Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

06 Aug 2010

Referee Bill Leavy Apologizes To Seahawks

"It was a tough thing for me. I kicked two calls in the fourth quarter and I impacted the game and as an official you never want to do that. It left me with a lot of sleepless nights and I think about it constantly. I'll go to my grave wishing that we'd been better. I know that I did my best at that time, but it wasn't good enough. When we make mistakes, you got to step up and own them. It's something that all officials have to deal with, but unfortunately when you have to deal with it in the Super Bowl it's difficult."

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 06 Aug 2010

64 comments, Last at 30 Oct 2011, 5:45pm by Fastd03

Comments

1
by akhhorus (not verified) :: Fri, 08/06/2010 - 9:27pm

What mistakes? The Holding call on Locklear was correct and the Offensive PI on Darrell Jackson will be called everytime when you do it in front of the backjudge?

64
by Fastd03 (not verified) :: Sun, 10/30/2011 - 5:45pm

Dude, how block-headed can you be?? A ref apologizes for calls he made that HE himself thinks are wrong after years of looking back at them, and you think you somehow know better? Get over yourself...

2
by alexbond :: Fri, 08/06/2010 - 9:37pm

YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES!

3
by Basilicus :: Fri, 08/06/2010 - 9:39pm

Not only was that the worst officiated Super Bowl I'd ever seen, it might be the worst officiated game. I remember trying to get a number of friends to understand football better and get them into the game during that Super Bowl, and I just felt embarrassed for how badly it was called.

These were bad calls, sure, but there were a number of other potential calls on the Steelers that were passed up over the course of the game. I'm not a big fan of either team, and I still believe the Steelers would've won either way, but it would have been a hell of a lot closer and more fun to watch had that game been called anywhere close to properly.

4
by chemical burn :: Fri, 08/06/2010 - 9:59pm

Wait, what the hell calls is he thinking of? All of the calls that Hawks fans whine about most vocally occured early in the game. Anyway, this is ridiculous and that it's FO's pet outrage is easiy the lowpoint of this site...

5
by tuluse :: Fri, 08/06/2010 - 10:07pm

FO's pet outrage

I have yet to see a single employee comment on this. They just posted an article that people might find interesting.

14
by QCIC (not verified) :: Sat, 08/07/2010 - 3:40am

It has been mentioned very extensively and repeatedly in the past. Though in my opinion somewhat rightfully so.

18
by Rocco :: Sat, 08/07/2010 - 12:47pm

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/audibles/2006/audibles-line-super-bowl

"My three MVP choices for the Steelers...
1. Hines Ward
2. Casey Hampton
3. The officials. A badly officiated game, and almost all the questionable/bad calls went in the Steelers' favor. I don't think Roethlisberger scored. I think the Jackson PI was questionable. I think the hold on Locklear was a terrible call, and I'm the guy who said before the game that Locklear holds all the time. The personal foul on Hasselbeck was absurd. Joey Porter probably should have gotten called for a horse-collar tackle. Peter Warrick's long punt return was called back on a hold that I didn't see (although just because i didn't see it doesn't mean it didn't happen.)"

"Still, Seattle got the worst of it with the refs today."

"And, if you don't buy the idea that the officiating was slanted against Seattle, at least you have to admit that the officiating has been controversial all postseason to the point where nobody seems to know what counts as a penalty anymore, and the league has to do something about this."

" Pittsburgh fans need to understand just how angry the response is, on our site and others, from neutral fans of the other 30 teams."

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/audibles/2009/audibles-line-super-bowl-...

"Seattle gets their revenge!! For the NFC West!"

That's just two threads off the top of my head. That's not including the quotes from the Seattle fans on the staff that have popped up over the years or Doug Farrar "accidentally" calling them the Stealers in FP 2007. They've been whining about this for years. MDS tried to do a piece detailing how terrible the officiating was a few days later and made a pretty good case that Locklear was mugging people all game and finally got caught.

Interestingly enough, the worst officiated game I've ever seen (Steelers-Chargers from November 2008) didn't even warrant a mention in that week's Audibles. Oh yeah, cause the Steelers won that game and made the terrible officiating irrelevant. But the ref admits to mistakes four years later and a Seattle fan on staff breathlessly puts up the XP link.

19
by FireOmarTomlin :: Sat, 08/07/2010 - 1:03pm

Steelers overcame the worst call of that postseason (if not ever) in Indy getting to the SB40.
League gave them a formal apology for it IIRC.

Anyways, about the infamous "low block through tackle" whinefest and the league loving the Steelers and conspiring against everyone else...

http://espn.go.com/nfl/playbyplay?gameId=251128011&period=0
http://espn.go.com/nfl/playbyplay?gameId=251204023&period=0

Oh wait, they called it AGAINST THE steelers twice that very same season on INT returns ?

WHAT ?!?!?! Inconceivable.

---------------------
Men are more ready to repay an injury than a benefit because gratitude is a burden and revenge a pleasure.

20
by Rocco :: Sat, 08/07/2010 - 1:40pm

Ah yes, that game. No one in FO's staff mentioned that play in that week's Audibles. Can't imagine why. Oh yeah, because it was irrelevant.

