The public perception is that NFL on CBS rules analyst Mike Carey is almost always wrong. There are times during Thursday Night Football and during the AFC Championship when his calls seemed to be so far off, they were laughable.
One particular call during the AFC Championship where fans took Carey to task was when Peyton Manning threw a backwards pass. Carey was asked what the ruling would be and said it would be incomplete while the review came back as a fumble.
That analysis along with other calls over the last two seasons have led people to believe that Carey pales in comparison to Fox rules analyst Mike Pereira. But believe it or not, Steven Ruiz at USA Today took the time to review the former NFL referee to see if there’s reality behind the perception. You would think that Carey would be wrong most of the time, but Ruiz discovered that of all of the reviews in which he was asked to comment in 2015, he was actually right 90% of the time.
Carey was asked to comment 44 times on CBS this season and he was correct 36 times. That’s 36 out of 44!
And when he has been wrong, it seems that Carey is very wrong. But that isn’t stopping CBS from using him at the Super Bowl and even next season. During a media conference call previewing Super Bowl 50, CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus said, “I’ve seen some of the criticism, and I think some of it is very hurtful, quite frankly,” which is being quite protective of Carey who has probably heard worse at games when he was on the field.
“But Mike is learning his craft and, I think more often than not, he has gotten it right. But I’ll also say that he has disagreed a number of times in some very high profile situations with what the (replay) officials have come back with.”
But those high profile “disagreements” have given the perception, unfair or not, that Carey isn’t good at his job. And while it’s still hard to believe that Carey is 90% correct, McManus wants the facts to speak for themselves.
“It’s funny, the vast majority of the calls that Mike has made have been correct,” McManus said. “I sit there on Sunday afternoon, and he’ll do sometimes, a dozen different cut-ins to our various regional games, and he’s almost always right.
“Having said that, there have been a couple of big situations where Mike has disagreed with the end result that the officials have made. It’s not uncommon for an announcer to question a call that a referee has made. Unfortunately, when Mike disagrees with the eventual call, he receives an awful lot of criticism. A lot of these calls are judgment calls.
“Mike has perhaps gone out on a limb more than he should in trying to guess or speculate what a call will be, but all he is giving is his opinion of what he would call if he were on the field. And if it’s a different result, I think people get frustrated. But I think people would understand that Mike is only giving his opinion.”
So count this as a vote of confidence from CBS Sports. Apparently the network is doubling down on using Carey until it’s proven otherwise. The perception that Carey is often more wrong than right is still out there, but if he starts getting some high profile calls correct, then the negative sentiment may begin to change, however it’s going to take a while.