Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

This week, the Football Outsiders staff responds to Super Bowl XL in our usual roundtable e-mail discussion.

Mike Tanier: So what do Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Tanier have in common? Neither of us crossed the goal line in the first half.

I try to not to complain about calls, but c'mon.

The Steelers are playing a lot of Cover-3, it looks like, and the Seahawks are trying to beat them by throwing hitches along the sideline. It's working to some extent, because they are hitting on lots of 7 and 8-yard completions. But the Steelers took away everything deep in the first half, and they are a tough team to execute 13-play drives against.

As for the Steelers offensive gameplan, well, after championing Whisenhunt I haven't seen much. Almost every positive play has been the result of freelancing.

Bill Moore: I don't think Roethlisberger got in, but I'm not surprised the review didn't overturn. Not conclusive. Can't see exactly where the ball is in the air. No goal line cameras is a joke, but where's ABC's 3-D technology to show the plane of the goal line? I can't believe that hasn't been created yet. But the real travesty is this:

The Darrell Jackson Non-TD at the end of the first half: How is that 1) not a TD, and 2) not reviewed? He catches the ball with left foot inbounds and his right foot hits the pylon. TD, right? Got no commentary other than Al Michaels saying "ooooh."

Hines Ward MVP?

Al Bogdan: Yeah, I voted for Hines.

Total Access on Wednesday should be interesting with the usual interview with Mike Pereira. Four awful calls cost Seattle 14 points and 45 yards. The Roethlisberger TD, the Jackson pass interference/non-TD, the Locklear holding call where he barely had a hand on the defender, and the truly ridiculous 15-yard low block call on Hasselbeck.

Even with those calls, though, Seattle didn't play as well as they should have, especially in the second half. The defense looked undisciplined on some crucial plays. How do you not stay in coverage when the Steelers give the ball to Randle El behind the line of scrimmage? How many times was Rothlisberger given wide open running lanes to get a first down or close to it? On the crucial third down when Seattle was down to only one time out left, Madden was right on calling a Roethlisberger bootleg. The entire defense collapsed around Bettis giving Ben an easy first down even with that awful spot.

Michael David Smith: Polamalu has deserved the attention he's gotten in the playoffs, but he didn't play very well today. The Stevens touchdown was totally his fault, and he wasn't nearly as influential against the run as he usually is. And speaking of Stevens, did he just have the worst game any tight end has had all year? How many times can you get hit right in the hands with a ball and not catch it?

Roethlisberger was lousy today. I really hate the fact that I turned to ESPNews after the game and the first thing I heard was, "Roethlisberger becomes the youngest quarterback to win the Super Bowl." Roethlisberger is about the last player who deserved to be mentioned.

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.)

But Seattle shouldn't just blame the officials. Mike Holmgren is one of the best offensive minds in NFL history, but he did an awful job calling plays today. What on earth was Seattle doing at the end of both halves? And, hey, Tom Rouen, this isn't Canada. You don't get a point for kicking one into the end zone.

Al Bogdan: I forgot about Seattle's awful special teams. Rouen had some bad punts deep into the endzone, but a couple of those were downable inside the 20 if the Seahawks had anything resembling a punt coverage team. And what was Warrick thinking not catching that ball at the 20, and instead letting roll down to the two yard line?

On Seattle's poor time management, I didn't agree with their decision not to go for it on 4th down with 6:30 to go. Even if it's 4th and 13, you're cutting it very close to having enough time to score twice if you give the ball over to Pittsburgh there. If you punt it or don't convert, you still need to stop them on the first or second set of downs to have any shot at winning. Seattle was at midfield, so if they turn the ball over on downs, Pittsburgh isn't in field goal range, even after they get the first down. You have to go for it there.

Ryan Wilson: Don't have much to add, but the Stevens touchdown was a function of a good play call by Holmgren. Polamalu got picked and didn't have a chance to make a play. Give credit to Seattle. The holding call against Seattle was bogus, the low block against Hasselbeck was also bogus, but otherwise, I was fine with the officiating (spoken like a true Steelers fan). I was surprised Tom Brady didn't get the MVP for the coin toss and, oh yeah, Stevens is awful.

Mike Tanier: I think Holmgren called a very good game except at the end of the first half. End of the second half, forget about it, there's nothing you can do. Remember, Holmgren doesn't tell Hasselbeck to throw in the flat to Stevens; Hasselbeck reads the defense and figures Stevens has the best chance to get out of bounds.

Absolutely, viciously terrible officiating. I hate putting the game on the ref's shoulders, but I could not believe what I was watching on several plays. I really have a hard time writing about what the Steelers did well or what the Seahawks did poorly. Yes, the Steelers made big plays on offense and shut down the run fairly well on defense. But I know if I was a Seahawks fan this would ruin my spring and summer. I watched the Eagles get beat last year. The Seahawks ... I just hate to use the term "robbed". But ...

Michael David Smith: Polamalu looked to me like he was looking to the inside all the way on that touchdown catch by Stevens even though his responsibility was on the outside, which is why I think he deserves more blame than Seattle deserves credit. It's hard to say for sure without knowing the defensive call, but I think it's on Polamalu.

Aaron Schatz: Let me start by saying the following: The Pittsburgh Steelers are a great team. I am happy for Bill Cowher -- I never, ever bought that crap about Bill Cowher "not being able to win when it counted" or some such nonsense. I am happy for good guys like Bettis and Ward. I am happy for our man Sean Morey. I am happy for Big Ben, who is going to be a Hall of Famer someday. I am happy for Ryan, I am happy for all the Steelers fans who have supported our site, I am happy for all those fans who haven't had a title in over 25 years. The option play was an awesome play call. The Deshea Townsend blitz was an amazing play call. Casey Hampton was darn swell.


I am glad to see that everyone pretty much agrees with me. I feel so disappointed. I don't feel that the refs stole this game from the Seahawks. I feel that the refs stole a great game from us, the fans of the other 30 teams. Nothing says that with better officiating, Seattle would have won. Nothing says that if Seattle goes up 17-14, Big Ben can't march the Steelers down the field and win the game in the final minute. But wow, I really would have liked to see him try. I can't remember another Super Bowl where I came away saying that the officiating was horrible, and totally slanted towards one team.

Most of the egregious calls have been mentioned, but if I can add a couple more: Roethlisberger's Delay of Game where they gave him a timeout after the clock hit zero, and the fact that the folks upstairs did not review the play where Darrell Jackson's foot hit the pylon. I don't know, what's the rule on that? Clearly he had one foot in and the other one hit the pylon before landing out of bounds.

Watching in Boston, with no Pittsburgh fans and no Seattle fans, by the end of the game we were just screaming at the refs. The Locklear call was the worst, as Ian Dembsky pointed out, the Steelers were doing the same "shove" move on Grant Wistrom the entire first half. We started marking down every play where Pittsburgh was holding. When Randle El caught the seven-yard pass on third-and-6, Hartings was yanking on the jersey and shoulder of Darby. On Big Ben's scramble for a first down, Hines Ward yanked on Trufant's arm to keep him away from Big Ben.

They say holding happens on every play in the NFL. Every play is a judgment call. Fine, but why should all the iffy judgment calls go one way? You don't want to think about conspiracies, but it just seemed like for two weeks, the league, ABC/ESPN, the city of Detroit, and the NFL wanted the Seahawks to just go away so the Steelers could have the title, like Seattle wasn't even in the game. They ran those black and white vingettes of players talking about winning the trophy and the FIRST FOUR were Pittsburgh players. Maybe the way the officials acted was just subconscious.

Seriously, what was the deal with 90% of the tickets going to Pittsburgh fans? How does that work? Where did the corporate fat cats go who usually get these tickets? The Super Bowl shouldn't be a home game for one of the teams.

You don't want to fault the Pittsburgh players. Some of them didn't play their best games -- Walter Jones owned Kimo Von Oelhoffen, for example -- but they took advantage of their opportunities. And Seattle made mistakes. Dropped passes, Tom Rouen is terrible, the time management at the end of the second half was horrific, Michael Boulware overpursued on the play where Parker had the first 16+-yard run against the Seahawks since November and then there was nobody behind him, they didn't give Alexander the ball enough in the middle of the game, they started blitzing in the third quarter and the Steelers were picking them apart until Big Ben threw the interception to Kelly Herndon.

But I feel so unsatisfied.

Pat Laverty: That chop block call on Hasselbeck was horrendous. He was making the tackle exactly how the other 31 QBs would have. Throw your back at the ball carrier's feet. He made the tackle. He wasn't going after the blocker, he was going after the ball carrier. That official needs a serious review.

Tim Gerheim: This is the first game of the playoffs, and the first game generally in a long time, that I didn't care even the slightest bit who won. Usually after the game I find that I'm either glad or disappointed even if I didn't think I was rooting for one team or the other, but not tonight. Maybe it has something to do with the disappointing course of the game, but maybe it just means I don't care about these teams.

Right after the game, I commented that I had no idea how Pittsburgh won the game. The conclusion was that the defense played pretty well and the offense got a few big plays. Plus, unavoidably, the officiating. But that's still not a very satisfying explanation. I didn't think it was a case of Seattle just losing the game, but I have a hard time giving the Steelers a lot of credit. All in all a disappointing Super Bowl.

Oh, and I'm sorry, but since when do the Rolling Stones suck? Maybe nobody's good at halftime of the Super Bowl, but that was a terrible show.

Russell Levine: Well I think it's a little unfair to say the Roethlisberger TD call cost the Seahawks seven points. If he's ruled down, that's fourth-and-goal at the six-inch line, and a good chance that Pittsburgh goes for it, given that the Steelers still had timeouts to spend on defense had they been stopped.