21
by FireOmarTomlin :: Sat, 08/07/2010 - 2:18pm

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/audibles/2006/audibles-line-divisional-...

wow, I couldn't believe it, but you're right.

disgraceful to not even discuss that play and then devote 2309488209 comments to the locklear hold and the hasselback low block through tackle (which per above was called on the steelers 2x that very season)

really makes me rethink buying anymore FO products in the future. I expect trolling from posters (like myself), but not from real contributors...

-------------
Men are more ready to repay an injury than a benefit because gratitude is a burden and revenge a pleasure.

40
by Jimmy Oz (not verified) :: Sun, 08/08/2010 - 11:03pm

This is going to look like piling on, but #39 is in response to #4 and this is in response to the thread and the Steeler Faithful:
You're arguing that the referee didn't unfairly influence the game in favour of the Steelers after the referee admits he unfairly influenced the game in favour of the Steelers.

Summary:
1. Steelers win SB with contentious calls from referees.
2. 4.5 years pass.
3. Referee apologises to Seahawk fans, admitting that he unfairly influenced the game in favour of the Steelers.
4. Steeler fans complain that Steelers won SB purely on skill, ignoring referee's comments entirely, citing circumstantial evidence from other games.

This EP shouldn't have been a discussion on the actual calls. We didn't need to have a discussion on the actual calls. The referee just admitted to blowing them in favour of the Steelers.

So why the homerism, ashamed of your tarnished victory?

45
by nat :: Mon, 08/09/2010 - 9:04am

Several problems with your analysis.

1) Many non-Steeler fans do not think the game was unfairly influenced, at least not in any unusual fashion. As a fan, I would have preferred a closer game. But that's exactly what a ref should not be considering in making his calls.
2) The referee apologized after 4.5 years of harassment by Seahawk fans. That says more about Seattle than it does about the ref.
3) The referee never said that his calls affected the winner of the game. Why not? Because they didn't. He never said that he was "biased" intentionally or otherwise. Why not? Because he wasn't.
4) The referee apologized for "kicking" two fourth quarter calls. Assuming one was the bogus penalty an interception return that had no impact at all on the game, that leaves one holding call. BTW, the league quickly acknowledged that the penalty of the return was a blown call, saying roughly that the referee thought he saw a block on one player when it was a tackle on another. A bad call, clearly, but without major effect.

That puts the MDS analysis of holding calls well into play, and anything else about the game out of play for this discussion.

So, would I demand that the Steelers' victory be considered "tarnished" because one holding call was made on a play when a nominally neutral (actually pro-Seattle) analysis showed that holding occurred? Not at all.

The rest of the case comes down to a statistical question about the frequency of holding calls and actual holding. Is it outrageous that the team that passed the ball more than twice as often and committed holds (by MDS's pro-Seattle analysis) twice as often ended up with two holding calls against it? Hardly.

If you wanted to be fair, wouldn't you also ask "Why did uncalled holds favor the Seahawks 14-8?".

The answer is that not all holds are called, and that the distinction between a called hold and an uncalled hold has to do with many factors, not just "flagrency" of the hold. Was it visible to the ref? Was it near the QB? Did the defender go to the ground or get spun around? Did the hold alter the rush in a way that a legal block would not have - that is, did the hold result in an unfair advantage? Had the blocker been making uncalled holds before and how often?

Finally, MDS's analysis included this gem:

If the officials had called holding on two inconsequential plays and ignored it the rest of the time, no one would much care. But Locklear's penalty negated an 18-yard Jerramy Stevens catch that would have given the Seahawks first-and-goal from the one-yard line, where they very likely would have scored and taken a 17-14 lead with less than 12 minutes remaining in the game. Instead they faced first-and-20 from the 29-yard line, Matt Hasselbeck threw an interception three plays later, and Pittsburgh's subsequent touchdown effectively ended the game.

The awful thing (in MDS's above opinion) wasn't two holding calls. After all, there were 24 holds in the game, and the Seahawks committed two-thirds of them. It was that after the second hold was called, the ball was caught. And several plays after the second call was assessed, an interception was thrown. And on the next drive the Steelers scored.

The outrage comes down to this: that horrible, baised referee did not travel back in time to change his call to favor the Seahawks!

47
by Peepshowmopguy (not verified) :: Mon, 08/09/2010 - 1:41pm

Let me first say that the Seahawks did not do enough to win that game, so the Steelers rightfully won, however…

@ nat – The problem with YOUR analysis:

1) If many Steelers fans believe the game was unaffected by the referees, then explain to my why they so fervently defend and over analyze the calls made during the game. Steelers defenders are just as insufferable as Seahawks fans when it comes to this game. If there was no doubt that this game was called correctly than this conversation would never occur, and as an outsider I would say the vast majority of the football world disagrees with the fans from both teams.

2) Yeah, you made this up. Leavy has never stated that he has ever been harassed by a Seahawks fan. In fact his omission of guilt comes from a need to clear his own conscience. An important note from the August 6th Seahawks practice from John Morgan who blogs the Seahawks for SB Nation (one of the best analyzing bloggers btw)…

“Bill Leavy was free of harassment by onlooking Seahawks fans. This was an opportunity to be classy, but instead I think fans were simply unaware. Few seemed to recognize Leavy, even when he called a holding penalty during scrimmage. If that's not an unforgettable image .”

