Let the Players Play, Dammit

The Super Bowl wasn’t all that super in terms of the play of either team. I thought that Seattle played better than Pittsburgh overall and left lots of points on the field. Pittsburgh played just well enough to win with two big plays propelling them – the 75 yard TD run and the gadget Flea Flicker.

I think the NFL really needs to look at the officiating. It’s been horrible all season, even with instant replay. Actually, instant replay makes it worse because those zebra geezers still get it wrong even after looking at the film. The Super Bowl was marred by some questionable calls. Here’s my take:

The offensive pass interference call on the TD catch by Seattle’s Darrell Jackson was borderline and usually not called unless your name is Randy Moss. Seattle settled for a field goal. 4 point swing.

More disturbing was the dubious holding call that negated a pass to Seattle TE Stevens (one he actually caught, after dropping three), all the way down to the one yard line. As I watched it, I thought the Steeler left DE was offsides, but no flag there. The same DE “drew” the holding call. Seattle threw an interception soon after that. 0 red zone points.

And speaking of that interecption, the ridiculous call on Seattle QB Hasselbeck, a 15 yard personal foul for blocking below the waist, when he made a great tackle on the interception return hurt more than people realize. It gave them field position to feel confident enought to try that Flea Flicker play.

The first Steeler TD could have easily been ruled down before the goal line. I thought the replay showed Roethlisberger was down before he broke the plane, but I can kind of see why they didn’t think it was clear enough (“incontrovertible”) to overturn. By the way, where was this officiating crew during the Raider-New England Tuck Rule shenanigans? Regardless, if it were called no TD on the field, it also wouldn’t have been overturned into a TD, and the official sure took a while to raise his hands on the play. That would have brought up a fourth down and Pittsburgh may still have gone for it and scored, but all I’m saying is it was very fortunate for them.

I also noticed that there were a couple of penalties called (one was a holding on a 34 yard Seattle punt return, which is their favorite penalty to call whether it’s there or not), where ABC didn’t show it on replay. I wonder why. A directive from the NFL perhaps to not show every penalty, lest it reflect badly on their lame officials. That was a big call in that it created a 44 yard swing in Pittsburgh’s favor. This is the biggest game of the year. Why isn’t ABC showing us these replays with their barrage of cameras?

I’m a huge football fan and what I’ve been seeing the last few years is the lousy officiating affecting way too many games. It’s making me question my loyalty to the sport. Something’s gotta be done or the almighty NFL is going to start losing fans.

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