The offensive pass interference call I don't think falls in the category of "horrible". He clearly extended his arms ... which is what every official looks for, and his action is what created the separation and the touchdown.
Plus, he did it in the end zone, with no one else around, and about six feet from the official.

Still, Seattle got the worst of it with the refs today. Not sure what happened on the Jackson play at the end of the half. Since ABC only showed the one replay, I don't know what happened for sure, but I thought it looked to be out of bounds at first glance.

I will throw another bad call that hurt Seattle at you. Joey Porter absolutely took Alexander down with a horse collar on the play before Hasselbeck threw the interception at the goal line. That would have been an automatic first down. On the replay, you could Porter clearly reach inside the jersey and take Alexander down by the shoulder pads. That's textbook.

Still, the Seahawks screwed up clock management at the end of both halves, missed two field goals, and generally looked discombobulated. Nobody on that team is going to sleep tonight. This was a game that was right there for the taking. Pittsburgh made a few big plays, but at no point did you feel like they were carrying the play. Seattle moved at will between the 30s, then fell apart in the maroon zone. They beat themselves as much as anything.

Al Bogdan: I didn't think Jackson was in on that play at the end of the first half. I saw his left foot hit in bounds, but I didn't see the right foot hit the pylon.

While I am 100% behind everyone that the officiating was awful and the bad calls were slanted against Seattle, let's not forget how many chances Seattle blew for itself without the bad calls. Awful special teams play all game. Terrible time management at the end of both halves. Not recognizing Pittsburgh's two gimmick plays, even when Madden called the Randle El pass before the play happened. Hasselbeck underthrowing a ball by five yards for his interception in the fourth quarter when Seattle could have taken the lead. Not stopping Pittsburgh from getting a first down twice on their final drive because of overpursuit on both the little Rande El screen and Roethlisberger bootleg. Even with the bad calls, Seattle should have won that game.

Michael David Smith: The NFL rulebook, of course, isn't available to the unwashed masses, so we're just going to have to speculate about whether the Jackson pass that he caught but was ruled out of bounds was a touchdown. But I think this is the relevant rule:

A player no longer can be ruled out of bounds when he touches a pylon unless he already touched the boundary line.

I just watched the play again. Jackson's left foot was in bounds and his right foot touched the pylon. I honestly don't know if that's a touchdown or not, but I do know that's exactly the type of play the league was thinking about when it made the rule that the booth is supposed to stop the game and review the previous play when there's a close call within the last two minutes.

I do think the earlier pass interference on Jackson was the right call -- it's just that it's a right call that NFL officials ignore at least half the time.

Pat Laverty: A reporter with any guts at all would go to Joey Porter today and ask him if he's still sickened about the one-sided officiating. If he says anything other than yes, he should be called out on it, big time.

Ned Macey: I think everything that needs to be said about the officiating has been said. I didn't think all the calls were that bad, but everything did seem to go against Seattle. After the Steelers survived the Colts in similar situations, I doubt they have much sympathy for the Seahawks.

The fact that the Seahawks came a couple plays away from winning is a pretty large indictment of the quality of play. The Seahawks missed two field goals. They threw a pick in the red zone. They gave up a 75-yard run. They gave up a trick play that involved Randle El and Ward (if it had been Haynes throwing to Wilson, then maybe I would understand, but how are you not ready for Randle El to Ward?). Stevens did his best Koren Robinson impersonation, and the list goes on.

I have two substantive thoughts. First, the Steelers three touchdown drives all involved a big play, and as usual, big plays are made possible by bad plays by the safeties. Seahawks and Titans' fans can discuss at length between who was worse, Anthony Dorsett or Pruitt, but what was more troubling was Boulware was responsible for two. He let Ward come free on the third and forever play down to the one. Then, he got caught inside on the Parker run and couldn't make a play even though he wasn't blocked. Of course, Pruitt should never have let it go for more than 20 yards, but Boulware (and a block from Faneca on Hill) let Parker get into the open field.

My other thought was that the Seahawks lost this game in the first quarter. They were clearly the better prepared team, and Roethlisberger was overwhelmed by the situation. They dominated the entire quarter and only led 3-0. They kept stalling around midfield, and Rouen kept punting into the end zone (and were it not for Stevens, he was certainly the goat of the game). If they had gone up 10 or 14 points, then they likely would have been able to control the game.

By the way, the Steelers kept their streak of preventing 100 yard rushers by allowing 95 yards on 20 carries to Alexander.

Aaron Schatz: It's interesting. We're all listing all the things Seattle did wrong, trying to prove to ourselves that Seattle would have lost the game even with fair officiating. We're really not talking much about Pittsburgh players who did not have good games, botched plays by the Steelers, things they did badly. But if the controversial calls in this game were split evenly between the two teams, rather than all being slanted towards Seattle, isn't the story this morning how Ben Roethlisberger choked away the Super Bowl with two interceptions, how Joey Porter didn't show up after mouthing off, how Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson creamed Kimo von Oelhoffen, how Jerome Bettis couldn't run the ball in his last game in his hometown, how the Seahawks picked on Ike Taylor in the first half, etc.?

Did Seattle really play worse than Pittsburgh, and make more mistakes? Again, nobody is saying that Pittsburgh should have lost, or that Seattle should have won. All we are saying is that this game should have had a level playing field. 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.

Al Bogdan: Mike Pereira did a great interview with Mike and the Mad Dog on Friday where he sort of acknowledged that there is a disconnect between the officials themselves and between officials and teams at least on certain types of calls, like offensive holding. He said one of his goals for the off-season was to develop more of a consensus on offensive holding so that everyone was on the same page.

Michael David Smith: I hate to focus too much on the officials because I think the Steelers and their fans should be happy. I like Jerome Bettis and I'm glad his career ended like this. I like Bill Cowher and I think he earned a bust in Canton last night. I like Hines Ward and I think last night makes it very likely that he'll end up in Canton. I said before the draft that I thought Roethlisberger was a better quarterback than Manning or Rivers, so I always root for Roethlisberger, even though last night he played like crap. So I'm not anti-Pittsburgh, I'm just anti-bad officiating.

Ned Macey: I agree with Aaron that the Steelers played poorly, particularly on offense, but the only real surprise was Roethlisberger's bad play. We didn't think the Steelers could run the ball, and other than the one run, they didn't. Kimo got beat up by Walter Jones, but is that news? Porter was a non-factor, but I felt that Pittsburgh was alwyas trying to attack on the right side of Seattle's line, and they did get three sacks of Hasselbeck (including the huge one that put them in 4th and 13 and effectively ended the game).

Roethlisberger almost single handedly sunk them with his bad play. The interception to Herndon was one of the worst throws I've ever seen. But, he made one big play, and the other two big plays bailed them out.

Pat Laverty: On another listserv I'm on, someone asked if Roethlisberger's
performance was the worst ever by a SB winning quarterback?

Aaron Schatz: Good question. I plugged Big Ben's numbers into the formula from last year's ESPN article on the best quarterback performances in Super Bowl history. Based on that formula the answer is yes. These were the bottom five -- if you remember, the system was based on a scale from 1-100.

  • 50: Bob Griese, Super Bowl VII -- 8-for-11, 88 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
  • 42: Johnny Unitas, Super Bowl V -- 3-for-9, 88 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT
  • 36: Joe Theismann, Super Bowl XVII -- 15-for-23, 143 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT
  • 35: Trent Dilfer, Super Bowl XXXV -- 12-for-25, 123 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, only six first downs
  • 26: Ben Roethlisberger, Super Bowl XL -- 9-for-21, 123 yards, 0 TD passing (1 TD rushing), 2 INT, only seven first downs passing

Based on this system, yes, this was the worst performance ever by a Super Bowl-winning quarterback.

Ned Macey: Does anyone think that Seattle should have run the ball more? They were moving the ball early, but the drives kept stalling. Alexander seemed to be running well the entire game, but he got almost no touches early. Was he successful once he got touches only because the Steelers were playing pass?

Also, since this is Football Outsiders, wouldn't we be remiss to mention that Engram had an excellent game?

Aaron Schatz: Bobby Engram had an excellent game except for a pass that he could have taken in for a touchdown had he realized Hasselbeck was actually throwing it to him.

I know I'm going to get a ton of hate mail now from Pittsburgh fans, and mean comments on the website. I picked against them. We had them lower in our ratings at midseason because of the Maddox game and the fact that they were getting played close by awful teams like Baltimore and Cleveland and Green Bay. Mike wrote that article about how teams that get in on the last day never win the Super Bowl. Well guess what, folks, that's how probability works. When you say "Seattle is a slight favorite" that means that there is still a 45% chance that Pittsburgh will win. When you say that teams that get in on the last day never win the Super Bowl, well, teams that got in on the last day never DID win the Super Bowl UNTIL NOW. What Pittsburgh did was amazing and special BECAUSE it was unique. 11-5 teams don't usually win Super Bowls. Teams below the top 2-3 in DVOA don't usually win Super Bowls. Sixth seeds usually don't win Super Bowls. If we were all supposed to expect this, it isn't really that special, is it?

Again, I hope Steelers fans understand what is happening here. I keep reading comments on our discussion threads about sour grapes. Let me give you an example:

"Can we accept that the refs made a few bad calls, that close calls against your team are not evidence of cheating and that possibly, maybe, in some fantastical way the Steelers outplayed the Seahawks?"