BTW nat, its really unclassy to challenge someone on their analysis and then just make things up.

3) You are correct that he did not spicifly state that his calls affecte the winner of the game. However by the use of the word “impact” he aknoledge that he altered the corse of the game and that MAY have changed the results. It is implicit in the use of the word.

4) To say that the calls didn’t affect the outcome of the game is revisionist history, and the fact that the NFL later acknowledged that the illegal blocking call was bogus does not diminish its consequence. The two calls in question set into motion a chain of events, which turned the game on its head. A referees job is to keep the game within the confines of the rules, not to “impact” the coarse of play. Therefore, your attempt to then isolate the holding penalty as the only valid argument that can be made is illogical.

Your argument that not all holds are called, and that there are mitigating factors for why holding penalties are called, while true, is irrelevant. It is a deflective argument that fails to address the subject at hand, and simply serves to redirect the issue. It’s a cheep debating technique. The call was ticky tacky at best, and Leavy himself states it was a mistake.

My note to Steelers and Seahawks fans alike:

Dear Seattle Fans: I am sorry you are long suffering sports fans whose experience can best be characterized as manic/depressive (See 2001 Mariners, 93-98 (96) Sonics). Perhaps the salt in the wound is that your team is now horrible, and you hold on to the false believe that if it weren’t for a few bad calls, you would have at long last had a team that achieved the greatness you so longingly covet. It is time to end your grieving process and let go.

Dear Steelers Fans: I am sorry that you feel that your first Superbowl is “tarnished” by the simple fact that there are conversations that SBXL was “tarnished.” You and I both know that you’re really more embarrassed by the fact that you won despite Roethlisberger posting one of the worst QB performances in SB history, and by far the worst to ever win. Combining this with his propensity to ride motorcycles without a helmet, and his tendency to get a little to “rapey” with women, you’re rightfully second-guessing your hero. Rest assured that your second SB in as many years justifies your team’s greatness, and continuing to argue with grieving Seahawks fans about XL is the only thing still keeping it relevant in sports.

-The Peepshow

50
by Jimmy Oz (not verified) :: Mon, 08/09/2010 - 9:04pm

I'd accepted the result, my opinion was:
- Refs were biased in favour of the Steelers
- Steelers won the Super Bowl
- A relationship between these two events cannot be proven or disproven

Whatever opinion Steeler fans had, it was theirs and they were welcome to it.

Then the referee admitted to blowing calls in favour of the Steelers and my opinion didn't change:
- Refs were biased in favour of the Steelers
- Steelers won the Super Bowl
- A relationship between these two events cannot be proven or disproven

Steeler fans just want to argue about everything because they're unable to accept that the referee was biased.

It is the worst Homer effort i've ever seen on this site.

55
by Jerry :: Tue, 08/10/2010 - 6:58pm

If many Steelers fans believe the game was unaffected by the referees, then explain to my why they so fervently defend and over analyze the calls made during the game.

Because that was (and I guess still is) THE topic of discussion about the game. It wasn't Steeler fans who started that discussion.

I am sorry that you feel that your first Superbowl is “tarnished” by the simple fact that there are conversations that SBXL was “tarnished."

Sixth Super Bowl. Fifth Championship. And including the subsequent championship, all six Lombardi Trophies are wonderfully shiny, thank you.

39
by Jimmy Oz (not verified) :: Sun, 08/08/2010 - 10:35pm

Yes, but the referee admitted to unfairly influencing the game in favour of the Steelers.

6
by Raiderjoe :: Fri, 08/06/2010 - 10:21pm

Gane was wosrt officiatdd game

7
by Raiderjoe :: Fri, 08/06/2010 - 10:27pm

Steelers akways gettijg calls. B. Barnes interference call in sb 13 horrible call. Tatum difnt touch ball in 72 playoff game but refs wimped out becuause didnt want to get beaten up by unruly pittt fans in parking lot after game so said what the hell we'll say tatum touched it and td is goof. Steelers win 13-7.
Then there waa fumble in sb 9 when larry brown think it was who fumbled but refs said no.

11
by 3.14159265 (not verified) :: Sat, 08/07/2010 - 12:54am

Scratch a raiders fan, get another conspiracy. Tell me more about the tuck rule game.

Is poster drunk?

13
by billsfan :: Sat, 08/07/2010 - 3:16am

You must be new here...

(I also like the Eagles)

16
by Raiderjoe :: Sat, 08/07/2010 - 9:00am

corrtetc call was made in Raiders-Nep 2001 playoff hame but rule very very stupid. if common sensne existed rule would nevere have beenn in book and Raiders would have won game

22
by Richard :: Sat, 08/07/2010 - 2:54pm

I hate the Raiders, but Raiderjoe is right.

28
by o rly (not verified) :: Sat, 08/07/2010 - 5:00pm

Actually, the tuck rule call was wrong, funnily enough.

