Mike Carey has been “removed” from CBS. Nobody really seems surprised about that. I am, a little. Maybe not so much surprised but disappointed. I went into detail about this on my latest podcast, but I’ll get into it here as well. Basically, I think Mike Carey wasn’t so much terrible as he was improperly used by CBS.

Carey felt at a disadvantage from the start. He was clearly hired for one reason: To be CBS’s version of Mike Pereira. FOX brought on Mike Pereira to join in on broadcasts and commentate on the refs/calls/rules/etc. It was a weird move at the time and honestly when Pereira joined in 2010 I think most of us didn’t particularly care for him. He felt pointless. Here was a former head of officiating basically showing up on TV after a big call and just agreeing with the refs each time. But while his first year or so was rough, he and Fox seemed to figure out a solid groove and now Pereira is honestly one of my favorite parts about Fox broadcasts. He’s intelligent, he offers fantastic insight into the rules, and he does an excellent job explaining all the little nooks and crannies of NFL officiating. When Mike Pereira comes on I’m genuinely happy because I’m I feel like I’m about to learn something. Best of all, now he pretty much speaks his mind and when he disagrees with a call it’s like the boss has given you explicit permission to hate the refs.

What FOX learned pretty quickly in Pereira’s tenure was how to use him. Fox brings Pereira on after big calls, controversial penalties, and during reviews to more or less explain how the rule works. He doesn’t come on just to give a prediction on which way the call will fall. He comes on and gives the viewers as much possible information about the situation involved so that the viewers can make more informed predictions for themselves. He usually offers his prediction on reviews, and states when he thinks things are wrong, but he’s there to give the viewer a better experience by making them feel informed.

CBS seemed like they just brought Carey on to be a “Expert” and demanded him to give a prediction on each call. He rarely seemed to talk about the play, or the rules, they just grabbed him to give an opinion, like cutting to a weatherman and asking the weatherman to just tell us what the weather might be. On top of that, I firmly believe Carey was stuck in a rough behind the scenes situation. He was never on camera like Pereira was, he sounded like he was back in some booth in the studio with a single TV. One moment sticks out to me. I can’t remember the game, or what the disputed call was even about, but on first glance, everyone predicted one result. Including Carey. Then CBS started showing new angles, and the two announcers changed their minds. Carey stuck to his original opinion, but when the announcers brought up the other angle, Carey said something like “Oh, I haven’t seen that angle yet”. Carey seemed to be getting fed less information than every viewer in America and was still being forced to make judgments. On top of that, when they called him in, the play had just happened. He didn’t have time to study the play before making a call, time like FOX gives Pereira. Carey seemed completely caught off guard and from the way it sounded, I think CBS is to blame for that.

It didn’t help Carey that he had zero charisma and was incredibly awkward. Pereira handles himself well on camera. He is cool and calm like a friendly guidance counselor who wants to help. Carey sounded like a non-actor forced onscreen because he knew the script. Which he was. He was there purely to be Mike Pereira. CBS never bothered to see if he would actually work, they just said “Hey, he was a head ref too, it’ll work out exactly the same as FOX” and then threw him into the spotlight to disastrous results. Carey’s hit rate wasn’t even as bad as his reputation and he could genuinely be okay when given a chance to talk like Pereira, but CBS is dumb.

Mike Carey was the head ref for SB42, and he’s the one who held his whistle for that extra second that allowed Eli to escape and bomb it to Tyree. For that I’ll always have a soft spot for the guy. I hope his next place of employment fits him better.