The problem with that question is the phrase "your team." The Seahawks are not my team and they are not the favorite team of any writer on this website. The FO staff has a couple Patriots fans, an Eagles fan, a Giants fan, a Bucs fan, a Lions fan, and a Colts fan complaining about the officials here. The guys I was watching with, you had a couple Patriots fans, a Vikings fan and a Bucs fan complaining about the officials. Kevin Hench picked the Steelers for, and he wrote a column today about the bad officials. Michael "not David" Smith is not a Seahawks fan -- as I've pointed out, he's the best example of east coast media bias because he is the only other national NFL columnist who lives farther east than I do -- and he wrote a column today about the bad officials. isn't exactly known for writing about sporting events immediately afterwards, but they've got a column up about the bad officials. Skip Bayless would rather rip his own balls off with his teeth than say something nice about the city of Seattle and HE wrote a column today about the bad officials.

Check out, and read the e-mails Mike Florio has been getting. Amazing. Pittsburgh fans need to understand just how angry the response is, on our site and others, from neutral fans of the other 30 teams. This is not a case of Seahawks fans whining and being sore losers. I have never seen anything like this in terms of fans of the other 30 teams taking to the internet and complaining about the result of a game. People who had nothing to gain from the Seahawks winning. People who PICKED THE STEELERS in many cases. This should not be happening. Throw out everything that any Pittsburgh or Seattle fan has to say about this game. Fans of the other 30 teams are not supposed to complain about the result of a Super Bowl. Something went wrong.

For those curious:

Seattle's DVOA: 24.0% offense, -19.5% defense, -12.4% special teams, 31.0% total.
Pittsburgh's DVOA: -4.3% offense, -15.1% defense, 7.2% special teams, 17.9% total.

* * * * *

Before we go, I want to thank everyone for their support and for reading Football Outsiders all year. It's been a pretty incredible year, it's been great to have so many new people reading our stuff and we fended off most of the trolls although you wouldn't want to read my e-mail. Anyway, I still can't believe that I get to do this for a living, so thanks to all the readers.

Don't stop reading, though. We've still got the awards balloting through tomorrow, the off-season free agent contest is coming soon, we have one more Every Play Counts (maybe), the season's final Scramble for the Ball on Wednesday, and the first edition of our off-season column Four Downs by the end of the week. Meanwhile, I'm going to take a nap for two weeks. Then we start on Pro Football Prospectus 2006, in stores mid-July. From all of us here at Three Feet High and Rising, this is your host Don Newkirk. Good night.


821 comments, Last at 06 Mar 2013, 9:22pm

151 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Thanks for the clarification re: the block at the knees call.
Another bad coaching decision, IMHO was not challenging the spot of where Mack Strong went down that lead to the 4th and inches. I don't have the replay to watch, but the first time I saw it I thought it was clear they'd given him a bad spot, and that a challenge there would've meant a huge first down.

152 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

If you TIVO and replay every disputed call, you can make a case for each one. The problem is when every judgment call goes against one team, at VERY crucial times. Pittsburgh had only 3 penalties the entire game (if I'm reading the stats correctly), and 2 of those were false starts which even this crew couldn't miss. That means in 60 minutes of football, they threw one flag against the Steelers that they actually had to think about - and it wasn't at a crucial time.
The Seahawks had 7 penalties called against them, at the worst possible times. The holding call was bad because Pittsburgh was never called for holding the entire game - you mean Pittsburgh never held on one play the entire game? But Seattle definitely did after getting to the 1 yard line? Madden said it best, there wasn't holding in that picture.
You could have called holding on any of the 3 big Pittsburgh plays. Those plays changed the game.
The Roethlisburger touchdown probably didn't change the game, and I would admit Pit would probably score anyways without that call.
The problem I have is the ref runs 5 yards pointing to the ground as if to spot the ball, then halfway to the ball he signals touchdown?? Why the change of heart? Ben was down for 3 seconds with the ref pointing to the ground, and then all of a sudden he signals touchdown???
And the PI was called only after the Steelers player turned and complained to the ref.
Holding on the punt return team at the line of scrimmage? When was the last time you saw that called, even in pre-season???

Everyone says "the officiating has been talked about enough", but it was THE story of the game. Neither of these teams was dominant. Just a poor game all the way around. Seattle WAS robbed, robbed of a chance to win the game. You can only fight the officials for so long.

153 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

The Seahawks were robbed. But, hey, at least we got to see Dan Rooney get "one for the thumb" and Jerome wind up his career in Detroit. That's what the NFL wanted.

154 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Yeah, 149, I meant to write against the Colts and Broncos. The Bengals game is not as representative, given that Palmer wasn't playing. It would have been interesting to see the Steelers playing to regain the lead, if the Seahawks had been able to get it to 17-14.

155 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Add me to the ever-growing list of fans of one of the 30 other NFL teams that feels robbed of a good game by the officating. Who knows who would have won if the calls had been even-handed, but I sure would've have liked to have found out. Thanks for not addressing the serious problems with the officiating the past couple years in time to save SuperBowl Extra-Large, Tags!

156 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

One play/non-call I havent seen discussed is when Ben threw the long pass to Ward on 3rd and 28. First, was it clear that Ben was behind the line of scrimmage? It appeared he was. But, I thought the offensive lineman were across the line of scrimmage since they thought he was going to scramble, so wouldlnt that be ineligible man downfield or something? If so, that was a huge non-call.

157 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

I don't think the officiating is the primary cause for the outcome, but just to drive the Steelerhomers nuts, it'd be fun to refer to them as the Pittsburgh Asterisks for the next 12 months.

Somebody call TMQ!

158 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Re: 128. It seems to me that most Pittsburgh fans here disagree with you, Steve. There definitely seems to be a feeling that anyone complaining about the officiating in this game is a Seattle homer. For example, one comment above refers to me as a "sore loser." How the hell can I be a sore loser when my team wasn't even in the game?

159 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Likewise, we could dub this the Asterik Bowl.

I really hope the mainstream sports media will confront the NFL over this, but I doubt they will. It'll get a one-minute blurb on PTI and they'll illogically write it off...

160 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

OK, here's the deal: I'm a huge Steelers fan and I'm really upset about the officiating, too.

Why? Because it tarnished something I've waited 26 years to celebrate. The Steelers won, and they did get a lot of help from some questionable calls. As a result, many NFL fans think it was a conspiracy.

I'm certainly glad the Steelers won, and obviously I'd rather have my team on the right side of a bad call. But when the officiating is SOOOOO bad that it becomes the story of the game, it's a travesty regardless of which side I'm on.

Congratulations to the Seahawks on a great season. You deserved a better ending than that.

161 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

I think a Rules column is a terrific idea. And with that, in time, Aaron will look back at this thread as an embarrassment to FO.

By the way, if you want to know the rules, BUY THE RULEBOOK. It's a myth that it's some closely guarded secret. And I don't mean the abridged digest either. It's at Borders for sure. Probably Barnes & Noble too.

And the pylon is out of bounds. That a player is not judged to be out of bounds if he touches it, does not make the pylon inbounds. That whole portion of this discussion makes you guys seem like rank amateurs.

162 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

re Tom Kelso, his right foot hits the pylon before going out of bounds, barely.
Ian, it actually was a good spot.
James Gibson, thanks.
from PFP 2005 "An example of why Mike Holmgren no longer calls the Shots in the Seahawks draft room. Stevens has size and athleticism but was known in college as an underachiever and has done nothing in the NFL to shake that image." I think that more than makes up for the Kevin Jones thing.
Will Allen, in rereading your posts I am starting to agree with you. I am not quite there yet, but moving that way

163 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Will Allen

While Cowher's coaching may not have force Stevens to drop several calls, neither did Holmgren's force similar drops from Steeler receivers, nor indeed from Ike Taylor on a surefire interception that likely would have led to substantially better field position than a Rouen special. Moreover, I do not think that you can absolve Holmgren from the chaos at the end of the first half and the lackadaisical pace of the second half of the fourth quarter. There is, after all, more to coaching than gameplanning and play-calling. Ensuring that your team knows what to do in that phase of the game is an important element of coaching. Like the players and the refs, it did not appear to me that either coaching staff particularly covered itself in glory.

164 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Can we please move on from the "Jackson did/did not commit PI" debate, which people seem irrevocably commited to, and on to the more relevant point that this sort of PI is never called, and was never called again for the rest of the game? The issue is consistency, not accuracy. Again, you could pick out holding calls all day long, too, but they aren't called. Why do you think that is, and why does the standard that allows those calls to fall to the wayside shouldn't be applied in their down-the-field equivalents?

Secondly, the point that "Seattle didn't make any big plays" is kind of a kick in the junk, here. They made several big plays that got called back. Roethlisberger threw 2 INTs. The Pittsburgh run game was a virtual non-factor but for one breakaway run. Their passing game was pretty paltry at times, too. The Seattle defense was making big plays all day long in shutting down an offense that was supposed to throttle them. The DVOA for that game puts Seattle substantially ahead of Pittsburgh, yet it's Seattle that didn't make "big plays"? I think both touchdowns to Jackson would have been big plays. I think the pass that got brought back on holding would have been a big play. The inverse of that is that Pittsburgh would've blown it big if Porter had been called for that horsecollar. Step away from the "big play" cliche for a moment and look at the game as a whole. Pittsburgh's scoring came almost entirely from, as someone else said, freelancing and gimmick plays. It worked, and that's a testament to their coaching and play-calling, but it also says how ineffective they were otherwise, even later in the game with half the Seattle secondary and their star pass-rusher out.

It was not a game of heroics, and if you sit on that, you're deluding yourself. The reason people complain is that the big plays Seattle made were arguably mis-called or called back on penalties. Was the second DJ non-touchdown a touchdown? Maybe not, but the officials couldn't even be bothered to review it.

165 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Exactly what I saw in the game. Although I am pretty sure that the Seahawks special teams play was even worse than the officiating.

Roethlisberger should just be officially named "Youngest QB who didn't manage to lose a Superbowl", but man he really tried.
Oh man what a crap for the only game I can watch each year.