48
by raiderjoes#1fan (not verified) :: Mon, 08/09/2010 - 2:09pm

Do not question the omnipotent raiderjoe. His knowledge and understanding is beyond the grasp of mere mortals. He has football power that transcends time and space, and if it weren’t for him imparting his mercy upon our feeble fandom, the Raiders would become our supreme football overlords.

I shall sacrifice this Sierra Nevada Pale Ale at the shrine of raiderjoe, that he may take pity upon me and allow me to continue in this sorry state of existence. May he never post sober, lets the very fabric of the universe unravel.

All hail raiderjoe!

12
by Marko :: Sat, 08/07/2010 - 2:22am

"Tatum difnt touch ball in 72 playoff game but refs wimped out becuause didnt want to get beaten up by unruly pittt fans in parking lot after game so said what the hell we'll say tatum touched it and td is goof. Steelers win 13-7."

I remember hearing a story about the Immaculate Reception saying that before the referee ruled it a touchdown, he got on the phone with someone upstairs to find out how many security guards could protect him on his way out of the stadium if he ruled the pass incomplete. According to the story (it might have been told by John Madden), the referee was told that he would have six security guards. Evidently thinking that was nowhere near enough security, the referee supposedly responded, "Six? Then it's six for Pittsburgh!"

8
by loneweasel (not verified) :: Fri, 08/06/2010 - 10:37pm

As if anyone believed it wasn't fixed...

9
by Tom Gower :: Fri, 08/06/2010 - 11:08pm

As a neutral fan (more or less), my anger was at the officials for robbing us of a better game. I thought the officiating was merely obviously of extremely poor quality, in a way that on the whole favored the Steelers, rather than biased against the Seahawks or in favor of the Steelers.

For more on the game, see MDS's Sean Locklear and the 22 Uncalled Holds.

10
by 3.14159265 (not verified) :: Sat, 08/07/2010 - 12:51am

Not sure why you think "in a way that on the whole favored the Steelers, rather than biased against the Seahawks or in favor of the Steelers. and reference the 22 uncalled holds article.

23
by chemical burn :: Sat, 08/07/2010 - 2:59pm

That article is easily the worst thing ever written for FO and the main reason I was glad to see MDS go from FO. The article displays a fundamental misunderstanding on the very nature of penalties, how they are called and why. It was bush league - and really profoundly stupid.

I agree it was a bad game - but the crappy play of both teams was at fault. The Seahawks fans to this day whining about borderline calls like the holds and push-offs (which, by the way, the ref linked to above isn't lamenting) is infuriating - those calls were AT WORST borderline, they weren't phantom penalties and the fact that there were 22 similar instances of such play means that the officials were in a position that they had to start cracking down on the borderline stuff. Just ridiculous, especially when you compare it to a truly blown call or phantom officiating like the AFCCG that year that almost robbed the Steelers of a SB berth... If you're still angry that the officials called penalties that were PROBABLY penalties, but didn't call them on every single play they could have, then you simply have no idea how officiating works or what its purpose is in the game - I expect better analysis from FO.

(to Doug Farrar's credit, he's FO's biggest Seahawks fan and also the least vocal on the issue...)

24
by FireOmarTomlin :: Sat, 08/07/2010 - 4:08pm

wut ?

he's on full whine central on yahoo
http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/blog/shutdown_corner/post/Super-Bowl-XL-head...

no mention of any questionable calls that benefited the seahawks though, of course. I guess there weren't any ;)

http://blog.seattlepi.com/football/archives/217268.asp

too bad I have to admit the squawk players have far more class than the average fan apparently.

----------
Men are more ready to repay an injury than a benefit because gratitude is a burden and revenge a pleasure.

25
by dbostedo :: Sat, 08/07/2010 - 4:12pm

Hmmm....I don't see anything wrong with assuming that the ultimate goal of officiating is to call every single penalty that happens on every play. It's basically to prevent cheating/performing illegal acts. I thought that article was good to enlighten people on how far from that the game (or the whole sport for that matter) is.

"The article displays a fundamental misunderstanding on the very nature of penalties, how they are called and why."

Please enlighten me, since I, and I assume many others, aren't clear on what you think the nature of penalties is and how they're called. I'm legitimately curious.

I guess I could see someone arguing that the real role of officiating is to keep things even between the teams, or to allow for fair play. In that case, maybe every penalty shouldn't be called. Of course, I'd say that the official should still call every penalty, but with some interpretation of the way the rules are written (since it's often hard to put into words what most people would agree is a penalty).

So what's your stance on the purpose of officiating?

32
by DoubleB4 (not verified) :: Sat, 08/07/2010 - 9:20pm

"Please enlighten me, since I, and I assume many others, aren't clear on what you think the nature of penalties is and how they're called. I'm legitimately curious."

Since I agree with chemicalburn (and also thought the article was disingenuous) I'll attempt to answer. 7 officials cannot watch 22 players in a fast moving environment and catch everything that's against the rules. It's impossible. So they watch for certain clues. A great example is the PI call against Jackson in the end zone. On a second and third watching I don't think Jackson really pushed off BUT the referee saw his outstretched hands in a "push off" mode and made the call. That gesture is what he's taught to look for and what he called. Had Jackson created that space with his shoulder or with his hands below the waistline (as WRs are taught to do), that call probably doesn't get made even if the result is the same (granted that's not something Jackson could have done on this particular play).

