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“What transpired yesterday was unfortunate for our hopes moving forward. We’ll have to find a way to accept that and move forward. I’m not going to lose any sleep over something that happened in a stadium that we weren’t even in.”

There will be top officials in the stadiums during the playoffs _ at least the ones who top the league’s tiered ratings. Pereira calls NFL officials “the very best in the business” and has faith in their abilities.

But he’s also troubled when they mess up on such things as dead-ball fouls, offsetting penalties and relatively simple rulings.

His solution _ one the NFL has considered on a very limited basis _ is to have many more full-time officials.

“My personal belief is the 17 referees all ought to be full time,” says Pereira, now a commentator for Fox Sports. “They need to explore that notion because having only one full-time referee and umpire and line judge and the others makes no sense. It would not achieve to me what having all 17 full-time refs would, because they should be involved with everything. Be involved in proposals of rules changes and teaching their crews and working with the teams in the offseason.”

For this postseason, scrutiny will be very heavy on the men in stripes.


AP Sports Writer Will Graves in Pittsburgh contributed to this story.


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