Greetings from Germany

166 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Again, my take on the whole thing:

The officiating was bad. This isn't an excuse for why Seattle lost. This isn't a conspiracy theory. This isn't a talk about any fixing of any games.

It is simply stating that the officiating was bad, and the calls went against one team at hugely important times throughout the game.

And you know what? When you point out the block in the back on Ben or the fumble that wasn't called, this is just MORE EVIDENCE that the officiating was bad. You're just arguing that it was all-around bad instead of bad towards one team, but you're still basically saying 'yep, it sucked'.

I don't want bad officiating to have that much of an impact on the game. It should not. And it clearly did.

167 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

#156, not sure about the linemen, but Roethlisberger did an excellent job of staying behind the line of scrimmage. His front foot landed a little under a yard in front of it, but he never passed the LOS at any time. That was a really well-done play, and it also really kept the momentum going Pittsburgh's way. Probably one of the key plays of that half, in my opinion.

168 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

RE: #8

I completly agree with you, however if this is the best of the best for Officlas then they all need to be fired and make the Referee postion full time. Have some sort of compintiancy quiz in the offseason so that ALL Officals are are the same page. As I interpret the rules, as long as the footbal crosses over the pylon or any part of the endzone there does not have to be the "two feet" inbounds. if not then you would not have had calls like the Atlanta call when he dived over the pylon.

RE: 11
Once again I am in total agreement. Besides the we would not have to have all this silly hype. Just let the players play and go from there.

I found this site late last september and I am hooked.
I really enjoy it and the cross talk sometimes can be really funny. lets hope that the 2006-2007 year can be jst as good.

169 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

I think the excessive talk about officating, which was bad but not as awful as is being said, is the result of fans watching a Super Bowl that was played like a week 14 San Francisco/Arizona game rather than the a game by the two best teams in football. Both teams played poorly. In the vacuum of that,we have all the officating compliants.

Yes, some calls were bad (the phantom hold & the call on Hasselback's tackle especially). Roethlisberger's TD was a close judgement call that could have gone either way (I thought he got in). The pass interference on Jackson was pass interference. It may not be called all the time but it was right in front of the Ref. Steelers' fans would have been jsut as justified compalining if those calls went the other way.

This was hardly a classic game where bad calls cost a deserving team the game. It was a poorly played game that if you didn't have a rooting interest in was kind of a bore.

170 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Re 160: I agree. I've always wanted the Steelers to win a Super Bowl in my lifetime so that no matter what else came along, I could say, "Yes, but I got to see them win a Super Bowl!" And while I'm excited the Steelers won, there is no doubt the whole thing has been tainted by the cloud of poor officiating. While I don't believe that every call being debated was incorrect, I can't deny that the Steelers gained an advantage from the refs. It's unfair to the Seahawks that they didn't get to play an evenly called game, and even though my team won, I was disappointed with the game.

And Aaron, I'm a Steelers fan and I think your above analysis was fair and impartial. I stayed with the entire thread during the game last night and read all the argument, but the whole time I was waiting to see Audibles the next morning to get the Outsiders' perspective. I'm sorry Steelers trolls have flooded your inbox with pointless diatribes. You and everyone else at this site have done a great job this year, in spite of the heavy criticism you take. Keep it up.

171 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Ok, so here's a question: does anybody have any productive suggestions for how the NFL can improve officiating? As I said above, I'm not sure full-time officials would make a long-term improvement, and I'm pretty sure it'd show a marked short-term decline in officiating quality. I could be swayed by a good argument, so does anybody have one? Anybody have any other ideas?

Everybody's bitching about officiating, and complaining that the NFL hasn't "done anything" to deal with bad calls. Well, its not like the NFL has a magic wand. Since we've pretty much covered all the bases in bitching about calls already in this thread, how about somebody suggest some good ideas?

172 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Don, unless we know what was being communicated between Hasselbeck and Holmgren at the end of the half, we can't really assess how large a role coaching played. I merely was disagreeing with those who are claiming that Cowher clearly outcoached Holmgren. There is no evidence of this. The game revolved around a few big plays and some timely penalties, and with the exception of the gadget big play, in which injury to a starter also played a role, coaching had very little to do with it.

173 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Hey the outcome was in question with 5 minutes to go, that means it was a good SB. You would think this was niners/chargers with all the depressing commentary. The officials sucked, the play was sloppy but it was and entertaining game IMO. This was a 2 week layoff game if I ever saw one. Oh and I thought the Stones were great. Cheer up folks, mini camps start in april!

174 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Okay, some good ideas DJ:

1) Make the rules as objective as you can. Some things this removes that are easy are the 'would have come inbounds' rule for catches, the 'football move' for catches, the 'down by contact' rule for carriers. I think the down by contact should be obliterated. If a player is down, he doesn't need to be touched. Just make him down. That's easy to call.

2) Allow replay to overturn penalties.

3) Allow plays to continue/be reversed even if the play was blown dead.

4) Define in much better detail what the actual reasonable rules are for holding and PI. Or, call it on every play and sort it out that way. I'd prefer the former.

175 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Just one comment on the "Ben got blocked in the back" meme on the INT return. No he didn't. Not technically anyway--the blocker's head was in front of Ben, but his shoulder hit him side/behind in the ribs, but the head is where it's at--perfectly legal.

Helps to watch these games sober with a curious 5 year-old.

FWIW, I also thought Stevens had taken a step-plus before the early non-fumble call. If you have control of the ball and take a step, is that not a catch?

And the early pushoff TD-killing penalty? Don't watch the stiff-arm (as my brother-in-law called it.. eh, Scott, you only stiff-arm whern you actually have the ball), watch the defender's feet. he hops backwards on both feet six inches. Would he have done this on his own? No. It created the separation that made the TD likely. Didn't guarantee it by a long shot, but to mimic TMQ, it's pretty tough to intercept a pass or tackle somebody when you're falling (even slightly) backwards away from the play.

I'm a Seattlite Colts fan who probably wanted PGH to win by a nose-hair, but like most of you, this was pretty uinsatisfying--from lame play all around to semi-lame officiating. Glad for Cowher and the rest (his classy press conf after the regular season loss to Indy really won me as a fan of his), but overall sad for football.

And now to my long, lonely offseason where I beat my chest and chant the loserly mantra: "No shame in being beaten by the SB champ three years in a row. We could be second-best!" The Colts are now a cut-rate version of the early 90's Bills.

176 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Jeez, what a bunch of whiners. Seattle lost. Anytime Hasselbeck through a pass over 15 yards it was either dropped by Stevens or Ike Taylor. Everyone seems to believe that the Seabags played a terrific game and they were "robbed" because of a legitimate holding call and because there was one wrong call on a chop block. Those calls didn't determine the game.

The fact is, Aaron's analysis now looks like a huge joke. In light of the game, go back and read it. What's the longest run against Seattle, Aaron? I don't know what it was when you wrote your article, but it's now 75 yards.

177 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Re: #152 Since this is all opinion, all the time---

"The problem I have is the ref runs 5 yards pointing to the ground as if to spot the ball, then halfway to the ball he signals touchdown??"

Except that wasn't what he did. He ran in with his right arm raised over his head, swinging his left arm as he ran. Halfway there, he did then raise his left arm to signal TD. You can make what you want of that, but he definitely WASN'T pointing at the ground (I just checked the tape). IMO, the ball DID cross the plane, and the call was right in the first place. Had it been called the other way, it probably wouldn't have been overturned, because the picture wasn't definitive enough to overturn.

" And the PI was called only after the Steelers player turned and complained to the ref."

Sorry about this, but the wonders of tape replay are amazing (although I also saw this as it happened; the tape just confirms it). The ref tried to throw the flag immediately. It's easy to see on the replay that he went through the motion of pulling the flag from his pocket and throwing it as soon as Jackson hit the ground. The flag just didn't come out, and he had to go back for it and "throw" it again. This made it appear that he was responding to the Steeler complaint.

Furthermore, when you see the action at game speed, as the referee saw it, as they showed it at halftime, it looks like a clear push-off by Jackson. It's only in slo-mo that it looks like mutual non-interference. So I can't fault the ref for that call; he called what he saw. And I don't think it's a reviewable play.

As far as the holding calls go, the only one that was questioned by others that I saw, I would have called holding, too. Looked like an almost take-down to me.

The call that the league might apologize for is the "low block" call against Hasselbeck. The ref just didn't see what he thought he saw, and that he should have seen. It's hard to know if it mattered.

The officiating has been problematic during the playoffs, but this game was just full of close plays that all seemed to go one way (except for Hasselbeck's fumble/overturned).

I find it interesting that I can find all these events on tape that the talking heads on ESPN and ABC have completely overlooked. And I'm NOT a Steelers fan.

178 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Watch out, Loki, the FOMBC hasn't gone away. Keep it up, and Roethlisberger becomes the next Kurt Warner.

179 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Stop making strawmen, Loki.

The officiating was bad. Period. That is a neutral statement. That removed a fair amount of enjoyment of many people from the game. Seattle could have easily lost in spite of getting those calls. Pitt played a good game at times (though boy oh boy did Big Ben not).

Aaron's analysis was pretty well spot on. It was hard to run against Seattle, and Seattle did not need to bring 8 in the box to stop the run. Pitt attacked the ends successfully. Pitt did not stop the passing attack and was not able to put consistent pressure on Hasselbeck. Walter Jones owned his matchup. How were these things not true?