Secondly, during the game coaches and players will often go to an official and ask him to watch something specific about a certain player. It's possible that someone on the Steelers asked an official (Leavy) to watch Locklear a little more closely during this time frame and make the holding call.

Thirdly, it's possible that Locklear was warned by an official (on his own without prompting by the Steelers) that he was borderline holding and that he needed to watch his hands and make sure they were within the framework (or whatever his particular issue was). This probably didn't occur based on Leavy's admission, but this does happen quite a bit.

36
by chemical burn :: Sun, 08/08/2010 - 11:37am

DoubleB4 is right, but there's also this fact: every play, there are a host of borderline offenses that COULD draw a flag. Offensive holding and a WR pushing-off are two things that some borderline variation on happens on almost every single play. A ref has to determine when a team is inching over the border and starting to draw an unfair advantage from constantly skirting penalizable offenses - for example, when a WR scroes a TD after a push-off or after a completion to the 2-yard line after an o-lineman commits what is (at very least) ARGUABLY a penalty. The ref is, in essence, saying "that's it, this behavior needs to stop, you are drawing an advantage from creeping over the line." If you called it on EVERY SINGLE play, then the game would go nowhere - and even an average footabll doesn't want that, they want the borderline offenses cracked down on only when a team begins to draw an advantage from them. If the Seahawks (and their fans and the "objective viewers" - of which I am one, I should add) don't want these penalties called, then they have only the players to blame.

A ref's decisions are by their nature subjective in all but a few cases (the QB sneak going over the line is agood example of one that is not - or false start), there's no way to eliminate that element and no penalty has an absolute, Platonic ideal - every push-off, every hold, every low block, looks slightly different than any other example of the same penalty - a ref's job is to interpret what is happening on the field, not "call balls and strikes," which is impossible anyway. The name of the game is putting a stop to competitive advantage gained through illegal tactics. No one disagrees that everything (aside from the exceptions for which they have apologized, which were hardly game-changers) the refs called COULD have been called and were in a vacuum reasonable calls, folks are whining about consistency. Which, to me, displays a fundamental misunderstanding of the function and purpose of calling penalties.

37
by dbostedo :: Sun, 08/08/2010 - 2:39pm

Thanks for the clarification. I think we mostly agree with regard to the uncertain nature of a lot of calls; But I don't find the article to be out of touch with that. It just takes a very strict look, with a particular person's interpretation on replay.

One thing I don't agree with though is that "A ref has to determine when a team is inching over the border and starting to draw an unfair advantage from constantly skirting penalizable offenses".

I still think that the role of the ref is to call all penalties he sees according to how they are defined in the rules. I understand that there are borderline cases and the rules can't be written clearly enough. Heck, there are probably plays that could be called either way even with lots of multi-angle instant replay. But that doesn't mean that the refs should call something that isn't truly against the rules, or let slide something that it. You make it sound like the refs are free to pick and choose what to call more than I think they are.

"If you called it on EVERY SINGLE play, then the game would go nowhere..."

Well at first, but players would change their behavior as long as the rule itself wasn't written in such a way as to make the game unplayable. I don't think a ref should let penalties go because he felt they didn't matter - it's not really up to him. Say they added a couple of refs and cameras just to crack down on holding. You might get a hold call every play - at first. After a little while, though, you'd probably see offensive lineman and schemes change quite a bit. And I don't see anything wrong with that.

41
by Jimmy Oz (not verified) :: Sun, 08/08/2010 - 11:08pm

Yes, but the referee has admitted to blowing calls in favour of the Steelers in his apology to Seahawks fans.

You see how this gets repetitive?

15
by JJohnson (not verified) :: Sat, 08/07/2010 - 8:54am

I'm not a fan of either team, but I had a feeling the ref crew was going to be bad when Big Ben went for the QB sneak for the the TD and the far line judge came running in to spot the ball with one arm up while standing outside of the endzone. Then all of a sudden he throws the other arm up and signals touchdown.

17
by FireOmarTomlin :: Sat, 08/07/2010 - 10:43am

Ahhhh, the squawks butthurt is still great over this I see. As if there weren't missed/bad calls in the game that affected the Steelers too. (Not to mention the implied Locklear call was a hold, etc...) Now you want to talk about BAD officiating? Go back to 1/15/2006 in Indy, where despite video replay in use, a play was overturned into the wrong decision on insane tard-logic. Yet the Steelers still manned up and won the game (barely). That's the type of call you might actually cry about if you lose a game. Maybe. It's the type of call that was bad enough the league issued a formal apology over it.

--------------------------
Men are more ready to repay an injury than a benefit because gratitude is a burden and revenge a pleasure.

38
by Spielman :: Sun, 08/08/2010 - 9:47pm

What's interesting is which person in this thread is actually coming off as the most "butthurt".

26
by Temo :: Sat, 08/07/2010 - 4:47pm

- Official in charge of a SUPER BOWL issues an apology for his performance, a VERY notable news event.

