonsense NFL commissioner that has been intent on maintaining the safety and integrity of the league. In the same vein, Pereira did not hesitate to give his opinion about the recent NFL bounty scandal in which New Orleans Saints’ players were found to be receiving monetary incentives for inflicting injuries on opposing players.
“(Football) is a violent game and you motivate players, and I think players try to hit people hard to intimidate them, (not) to hurt them,” explained Pereira.
“I think this is part of the culture that Goodell is trying to change,” he continued, referring to the suspensions and fines that have been handed out following the scandal.
Pereira’s sense of humor was also on display as he drew laughs from the audience when explaining how he has been constantly mistaken in public for Barry Weiss of “Storage Wars,” another television personality with the same slicked-back gray hair and thick-rimmed black glasses. But Pereira also revealed a more sobering aspect of his past when he talked about his battle with testicular cancer shortly after graduating from Santa Clara.
Although Pereira’s life and career path have taken some wide turns, he left the audience with a straightforward message.
“You’ve got to find a passion,” said Pereira,“and you’ve got to try to find a way to life your passion and spend as much time as you can following and being a part of your passion. I’m so lucky to have been given the opportunities that I have because I was involved in my passion.”
Contact Nick Ostiller at firstname.lastname@example.org or (408) 554-4852.