180 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Give me a break. Woulda, coulda, shoulda, it's all the same. Good teams overcome adversity to win, wheather it's due to injuries or officating. The Steelers did it, beat Indy on a questionable call, made it to the playoffs after losing key players due to injury. Go back and look at the questionable PI call in the endzone. As soon as the reciver pushed off, you can clearly see the offical going for his flag, he couldn't find it at first, but he saw that from 5 feet away and made the RIGHT call. The other call where Hassleback was called for the low block was also correct. You cannot go low on a blocker to get to the ball carrier. It happened to the Steelers against Indy on Monday night. Alan Faneca went under the blocker to take out the runner after the INT from Ben. He also got flagged 15 yards. So cry and whine all you want, Steeler fans have seen their fair share of bad calls, bad coin flips, etc. If Seattle was the better team, they would have won the game, bad calls or not. Indy got the best the calls and STILL lost.

181 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Re Aaron, # 158
My impression of the Steelers’ fans posting on this site (I make no claim about your email) is:
1. There is no perfect agreement among Steelers’ fans with respect to each of the controversial calls in the game.
2. Having said that, it does look as though most Steelers’ fans (a consensus?) do believe the majority of the controversial calls were correctly made by the referees.
3. Most, therefore, do not believe the officials are crooks or agents of a conspiracy.
4. Nor do they believe that the officials were the decisive cause of the Seahawks’ loss.
5. They do seem to have far greater sympathy for Seahawk fans than they do for the non-Seahawk fans shouting in their faces about the officiating.
6. They also appear to believe the Steelers to be the superior team.
7. They also appear to believe the Seahawks lost the game more so than the Steelers won the game.
8. Some — many — are reacting to the vehemence displayed by the ‘neutral fans’ now staining the Steelers’ victory.
What I’ve not seen is Steelers’ fans here treating everyone complaining about the officials as Seahawks’ fans. Yet, some of us might wonder about the neutrality and objectivity of those (neutral) non-Seahawks’ fans who seem to have acquired a post-hoc preference for Seahawks’ victory.

182 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

For Steelers fans complaining that the win is "tainted" do what I do. Embrace the truth. There were few bad calls, most were right and the whining and complaining of losers can't change anything. Stillers win and Seahawks didn't. Benefiting from gift calls hasn't stopped Patriots fans from enjoying thier wins. Enjoy ours.

184 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Or, for that matter, the one directly afterwards.

Honestly, you couldn't have planned a better way to not illustrate your point if you tried. :)

185 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Also for the people who think there was a conspiracy . . if you believe that and it bothers you then why watch the games at all? The NFL couldn't possibly keep a secret like that, but if you honestly believe the games are fixed, and you don't like watching the NFL as pro-wrestling, then move on. Watching "fixed" games, and then complaining they are "fixed" is silly.

186 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Should it be the Pittsburgh Asterisks, or simply the Pittsburgh *, for the next 12 months?

188 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

I'm a Redskin fan and we lost to Seattle so I should be happy today. But, the refs blew and they have all year. I thought there was a conspiracy against the Skins but now I know they are just terrible overall. The pass interference was a joke. I've really only played some touch football in my day but was pretty good at soccer and I've been told that it's a whimp sport (yes but not the way I played it). That push off wouldnt have affected me at all and it should not have been called. This is the highest level of tackle football for God's sake - please let them play from now on!! I went into the game wanting Pittsburgh but quickly turned and wanted Seattle as they refs took over early. Long live the NFC - although ESPN and all the other idiots will be considred geniously instead of morons if they refs dictate that the AFC is as dominate as they say they are.

189 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

RE 152: So one by one there isn't a problem, so then what is the problem? Doesn't a well coached team make fewer mistakes? Maybe its coaching? Maybe its the perception of thoses watching?

RE: 157 Will, that's Mr. Asterisks if you please!

General: Penalties aren't just called, they are also committed. And contray to what some today may believe there is a correlation between them. There is also a process by which the league checks and grades the officials and this crew is the best of the best this year. With no data other than "In my opnion..." or "I think..." lots of otherwise reasonable folks are willing to make the case that the officiating was bad.

My contention is that SEA committed more fouls that is why they were called more frequently. I say that based on the NFL's process to grade and improve officials and to make sure that the best are in the SB. You can of course disagree but...

Got data? or just opnions...

190 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

My plan for fixing officiating:

Make it as SUBJECTIVE as possible, then tell the refs to go call a football game, not a friggin' class action suit.

Don't tell them that x,y, and z constitute pass intereference, except when q and r are present. Tell them to go out and call contact with the opponent that interferes with a catch. Don't tell them that helmet-to-helmet contact is always a 15-yard penalty so that they call roughing the passer when a QB gets tapped on the helmet. Tell them to go out there and penalize defenders for late, malicious hits.

Then make sure that the refs watch lots of film and are always communicating about the plays.
Make sure they are veteran, experienced NFL experts. There will still be bad calls, but not "lets shrug our shoulders because that's how we interepreted the rules" bad calls.

191 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

putnamp, the interference call is not called everytime someone thinks they see it because it doesn't happen 6 feet in front of an official every time it occurs. The fact that the official was there, with the play happening 6 feet in front of him is why it was called. In many other cases the official does not have a clear look at the contact and can't call with any certainty. Just because a penalty is rarely called and may happen on every play doesn't mean that calling it is defacto incorrect.

My advice, if you want to push it away from the official.

192 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Bill Moore writes

"The Darrell Jackson Non-TD at the end of the first half: How is that 1) not a TD, and 2) not reviewed? He catches the ball with left foot inbounds and his right foot hits the pylon. TD, right?"

I know that if a runner hits the pylon with the ball, it's a TD, because the pylon is considered in-bounds and in the end zone. That's proof the ball "broke the plane." But----

On a pass reception, don't both feet have to be DOWN inbounds for the catch to be good? Is a foot kicking the pylon, but not on the ground, considered down? What's the rule.

193 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

I suspect a lot of the "neutrals" were siding with Seattle for a few reasons: 1)Since we're big fans, we've been reading too much pregame stuff, and we got sick of the excessive hype the Steelers got, 2)generic wanting to root for the underdog, 3)Joey Porter, 4)reflex from having Alexander or Hasselbeck on your fantasy teams.

194 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

This game left me feeling listless. This is how the season ends? We see two good teams go at it in what I felt really was a boring game, decided by officiating.

I know its paranoid to think the NFL hates any one team, but the refs just seem to have it out for the Seahawks the last few years. The Ravens game a couple years back lost it for them (Ironically, if that game had been called correctly, the Seahawks'd have won, the Ravens would have played Pittsburgh the last game of the season for a playoff berth, and if the Ravens lost, the Steelers would have been too late in the draft to snag Roethlisberger.) There's the Seahawks/Rams game a couple years back where a Ref knocked down a Seattle official. This year where Holmgren had to call a timeout in overtime against the Giants because the review officials were just sitting there while everyone at home saw Jeremy Shockey drop a pass that the refs gave to them, and this SB.

Would the Steelers have necessarily LOST if the game was called more fairly? No. But at least the game could have been competitive.

195 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Re Kai, # 183

Steve Z, read the post directly above yours for a counterargument about Steelers fans.wks’ victory.

Heh. Vin (#181) seems to be complaining about the complainers than attributing Seahawks fandom to them!

196 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

In any game, there are always going to be calls that are questionable. For example, the Brady tuck rule call in 2001. Pittsburgh hit on big plays and they won. The Seahawks did not hit on any big plays all game with the exception of the Herndon interception. To argue that a holding call and a PI call determined the outcome of the game is absurd. And make no mistake, extending your arm, touching the defender, locking your elbow and moving in the opposite direction DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF THE REFEREE is going to get flagged EVERY time. Seahawk Nation, stop kidding yourselves about that one.

197 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

#194, Steelers fans feel the same way. The Steelers are constantly having the NFL write apology letters about officials who blow the rules, from non-interception interceptions, to running the clock at the wrong time, to not correctly enforcing the rules on an on-side kick vs the Eagles, to botched OT coin flips. I think most fans think the officials have it in for their teams.

199 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

I just joined this particular discussion and read the first 188 comments one after the other. At first I made myself notes to post my agreement with a few sensible, level-headed posters, but there were so very many, a reflection of the readers of this fine site. (I am excluding the conspiracy crew here.) And since this isn't an election here, there is no point in my adding weight to this one or that.

Just a few remarks of my own.

Is there a rule I don't know about that says that after a problematic holding call, you have to throw an interception?

#105 suggests that both Chris Hope and Darrel Jackson interfered on the TD catch. Wouldn't offsetting penalties nullify the catch and require a replay of the down? So the only difference in that case would be the penalty yards.

#85 (Zorro) - We Steeler fans were introduced to the illegal block on a return on a play when Jeff Hartings made a tackle on an interception and incidentally blocked someone else at the same time. That cost him fifteen yards and the fact that he made the tackle didn't help him avoid the penalty.

Finally, for the poster who was concerned about the home atmosphere for the Steelers, perhaps he could invent a towel detector, like the metal detector they use in airports. Then confiscate the offending contraband.

200 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Mike: I agree completely with making it as subjective as possible as far as components of the foul go. My only problem with making it too subjective is that some ref could make a crazy call just because of what he thought and it would stand and there'd be fire and brimstone and all that. I think a baseline of rules would be pretty good, like they do for holding now. It's a flexible rule, it allows for the refs to pick out eggregious/important ones and flag it, while ignoring the bulk, because the bulk don't contribute to plays at all.

Things like posession could probably be just a blanket "if the ref thinks it's a catch," and then add in "in the following situations, it is(/isn't) a catch regardless of discretion..." so you can have things like two feet in and other rules that were meant to codify exceptions but ended up mauling the rulebook because they applied to every catch.

I think that would be a good start.

201 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Well, I think that somehow giving the Super Bowl ref squad _less_ than a month off between games might have helped matters.

Just a little.