- Link is provided with no editorial opinions expressed

- FO readership reaction: "YOU GUYS ARE SO BIASED, GET A LIFE"

Well ok then.

27
by Hari-Kiri Bengals Fan (not verified) :: Sat, 08/07/2010 - 4:53pm

I'm obviously biased, but I watched the game with neutral fans (fans of teams that aren't in the AFC North or NFC West), and they agreed with me--they thought the officiating was absolutely horrible.

p.s. Steelers fans? Given your QB's current situation, I urge you to avoid the term "butthurt."

29
by Bright Blue Shorts :: Sat, 08/07/2010 - 5:35pm

Ahhhh what a stupid thing to come out and say ... it just encourages them.

After all, I don't recall the officials making a bad call on Willie Parker's 75 yard run ... I don't recall them making a bad call on Hines Ward's 43 yard TD reception ... the Big Ben TD was marginal but hey, that could go either way on the evidence available.

I just think that if the Seahawks defense had performed a little better, or their offense had; or if they'd had a punter who hadn't put four of his six kicks out the endzone for touchbacks they might have had a chance to be world champions. Blaming the officials is just rubbish.

33
by Ken (not verified) :: Sun, 08/08/2010 - 12:32am

I think the fact that there was no bad call made on Parkers run or Wards reception is actually the point here. If it had been Alexander tearing off a 75 yard jaunt down the field, the chances seem to be much greater that the refs officiating that game would have made a bad call. Same holds if a Seattle reciever is catching the touchdown rather than the Steeler reciever... for example Jacksons phantom interference call taking points off the board. The fact that the refs didn't make bad calls on the Steelers doesn't somehow mean it wasn't a full blown travesty. The qb sneak "TD" could go anyway on the evidence? That is just laughable. It's hard for defenses and offenses to perform as well as possible when they are playing against the stripes as well.

34
by FireOmarTomlin :: Sun, 08/08/2010 - 1:59am

How about it's hard for defenses to perform well every time they take it away from the other team the refs rule the play dead (erroneously). ?

derp derp derp.

I suppose you forgot about the Stevens "incomplete" and the Hasselbeck "down by contact" for example? Or is your bad call outrage just hypocriticaly selective? Surely you didn't just post those 1-sided examples by chance?

derp derp derp.

In what respect, Leavy?

------
Men are more ready to repay an injury than a benefit because gratitude is a burden and revenge a pleasure.

42
by Jimmy Oz (not verified) :: Mon, 08/09/2010 - 12:09am

The officiating was unfair, and the referee has admitted it.

I think you should understand and accept that the Steelers were the beneficiaries of referee's errors instead of demeaning yourself and other mentally handicapped persons.

43
by FireOmarTomlin :: Mon, 08/09/2010 - 1:30am

You actually think Stevens "incomplete" and Hasselbeck "down by contact" calls, among others, were decent? LMAO.
What a disgrace to NFL, not to mention Squawk fans.

What was it like growing up in a house with all your clothes on the floor?

--------------
Men are more ready to repay an injury than a benefit because gratitude is a burden
and revenge a pleasure.

44
by Jimmy Oz (not verified) :: Mon, 08/09/2010 - 4:10am

No matter what any Steeler fans has to say about the officiating, the first hand admission of guilt by an official that officiating was biased in favour of the Steelers takes an overriding signifigance over the Steeler fans' opinions.

I don't have to look at any plays. These arguements of yours from 5 years ago about the referees, they're no longer valid. Bill Leavy's comments ended the discussion about the referees.

They were biased.

That's it as far as i am concerned. I know you want to argue specifics, but what's the point when even the referee says the referees were biased?

And thats how any conversation about the game should be from now on. Sorry Steeler Nation, maybe you will just have to accept that you were the beneficiaries of an unsought unfair advantage that won you another Lombardi trophy.

Or you can be cunts about it. your choice.

46
by Rocco :: Mon, 08/09/2010 - 11:05am

Actually, he never admitted to bias. He admitted to blowing calls. Bias suggests he wanted the Steelers to win. I realize Seahawks fans have convinced themselves of a global conspiracy against their team in SB XL, but that's not what the referee said. Besides, last time I checked, teams have won games where bad calls go against them. I suppose next people will say that Leavy sprayed green mist in Hasselbeck's eyes before he threw the INT.

49
by Jimmy Oz (not verified) :: Mon, 08/09/2010 - 7:42pm

Actually, he never admitted to bias. He admitted to blowing calls. Bias suggests he wanted the Steelers to win. I realize Seahawks fans have convinced themselves of a global conspiracy against their team in SB XL, but that's not what the referee said.

--The first web definition for bias is "influence in an unfair way" if you search under google.

Besides, last time I checked, teams have won games where bad calls go against them.

--Last time i checked it was raining out side. What's the relavance of this other than to admit the calls in SBXL were bad?

I suppose next people will say that Leavy sprayed green mist in Hasselbeck's eyes before he threw the INT.

--No, just that he was biased in favour of the Steelers and it impacted the game. The same thing Leavy said. Its not hard. Every conversation should end the same way and this is what's good about it for Seahawk fans.

