In 2010, when Fox Sports hired former NFL officiating czar Mike Pereira to analyze calls both in real time and as somewhat of Monday morning quarterback of the officiating world, few realized how trendy officiating experts would become on television.

Since then, ESPN has added former referee Gerry Austin to its Monday Night Football broadcasts and NBC has used current head of officiating Dean Blandino as a rules analyst. But CBS — which likes to keep bells, whistles and extra voices out of its NFL broadcasts — resisted adding a zebra expert to the fray.

Until now.

As the network prepares to broadcast a slate of prime-time Thursday night games for the first time in 2014, it has pulled veteran referee Mike Carey off the field and into the broadcast booth.

From a network press release:

CBS Sports has added former NFL Official Mike Carey to the broadcast team for coverage of Thursday Night Football on CBS and NFL Network, and THE NFL ON CBS coverage on Sundays during the 2014 NFL season. The announcement was made today by Sean McManus, Chairman, CBS Sports and Executive Producer, THE NFL ON CBS.

Carey will provide rules analysis, interpretation and explanations on Thursday nights from the game site, as well as NFL Network’s studio in Culver City, Calif., and on Sundays from the CBS Broadcast Center in New York City.

Carey was fully expected to officiate his 25th NFL season this fall, but his plans have apparently changed. He’d have been crazy not to take this job, though, because it really is the sort of role he could excel in for years to come.

Like Austin, Carey has reffed a Super Bowl (XLII between the Giants and Patriots), but this is the first time an official has literally come straight from the field into the studio.

If he can do for CBS what Pereira has done for Fox, there’s no doubt he’ll enhance CBS’s product.

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at theScore.com, a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at CBSSports.com, Deadspin, FoxSports.com, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Comeback Media, but his day gig has him covering the NFL nationally for Bleacher Report.

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