202 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl


You've got a point there. Beyond that, I think too many people listened to Sean Salisbury, et al on ESPN, make a bunch of statements about how bad the officiating was. Since they're 'reporters,' their words have some weight, and they have the benefit of super replay equipment to make a reasoned opinion. Too bad they didn't use it. There was nothing wrong with the officiating in this game.

204 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Sean Salisbury said something?

Flagstaff, do you honestly believe that folks like the FO group are influenced by what Sean Salisbury says? Do you believe that fans around the globe were influenced so strongly by the media that they decided to ape what their favorite media pundits were saying?

I Okay, fine. Whatever. Was there nothing wrong with the officiating in the Denver/Pats game, or the Indy/Steelers game as well?

205 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

#115: Thanks. When I started writing that comment, only the first three had been posted, but I had to leave it for a while (damn job always gets in the way of my football) and come back...By the time I posted, you and others had already pointed out the same thing.

#125: Kinda, but not really. A catcher either runs well or he doesn't...Throwing a block is a choice that often involves putting your body at risk, which is why you don't see many QBs do it. It is also something that QBs don't generally practice, making it that much more impressive when done well.

206 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

I dunno, is there a rule that says a 1st and goal at the one is as likely to result in an interception as a long- yardage-required play from thirty yards back?

207 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

206, no, but 1st and goal at the one doesn't gurantee a TD or a chance of a game turning fumble...hmmm wonder where we saw that happen...

208 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

RE: 206


Stop crying already. We've read your posts. We get your point. Your work is done.

209 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

#105 suggests that both Chris Hope and Darrel Jackson interfered on the TD catch. Wouldn’t offsetting penalties nullify the catch and require a replay of the down? So the only difference in that case would be the penalty yards.

Can someone put up a clip of this play? What happened, if memory serves, was Hope and Jackson had incidental contact with each other, then Jackson finishes his route and cuts back heading right (from the ref's perspective). He then cuts left, and in doing so, uses Hope to stop his momentum by pushing into him. Hope was planting his feet to follow Jackson at the time, so he didn't fly backwards or anything, but at game speed there's no way Jackson could've stopped like he did without pushing off.

There were two points of contact - one where both Jackson and Hope were contacting each other (incidental), and then the second one where only Jackson pushed off of Hope.

A clip would be nice, though, as that's just from memory. However, I will say that explaining football to non-football watchers is a great way to really focus as to what's going on.

210 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Neptune1, I'll stop making posts about it if you acknowledge that the officiating was bad. Okay?

211 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

#50 - I think that key calls such as a goal-line touchdown, should go straight to replay without a ruling on the field, so that the replay determines the outcome, without the necessity for overwhelming evidence one way or the other.

#51 - The entire NFL rule book should be available online at

#54 - You're obviously a Colt's fan. I can tell by the whining about Dungy's dead son. So what! Did Belichick whine about his dead father? Was it necessary for Dungy to make his son's death such a national story with 1000 people at the funeral (including every Colt employee who didn't want to be fired)?

212 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Seems like everyone agrees the Hasselbeck penalty was a bad call, and other have referenced a similar call in the regular season against PIT, but...

How substantively different was this from Roethlisberger's below the waist tackle on Harper's return with blockers of the Bettis turnover which was a non-call? What could IND have done with an extra 15 yards? (Sorry, Peyton.)

So I looked up the gamebook for common officials. Only the umpire, Garth DeFelice (53), worked both games, and from the location relative to LOS it would have been the referee's call in both games. Well, I checked all the gamebooks from the divisional and conference rounds, and only one other official, field judge Steve Zimmer (33) in CAR-CHI, worked another game from the divisionals to the SB. Aren't these supposed to be All-Star refs? I bet MDS knows the exact limits on how many games officials can work in the playoffs, but it seems like a suicide pool where no one is happy with the choices in the final round.

The step from conspiracy to bias is as much as bias to BAD officiating, which seems to be what we were supplied. Home-field advantage indeed-Steeler fans showed up.

Homerism: The last team I truly cared for was the 1989 Rams, and yesterday's choke-off will never make me forget the historic, choketacular, Chrissy McPhantomSack.

Great year FO, thank you for being the voice of reason amid the chaos. PFP 2006 should be twice as thick, if you can restrain yourselves and take a deserved break.

213 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl


Well, I probably exaggerated, but I repeat, there was nothing MUCH wrong with the officiating, which can be verified to a great degree by the tape.

A lot of non-Seattle fans are still complaining, so why? I just hear/see a lot of people repeating the same things.

I said elsewhere, (#177) that the officiating has been questionable throuhout the playoffs. Just not in this game.

If we fans were robbed of a great game, it was by the inability of Seattle to go in for the kill after some adversity, not because of the refs.

I mentinoned SS simply because I heard him pontificating this morning.

214 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

I'm sure you're all sick of the pass interference discussion, but let me throw something out. Before I do, I'll say that I'm a Steelers fan and I think the officiating was mediocre, but not egregiously terrible.

The major complaint seems to be that the pass interference call that was called last night is never called in the regular season. Now, I think the call was correct, but I can see that point. But, if you get an all-star crew to call a game -- the best of the best, according to ratings -- aren't you going to see a lot more of those non-calls get called? If these zebras know the rulebook better, then they're going to clamp down harder on those types of plays.

Let me just say: I don't think griping about the officiating is illegitimate. But you've got a lot more eyeballs on the Super Bowl than a regular season game, and an officiating crew that gets high marks for getting the calls right. The problem here may have been an overly-diligent crew wrapping up a season that saw less-than-diligent officiating. Just a thought.

215 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

RE: 206 and 210

So, now we know that "Kal" and "Will Allen" are the same person, anyway. That helps sort through some of the discussion.

216 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Re: 50

Aaron, I have a lot of respect for you and this site but I don't think you need to call out Steelers fans like that. They have hardly been rude in this forum especially considering that nearly the entire Audibles column downplayed their victory to complain about "phantom" penalties.

217 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

No, Brian (214), it's the other way around. Traditionally you get a lot of non-calls in the superbowl and in playoff games because they want to err on the side of letting players play. If anything, the rules enforcement is (or has been, and should be) more lax than the regular season.

218 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Re 216

Sorry that was meant to be in refrence to Post 55. Little under the weather today.

219 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

#215. I was speaking for myself. Will Allen can speak for himself. I figure if you're annoyed with him for complaining about the officiating you'll be annoyed with me as well.

My offer still stands - if you acknowledge that the officiating was bad, I'll shut up about it.

220 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

A response to your general comments about Steelers fans and their reactions to the game. I don't know what you're getting in your inbox, but from the message board last night and today, it seems to me that most of the Steelers fans posting are respectful, if biased. You certainly do seem to be assuming that Steelers fans are being unreasonable, which I don't see is the case, at least on this site. Regardless, it seems to me that almost all of the questionable calls occurred in the first half. There was plenty of time for Seattle to recover from them. Instead they seemed to lose composure and stumble through the second half. I wouldn't call this a lack of character, but if a team doesn't respond well to adversity in big games, then that team probably won't win. Secondly, I think the fact that most of the questionable calls occurred in the first half puts the lie to the "Seattle was robbed" meme. Yeah, you could argue that if Seattle had scored more points in the first half then everything would've changed. But remember in the second half, when the score was 14-3, the Steelers basically wasted two drives in a row trying to kill time. Who knows what would've happened if they tried to do something on those drives? It seems to me that either time had an opportunity to win in the second half, and it was the Steelers who took advantage of their opportunities.

221 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

"1) In the 2nd or 3rd Quarter Mack Strong caught a pass on 3rd down and was stopped short by a couple inches (why didn’t he stretch the ball out?) I thought the spot on the field was bad, but ABC never showed us a replay. ABCs presentation sucked."
If you're talking about the same play I'm thinking of (where he was tackled by two defenders), he was actually a full yard short, and the officials made a bad spot in favor of the Seahawks that almost gave them a first down.

"2) Offensive PI to take away the touchdown. Both players played patty-cakes on the play. 80% of the time this is a non-call."
Um. What? Jackson blatantly pushed Hope away right before the ball arrived, causing him to move in the opposite direction. Add that it's right in front of the official, and it's an easy call.

"3) Hasselbeck being called for a low-block. You are not allowed to take out blockers by going into their legs on returns. You are allowed to take out return men by tackling them below the waist."
I swear, the Steelers have been penalized for doing the exact same thing. As I remember, the tackler took out the defender, and as he was still moving, took out a blocker afterward. Flag. Same thing happened with Hasselbeck. It is obviously stupid, but it has been called consistently over the season.

"4) Phantom hold to take away 1st and goal inside the 5. It was a very marginal call at best."
You mean the one where Locklear is standing beside and behind Haggans and has an arm wrapped around his body, preventing him from making an easy sack that prevents the pass from ever happening?

"5) Haggans was moving before the snap on the phantom hold play, and the sack he had after (before?) it. I’m not sure if he was lined up close to the neutral zone or not, ABC never gave a good replay."
I'll take another look at that. It definitely deserves a second glance.

"6) Porter had what looked to be about the most blatant horsecollar tackle all year. He grabbed from the top of collar and pulled down. I would’ve like to see a replay to better judge."
Yes, it was a horsecollar, but that penalty has not been enforced all year. Since the preseason, it has happened dozens of times and been called once. I'll give you it, though, since I think the PI, though not usually called, was correct. That's one.

"7) Big Ben TD… the call on the field was blown. There is no way you can tell the ball crossed the plane unless you viewed the slow-motion replay. Furthermore, BIG BEN FUMBLED THE BALL WHEN IT GOT HIT… thus you can’t assume he got in. NFL officials all year have called goal line plays this way. I think he probably got in, but you have to infer the ball across the goal line, even on the replay."
Ben fumbled AFTER the ball reached the farthest point. Judging from how close the part of the ball near his hand was, and that his elbow was well ahead of his hand, it's a touchdown.
By saying it shouldn't be ruled a touchdown on the field if it's not obvious, you're essentially complaining about them not making a wrong call.