Story of SBXL is Steelers won, ref was biased. Why can't you accept it?

51
by Rocco :: Mon, 08/09/2010 - 11:58pm

You keep using that word, "bias". I do not think it means what you think it means.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bias

Random errors are not evidence of bias. Random errors are evidence of the ref making random errors. What's funny is the first search I ran under google for bias, as you suggested, was the Wikipedia entry: "In statistics, bias is systematic favoritism that is present in the data collection process resulting in misleading results." The first entry under Google dictionary: "Show prejudice for or against (someone or something) unfairly."

http://www.google.com/dictionary?aq=f&langpair=en|en&q=bias&hl=en

I don't see your definition anywhere. Even your definition is a giant stretch, since there was nothing unfair or inherently evil about his calls. He blew them. It wasn't a sinister plot to keep Seattle from winning or anything suggesting he was intentionally favoring one side or outcome over the other. They were blown calls that you'd think Seattle fans would have gotten over by now. Seattle's benefitted from them too. Were those refs biased?

There's nothing that suggests the ref was trying to favor the Steelers. Further, the common use of the term "bias" implies deliberate favoritism. Saying the refs were biased implies the refs wanted the Steelers to win. If that's not what you mean, try using words that actually mean what you're trying to say.

"--Last time i checked it was raining out side. What's the relavance of this other than to admit the calls in SBXL were bad?"

That the bad calls weren't the reason the Seahawks lost. That they could have overcome the calls. They didn't, so for 4 years they've whined about the refs to anyone who would listen. The NFL Network's highlight package exemplified this. After a call went against the Seahawks, Holmgren and the players would whine and complain about the call. When Hasselbeck was ruled down by contact and a fumble was negated, Cowher's reply? "Just play." I believe he said something similar in the playoff game against Indy when the Polamalu INT was reversed incorrectly.

It's also funny to see someone calling other fans "cunts" telling others to stay classy. There's a certain irony there.

52
by Jimmy Oz (not verified) :: Tue, 08/10/2010 - 1:49am

Are you being dumb on purpose or is this natural?

53
by tuluse :: Tue, 08/10/2010 - 2:00am

That doesn't seem necessary, and I agree with him.

Regardless of the definition, "bias" has the connotation that someone was doing something deliberately.

The ref wasn't biased. He made some mistakes, and they happened to benefit one team. Using emotionally charged words like "bias" is not conducive to legitimate discussion.

54
by Jimmy Oz (not verified) :: Tue, 08/10/2010 - 6:06pm

Bias means uneven. This isn't a question of language. I googled 'bias definition'.

I have a problem with the logic: "since there was nothing unfair or inherently evil about his calls"

You agree that a referee blowing calls and impacting the game is fair? I'll break it down further. Is an unearned, unexplained by the rules advantage for one side at the expense of the other fair? This isn't a coin toss, this is a referee doing the same thing as cheating.

Also this is opinion "the bad calls weren't the reason the Seahawks lost" because there is no way to know whether Bill Leavy's blown calls weren't just enough to make the Seahawks lose. Its idiotic to state as fact an opinion about possible events that did not occur, and believing it to be a fact is delusional. Its acting like a cunt.

At the end of the day, here is what we know as facts:
- Refs were biased in favour of the Steelers
(or the referees blew calls in favour of the Steelers that impacted the game)
- Steelers won the Super Bowl
- A relationship between these two events cannot be proven or disproven

What other facts about the game are relevant in the discussion? Tell me facts, not opinion, because we don't need opinions because the referee just gave an official version of events

The only thing of relevance you can add is "i still think the Steelers would have won" or a paranoid rant that this apology was only to placate Squawk fans

Stay classy.

56
by tuluse :: Tue, 08/10/2010 - 7:34pm

I think the calls were biased in favor of the Steelers, not the refs. Which is a subtle, but important distinction. Otherwise, I'm not a Steeler's fan, and I don't really care. It was a poorly officiated game, which happened to favor the Steelers. However, the refs were no more biased than a quarter which happens to come up heads on 8 out of 10 flips.

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by Jimmy Oz (not verified) :: Tue, 08/10/2010 - 10:31pm

The game was refereed with a Pittsburgh bias, but i agree theres no predetermination.

8 of 10 is unlucky, but it happens, its sport. Refs' mistakes are part of the game.

For Steeler fans to come here and deny that they got the benefit of those mistkes in the face of the ref's admission, its acting like a cunt.

61
by DeltaWhiskey :: Thu, 08/12/2010 - 10:25am

bias 1 : a line diagonal to the grain of a fabric; especially : a line at a 45 degree angle to the selvage often utilized in the cutting of garments for smoother ...

30
by Anonymous1 (not verified) :: Sat, 08/07/2010 - 5:36pm

The worst officiated game ever happened a few weeks prior to the superbowl in the Denver/NE matchup. All but 3 points for Denver were immediately preceded by incorrect calls.

1) The phantom PI on Samuel led to a 1st and goal from the 1 and Denver's first 7 points.

2) Immediately thereafter Denver's OL blatantly false started on an already long FG.

3) The refs not having the courage to call a touchback at the end of the Bailey int run.

