Mike Pereira sees a daunting task ahead for Al Riveron, the NFL’s new senior vice president of officiating.
It isn’t just that he is replacing Dean Blandino, who Pereira thought “did a remarkable job” as his successor in the role.
‘Dean really worked well with the coaches’
It’s also that Riveron must excel at dealing with the media, something Pereira thought Blandino did exceptionally well and something Pereira did well enough to move to an announcing job with FOX Sports after he left the NFL.
“He’s got huge shoes to fill,” Pereira said Riveron. “… The senior vice president of officiating, one of his priorities is to establish a good working relationship with the clubs and with the coaches and with the GMs and with the president and, in some cases, the owners. And Dean had that. Dean really worked well with the coaches and, at least from everyone that I talked to, they were pleased with the openness that he had with them with the work that he did instructionally with the coaches and their staffs and so, therefore, that’s hard to replace. I know that. I know how difficult that relationship can be and he was really masterful there.
‘I haven’t seen a lot of Al in a public environment where he’s speaking to a group’
“But Al’s just going to have to work on clearly maintaining what Dean was able to put together.”
Pereira said how Riveron, who he considers a “funny” guy, will perform in front of cameras and microphones is largely unknown.
‘You’re never going to win those people over on social media’
“I haven’t seen a lot of Al in a public environment where he’s speaking to a group or speaking to the media, but you have to think that the league knows that it’s very important,” Pereira said. “And I hope that the league does a little bit with him like what it did with me, was to give him some media training. I remember them putting me in an office with some media people from a media training group from Dallas and simulating interviews and stuff like that, and it was very worthwhile.
“So I hope the league does that because if they don’t, you do run the risk of the reputation of officiating even sinking lower than it is, thanks to social media. You’re never going to win those people over on social media, but the presence that you have to have when you speak to the media is very important. The presence that you have to have when you stand up in front of 32 coaches and present what the new rules changes are, that’s critical.”
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