"8) Peter Warrick returned a punt in the first half to around mif-field and #35 was called for holding during the return. Upon replay, I couldn’t see the hold, and the crewmember who threw the flag was 20 yards downfield from the play."
I definitely could. But this is rather subjective.

"9) Hines Ward for holding on the busted play run by Roethelisberger."
I'll give you that. I saw that one.

"10) Holding by the center on the Roethelisberger draw."
The center (Hartings) did a basic down-block right on the defender, and Roethlisberger went left. Looked pretty legitimate to me.

"11) Seahawks safety originally called for an unecessary roughness flag for hitting Hines Ward. I know the flag was picked up, but when I saw it I nearly jumped out of my chair…"
Well it did look like he hit him helmet-to-helmet at first. Give the officials credit for seeing otherwise and picking that up.

"12) Ben Roethelisberger calling timeout after the center forgot to snap the ball during clock killing drive. You can’t call a timeout after the playclock has already gone down to 00. The Steelers ended up getting a first down by 2 yards on a run."
Very often the play clock hits zero just before the ball is snapped or timeout is called but the officials don't immediately see. This is typical.

"Here is the list of calls against the Steelers.
1) Stevens catch-fumble. NFL officials have been calling this incomplete throughout the year, so it’s not really surprising they call this close one incomplete."
2) On the interception return, at the Pittsburgh 40, Roethlisberger is blatantly blocked in the back. This would move the ball from the Pittsburgh 20 to the 50. That's quite a difference.

"Holmgren didn’t get out-coached, his offense was moving the ball quite well against the vaunted Pittsburgh defense. My only problems with him were not challenging the spot or going for it on at least 1 4th down."
Challenging the spot would have, if anything, moved the ball backward.
It seemed like the corners tightened up when the Seahawks got near field-goal range, causing a lot of stops just out of range (hence, the 54-yard miss and 4 touchback punts).

"The Seahawks ended up 1 big play short."
2 big plays. 2.

223 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

RE: 219

Why don't you both just agree to speak for each other, since you are only bringing up the same points you've made about a dozen other times in the discussion? You're unhappy with the officiating. We understand. Anything else to offer?

224 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

220: Seattle responded by marching the length of the field to the Pittsburgh 1 to set up a go-ahead touchdown in the 4th quarter.

225 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Actually, Neptune, kal and I got into it pretty good the other day on another matter, and, anyways, if people don't want their questions answered, then they shouldn't ask them. Finally, I'm not crying about anything. In fact, you appear to be more upset than I am.

226 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl


Well, I'm bringing up that the officiating sucks. Will Allen is going a bit further, saying that it would have resulted in a Hawk win. I don't know if that's the case, and it doesn't really matter to me nearly as much as the fairness angle does.

Not that you're bringing anything other than sniping randomly at people about the officiating into the mix either. At least I'm talking about the game.

227 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

I will start with this:
Hasslebeck's PF was a miscall, and the holding was questionable. It did seem that the offensive player was not in front of the Steelers rusher. But then again, I'm not too clear on what is the exact definition of "holding".

That being said, everything else was fine. 31, 39, and 44 have the right idea.

In response to #109. I don't know what you're NOT looking at, but he CLEARLY did push the defenderhim. And it was pass interference. NO QUESTION.

Personally, on Ben's rush, I believe (after pausing and advancing the picture frame by frame) the ball broke the goal line by a hair. It's hard to tell what is glove and what is ball. Even IF it did not, there was no conclusive evidence to the contrary. Hence, the call stands. (I will agree that the ref should have made the call right away)

Sidenote: Something is disturbingly wrong with ESPN's formula on best QB performances in Super Bowl history. How is Unitas' performance better with LESS completions and LESS yards, with the same number of TDs and INTs?

As far as the whole "hitting the pylon" issue: that only comes into play when a player has ALREADY ESTABLISHED POSSESSION. The receiver clearly only had one foot inbounds. NO CONTEST.

Let's not forget a play in the fourth where a Seattle receiver (not sure who) caught the ball, took at least two (maybe even THREE) steps with clear possession of the ball, then lost it -- and it was called incomplete.

Regarding the Steelers performance:
The Steelers didn't NEED to annihlate the Seahawks to be seen as the best team in the NFL. They earned that right by dominating the Bengals, Colts, and Broncos.

No one knocked off the tough teams for the Steelers. I bet the Colts were saying "woohoo, the Steelers beat the Bengals for us!". And I bet the Broncos/Seahawks were saying "woohoo, the Steelers beat the Colts for us!". I'm not sure if Seattle was happy that we beat the Broncos for them, though.

Let's keep in mind all the OTHER teams that beat the top three seeds in their conference in the playoffs...




No one but the Super Steelers.
World Champions 2006.

Officiating Conclusion:
Completely fair. (Steelers' holding call, and Seahawks fumble non-call cancel each other out.)

228 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

RE: 226

Yes, you are bringing up that the "officiating sucks." Over. And. Over. And. Over. Thanks. I'm sure I speak for all those who haven't been following the thread and haven't read that you are not happy with your Super Bowl experience. Sorry. Anything I can do to help you out with that?

229 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Kal (217),

Traditionally you get a lot of non-calls in the superbowl and in playoff games because they want to err on the side of letting players play. If anything, the rules enforcement is (or has been, and should be) more lax than the regular season.

I think I understand the point (no one's arguing that the pass interference call wasn't pass interference, but it's minor and it should have been let go for the purpose of the game). As for what traditionally goes on in the playoffs, I can't say one way or the other.

What I'm saying is that those types of borderline calls would proliferate with a highly-ranked officiating crew trying to prove itself on a big stage. You might say the officiating would improve if the calls sunk to the level of the regular season (assuming that the regular season officiating missed a lot).

230 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl


The steelers wasted two drives? Huh. The game I watched had the Steelers driving down the field, getting close to the end zone and trying to go up 21-3. Instead, Ben threw an interception. How do you figure that's a waste of a drive?

I do agree that it's not clear who would have won the game if the calls go the other way. I also agree that Seattle had plenty of opportunities to win the game in spite of these calls, and it's their fault for not doing so. That makes the officiating no less bad.

In other news, it was really great to see Joey Porter in a news conference say that he didn't do anything special in the game. It was absolutely true, but it was refreshing for a guy who is as outspoken about his talents to admit when he wasn't a factor at all.

Something else I thought was interesting was that most of the big press stories didn't materialize. The Steelers were not more physical than the Hawks. The Steeler's running game was not dominant. Ben was not an efficient passer who could throw to many receivers. The Steeler defense was not particularly dominant. Hasselbeck was not prone to huge amounts of mistakes, and the Seattle secondary did not have a horrific game.

Really, most pundits that I saw got this game totally, utterly wrong.

232 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

I think you're all pretty much sniping at each other. Please stop. We're better than this.

I think a good question was brought up, though... have they actually thrown fewer flags on iffy penalties (holding, PI et al) less in the playoffs than the regular season? I'm leaning towards no, since a lot of these penalities are rare on good teams (with a few notable exceptions), and I can't remember the last time I saw a game without a least a couple penalties, playoffs or no. Does anyone have any data (by team, I would suppose), or where to get it? I'm wondering if our "they don't call that in the playoffs" is actually a product of them not calling it in the playoffs or a kind of sentimental, subconcious anger at the refs for interfering with our game.

233 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Everyone read #221

That ends all arguments.

And whomever he was replying to certainly has a wild imagination.

234 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

could people stop bringing up the brady tuck rule call in 2001 as an example of questionable calls? It is a textbook call. The rule clearly states "If the arm is going forward, it is an incomplete pass."

By citing this as an example for a bad call, you lose all credibility.

236 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Actually, kal, I've said precisely the opposite, clearly stating that the officiating was not the primary cause of the outcome. Please don't misrepresent me.

Neptune, I'll stop answering questions about the holding call when people stop asking if it is required for Hasselbeck to throw an interception after the holding call. Fair enough?

237 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

#231: 2 weeks 'till pitchers and catchers! :D

Also, I just noticed something... I thought that the little scoreboard at the top right of ("Steelers 24-Seahawks 24 blah blah blah") was a link to Bayless's article, but apparently it was actually a scoreboard and they never got it updating (since I saw it there last night). That was pretty funny.

238 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

You might be right, I don't remember the drives exactly. I thought there was at least one 3-and-out drive where the Steeler ran three straight times when they got up 14-3. Regardless, my point was that the Steelers would have done different things if the score was closer.

239 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Good point, Fnor. Just based on regular season you would expect this to be one of the lowest-penalized games this year. Pitt was the least penalized team, and Seattle was tied for second least. My feeling from watching playoff games and superbowls is that less penalties are normally called, but I don't know what the causality of that is. I do know that officials of the NFL have said repeatedly that they don't want the refs to be a focus of the game, and so they had instructed the refs to play off a bit. I'll see if I can dig up a pertinent article.

#229: Exactly. It wasn't that it was not an offensive PI - by the letter of the rules, it absolutely was. However, the letter of the rules is not the standard of the rules, and it's problematic especially when it is called one way on one play and not on the rest of the plays. And I see your point - you would think that the 'good' team would catch more errors. However, part of being 'good' is knowing when to let people play and not calling questionable calls. So while they're more likely to call penalties on things other people miss, they're also more likely not to call penalties on things that people view as borderline.

241 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

235- At least it seems you're a legit Pitt fan and not a bandwagon jumper.

I know there are a lot of Steelers/Yankees "fans" out there in the world today.