4) Troy Brown being hit prior to the ball hitting the ground on a potential muff punt.

Even if you say the non-touchback was a correct call, the other three are clearly not. There was also a blatant PI and several uncalled RTPs as well.

Now, not to be outdone, it should be mentioned that NE turned the ball over just prior to 1,2 and 3. They didn't exactly bring their "A" game. But it was dreadfully officiated to the point of conspiracy theory.

35
by chemical burn :: Sun, 08/08/2010 - 11:23am

Oh, God, I even forgot about that game. THAT was truly horibly officated game that robbed a team of a playoff win. 3) was one of the worst, game-changing bad calls in the history of the sport...

31
by Seattleite (not verified) :: Sat, 08/07/2010 - 6:20pm

I have lived in Pittsburgh and currently live in Seattle, putting me in the rather enjoyable position of have my two favorite teams make it to the Super Bowl. When it comes down to it, though, I must admit that I prefer the Steelers. I say this because I don't want to hide my biases.

There was one unambiguously wrong call in the game. Hasselbeck's "low block" was a legal tackle. All the other bad calls were close things that got decided one way over the other.

a) Offensive pass interference on Darrell Jackson.
b) Stevens, incomplete or fumble?
c) Roethlisberger's touchdown run.
d) Locklear's hold.
e) Hasselbeck fumble reversal.

Of these, a, c, and d, went the Pittsburgh's way, and b and e went Seattle's way. Subjectively, I think only d and e were incorrect.

Jackson's offensive pass interference penalty was justified. You can argue that he would have made the catch regardless, but he chose to push off and got caught doing so, and with hands extended like that it's going to be called the majority of the time.

Stevens did not have possesion before the ball came loose, and the ruling of incomplete rather than fumble was correct.

Roethlisberger did get into the endzone before falling to the ground. Many people focus on the stretching of the football over the goal line after the play was over, correctly stating that he had already hit the ground. While true, he had already crossed the goal line before being pushed back in the air and coming to the ground short.

Locklear's hold according to the letter of the law was a correct call, but I think it ought not to have been called since it was borderline, probably had no effect on the play, and yielded a calling inconsistency.

Hasselbeck fumbled the ball, but the call was overturned on the claim that he was down by contact.

Again these are all opinions. Can you honestly look at these plays and declare with certainty that they were wrong? Yes, the officials had a bad game (a bad postseason for that matter) but I think our perceptions of it are colored by the rather poor level of play for a Super Bowl. The bad calls weren't really even one-sided.

58
by Don't be fatuous Jeffrey (not verified) :: Wed, 08/11/2010 - 6:19pm

A few points:

- Both teams played poorly and neither "deserved" to win on the merits of superior talent or execution.

- The officiating was both sub-par and inconsistent, as it had been throughout most of the 2005 playoff games.

- Of 10 accepted penalties in the game, 7 were against the Seahawks, who were the 2nd-least penalized team in the NFL in 2005 going in to the Super Bowl.

- Nearly all of the penalties called on the Seahawks were "momentum changers"; i.e. they directly negated significant positive plays. By the final third of the game, after every big play by the Seahawks most neutral or pro-Seahawks watchers expected to see a flag thrown and the play negated.

- None of the 3 calls against Pittsburgh were significant momentum changers.

- Following the game, large numbers of non-biased observers (fans of neither team + non-fans who typically only watch the Super Bowl and thus have no real rooting interest) expressed the opinion that the game was called in a biased manner favoring the Steelers.

- The head referee of the game has admitted to impacting the outcome of the game through poor officiating.

- While Jimmy Oz is not entirely correct in his arguments, FireOmarTomlin is, in fact, being a cunt.

59
by billsfan :: Wed, 08/11/2010 - 7:23pm

I have to say, I ignored most of this thread because, you know, it was like 5 years ago, and, as a hockey fan, I'm accustomed to seeing much worse officiating, even if it tends to even out over a seven-game series.

But you have an excellent point that one of the parties rhetorical repertoire
consists of "LMAO" and "derp derp derp."

(I also like the Eagles)

60
by FireOmarTomlin :: Wed, 08/11/2010 - 10:14pm

I like how you selectively single out the the post I made where I treated the person I was replying to with the level of idiocy they themselves displayed...

How come none of you geniuses otherwise knew the Hasselbeck "low block through tackle" was in fact called 2x on the Steelers in that same season, for example on INT returns?

Or are you so blind you missed the fact I actually posted in this thread many times before Captain "Cunt" took off on his nonsensical tangent ?

-----
Men are more ready to repay an injury than a benefit because gratitude is a burden and revenge a pleasure.

62
by billsfan :: Fri, 08/13/2010 - 2:31pm

Two posts actually, and like I said, *yawn*

Your team has the trophy; I don't know what else you need to prove.

(I also like the Eagles)

63
by Jimmy Oz (not verified) :: Sun, 08/15/2010 - 3:45am

I still don't know why you think we care about your opinion on Bill Leavy's performance. His own self critical assessment supersedes the need for opinions from internet plonkers.

...but no, go on, keep jamming it down our throat like its important.

cc