Yesterday, veteran NFL official, Bill Leavy, admitted to making a couple of mistakes in the 4th quarterback of Super Bowl XL between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks.
He didn't specify what the two blown calls were, but I'm guessing one of them was the crucial holding penalty called on tackle Sean Locklear early in the 4th quarter after it looked like the Seahawks would have 1st and goal from the 1 yard-line.
Seattle was pushed back, instead, and a few plays later, Ike Taylor intercepted Hasselback and Pittsburgh put the game away on the famous Antwaan Randle El option pass to Hines Ward.
That call on Locklear wasn't an obvious bad call. Maybe I'm just looking at things with black and gold colored glasses, but I could see Locklear being penalized for holding on the play. Clark Haggans appeared to have him beaten for a potential sack and it looked like Locklear had a hold of the jersey up around the shoulder pad. I mean, it's not like Leavy knew that Seattle was going to complete a pass down to the one on the play. He thought he saw holding and decided to throw the flag.
Nevertheless, the two "kicked" calls will give the Seattle whiners even more fuel for their 5-year old fire.
The Seattle Seahawks, and their fans, are the biggest whiners in the history of sports. Before Super Bowl XL, I didn't even know they had any fans at all, but ever since that day, they've been the "Shoulda been champions."
And even though Leavy said his mistakes occurred in the 4th quarter, I know fans will point out the offensive pass-interference call on Darrell Jackson early in the game that took away a Seahawks' touchdown pass. Well, before you do that, just remember that the head of officials said that if Jackson wasn't called for pushing off of Chris Hope on that play, the official in-question would have been reprimanded.
Another play the "Shoulda been champions" like to cry about is Ben Roethlisberger's touchdown dive in the second quarter. They say the ball never crossed the plain and it "shoulda" been 4th down. Well, the play was called a touchdown on the field and there wasn't enough evidence to overturn the call. It's not like it was blatantly obvious that it "shoulda" been overturned. And aren't there photographs out there that support the officials call that the ball did cross the plain? I believe I've heard that.
A forgotten mistake by the officials that nobody ever talks about was the obvious fumble by Seahawks' tight end Jerramy Stevens in the 2nd quarter. Even Al Michaels commented that it looked like Stevens fumbled on the play but the officials blew the whistle just as the Steelers were about to recover the ball. Seahawks fans don't like to mention that because it doesn't fit well with their theory that the officials handed the Steelers the game.
The bottomline is there were no glaring mistakes by the officials that day.
If you want to talk about glaring mistakes by the officials, what about that Colts game just a few weeks prior? The reversal on the Troy Polamalu interception was one of the biggest officiating mistakes in the history of the league. And how about Randle El getting mugged on a deep pass earlier in the game and no penalty being called?
Great teams overcome stuff like that.
The Seahawks, and their fans, can whine and cry about the calls that went against them, but there are three reasons why they didn't win that day:
1) 3rd and 28. Their defense didn't do the job on that play and allowed Roethlisberger to keep the drive alive. Had they stopped them there, there would be no disputed Roethlisberger touchdown to cry about. Are the officials to blame for 3rd and 28, too? Just wondering.
2) Willie Parker's 75 yard touchdown run early in the second half. The hole was big enough to drive a truck through. Parker wasn't even touched on the play. Were the officials to blame there? I would like to know.
3) Antwaan Randle El's touchdown pass that put the game away. Everyone could see the wide receiver option pass developing from a mile a way. Everyone, that is, except the Seattle secondary. Were the officials supposed to cover Hines Ward on that play? Just wondering.
Seahawks fans, nothing any referee can say 4plus years later is going to change the fact that your team wasn't worthy of that title.
You can keep on crying, but I'm having a hard time hearing you over the Super Bowl parades. Maybe you can post a message about it, but the glare on my screen from all that Super Bowl silver will prevent me from seeing it.
Try as you might, you'll never be able to take Super Bowl XL away from Steeler Nation.
Always and forever, Super Bowl XL champions!