242 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Mcfly, would you characterize a 98 yard drive in the second half while behind 14-10 as indicative of a lack of character?

243 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Re the pylon call: From a rules column on ESPN:

"A player will be ruled in bounds if he touches the pylon at the goal line before going out of bounds. For example, a pass would be considered complete if one foot touches the pylon and the other foot is in bounds." I wasn't half as mad when I thought Jackson was out of bounds. Yes, I'm a Seahawks fan. Yes, we probably win anyway if we don't drop so many passes and the special teams come through. Still though, it was incredibly frustrating. Nothing like watching a game where every close thing goes against you to make you dwell over it all spring. It's not like the M's will distract me after all.

244 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Shockingly #233, those are Vash's opinions and not absolute facts. I don't agree with most of his assessments.

Sometimes I really wish the NFL was not this subjective.

Sorry, #236 - I could've sworn you were saying that those calls caused the Hawks to lose. If you didn't, I apologize.

And I agree, #238: the Steelers would have played very differently had they gone into the second half down 10-7 or 14-7 or whatever. Which is why I don't and will not say that the Hawks would have won if they got the calls. My point is this: I don't want to have to wonder about that. I don't want to even think about that, especially on so many different occasions. I'd be happy to say 'what if' to Stevens catching the ball or Seattle coverage being better because, ya know, those are things Seattle can control. But officiating? Bah.

245 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl


I have to agree with all of your comments. Being a Bronco fan, and having absolutely no cares on who won this game, the Seahawks were screwed. I can't remember when the last time I felt this way about any sporting event. But to have it happen at the Super Bowl, the single largest event in the world, is a disgrace. I heard a commentator on the Denver stations say that the refs aren't perfect, just like the players. Basically saying that we shouldn't expect too much. What? This comparison is stupid. These refs were suppose to be the best. They don't have any opposition creating adversity for them. Fans and players have to hold them at a higher standard. They are the ones who enforce the rules. No different than police officers and judges.

Also, what the hell is the deal with the Tom Brady love fest? Why did he have to flip the coin this year? Can we PLEASE move on from the Patriots for one game. The media and NFL is driving me nuts. Wouldn't it have made more sense to have a recent military personnel flip the coin?

Speaking of military, where was the recognition to these fine individuals who are in harms way in a foreign country? These liberal Hollywood elites say they care about the military but have just proven otherwise.

In my estimation, this is the worst Super Bowl in History.

246 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

241, I am certainly a legit Pittsburgh fan.

Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. (I don't watch a lot of hockey, but when I do I root for Pittsburgh)

My father was a Steelers/Pirates fan and that's how I was raised. Near Canton, Ohio... too many browns fans :-P

Now I live near Philly... too many eagles fans :-P

Next move (when fiance and I finish grad school) is definitely to western, PA.

Andy Van Slyke! heh

247 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Shocking Fact: it doesn't matter if a rusher fumbles the ball after it crosses the goal line.

248 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Mcfly, would you characterize a 98 yard drive in the second half while behind 14-10 as indicative of a lack of character?
Are ya' trying to pick a fight with me Will? See my first comment (#220), I wouldn't characterize it as a lack of character. I think that overall the 'Hawks played a poor second half. So did the Steelers for that matter, but they made enough plays to win. Like I said, the game was up for grabs at the beginning of the second half, and the Steelers responded better than the Seahawks.

249 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

I didn't root for either team, and I thought the game was actually pretty boring.

That goal-line play was exciting, though, and I watched pretty closely. And I watched every one of the 50 or so replays attentively. There is no way to tell if the ball broke the plane or not. Seattle fans saying it clearly didn't and Pittsburgh fans saying it clearly did are both fooling themselves (behaviorists call this "confirmation bias".)

The review ref did the right thing: he watched the replay, correctly decided that the replay showed nothing--the ball was obscured the whole time it night have been crossing the plane--and therefore, correctly, announced that the ruling on the field must stand because the replay didn't show enough evidence to overturn it.

250 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Upon coming to this site, I was very surprised to see that this was even going to be a discussion of this magnitude.

Upon leaving, it it still evident that the officiating did not effect the final outcome of the game.

Both Seattle and Pittsburgh had disapointing portions of this season. It's just unfortunate that Seattle's came at the end.

If it weren't for Pittsburgh's midseason slump, they would have been better than a 6 seed. However, they played closer to the 6 seed in the super bowl.

And the hawks still didn't have a chance at the end.

You can look at any game and find a million tiny reasons why a team SHOULD have won.

Neither team played to its potential yesterday. Maybe they shouldn't have two weeks off?

251 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Off topic - non-officiating comment. (Although I will say that while the officiating was clearly bad, I am not sure it would have changed the result).

Will, I have to disagree with you that the Steelers did not out-coach the Seahawks in this game (I will take it off the head guys though, I think the whole staff has to share the burden). Coaching includes game planning, preparation of your team, and game day execution and in-game decision making. Sure, the Seahawks cranked some yardage out, but not points.

Those punts for touchbacks were horrible. I can understand that you don't want to get torched by a Steve Smith return again, but you are supposed to practice your coverage, not have your punter boom them into the end zone. And you've got to field the punts kicked at you that land between the 10 and the 20, not let a superior cover team down it on the 2. That is an element of coaching.

The play-calling at critical times was "suspect". And the two-minute drills by the Seahawks could not have been what was practiced.

To give up the equivalent of a "Hail Mary" on a third and 20+ also must come back to coaching. Lastly, to allow that last touchdown when (as even Madden noted), you knew a play of that type was coming sooner or later from the Steelers, is not something a fully prepared team should have allowed. Overall, I have to say that the Steelers did win the coaching battle.

252 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

243, that's an amazing find, and if that rule hasn't changed in the last four offseasons (the Tuck Rule lede indicates the article dates to 2002), it's pretty much the hammer.

I didn't think twice about the play when it happened (other than, "drag your damn feet, D-Jax"). But then, I don't draw pay for knowing the NFL rulebook backwards and forwards. It's sort of like getting a brand new screw for Monday morning.


253 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

#247: When did I say anything about Ben fumbling the ball? Hell, that call pissed me off the least. So what if it's 4th and an inch instead of a TD? Pitt is almost certainly going to score. It didn't change the outcome of the game significantly at all.

I don't think that it was the right call and I don't think that when it is that close you should call a TD (let it be decided by replay) but it's not nearly as egregious as the PI call, the holding call, the Unsport on Hass, the blown call for Jackson scoring when his foot hit the pylon, etc.

254 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

#190 - I think that is exactly what the league needs to do. Reffing (?) should be more common sense and less Byzantine than it is now.

And I am a Pitt homer. I hate the refs for tainting what probably would have been a Stillers win on an even field. I just wish I could have watched an epic SB between these 2 teams when they were both still hot and in synch.

255 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

I sympathize with the Seahawks fans. I'm sure that they feel that winning the time of possession and turnover battles, as well as outgaining the Steelers by 60 yards, should have resulted in a win. Unfortunately, it doesn't. Most of PITT's yards (and points) came from a beautifully executed gadget play, and a hail mary on 3d and 28. That's gotta burn, but it counts. Blaming the loss on the officials seems to me like sour grapes. Had Rouen simply pinned the Steelers inside the 20, and had Brown been able to connect on one or two of his misses were important factors in the game. The Seahawks' failure to run more often was also a dubious decision. Hasselbeck's interception was a killer. Stevens' drops killed momentum and drives. The Steelers did not win this game, but nor did the referees give it to them as seems to be Aaron's point and many others.

In my opinion, the teams were evenly matched, and in instances like that penalties and mistakes (physical and mental) determine the outcome. Seattle lost because they did not execute as well as they could have, and when the Steelers gambled it paid off. That's how it goes.

256 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Haven't read all the comments yet. Poorly played game on both sides of the ball.

HOWEVER, I have watched and rewatched the Jackson no-catch at the end of the first half. It seems to me that Jackson's caught the ball, his left foot was in bounce, his right foot stepped out of bounce, then his left leg hit the pylon...NO CATCH. Watch it again.

I do not think it was a completed pass. The Steelers called a time out after that play....the replay crew had plenty of time to look at it.

257 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

"but it’s not nearly as egregious as the PI call, the holding call, the Unsport on Hass, the blown call for Jackson scoring when his foot hit the pylon, etc."

1 for 4

PI: nope
Holding: nope
Hass' PF: sure
Pylon: nope

258 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

252 - I found that link on the Seattle PI's forum. I can't believe that that play didn't get reviewed. I might know that rule but the refs should.

259 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Re #161: please provide the isbn number. Amazon and Borders on-line both have the Larry Upson edited rules for 2005 isbn 1572437812. This is an edited and abridged version (and the Borders' site has the title all botched up). If anyone has a copy of a complete version of the rulebook, please post a unique reference number where it can be ordered.

The web sites of MLB, NBA, and NHL all provide links to their entire rulebooks. Only the NFL provides just a digest which it states:

"... is not meant to be a substitute for the official rule book. In any case of conflict between these explanations and the official rules, the rules always have precedence."

Unfortunately, this is not provided. Why?

261 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

#257: Someone asked. Are we really going to sit here and say 'uh huh! nuh uh!' all day?

I understand you don't agree, and that's fine. But come on - you've got to at least explain why you feel those calls weren't in error.

263 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

I think people get too caught up in things that are hard to measure, like "outcoaching" or "character". It seems to me that the most important plays of the game had little to do with any of the above. In descending order of importance the key plays are, in my opinion.

1a. Boulware makes a very bad play on the ball when Roethlisberger throws across the field on third and 28, giving Pittsburgh their first touchdown. This quite likely is mostly due to Boulware still being inexperienced as a safety.

1b. Boulware miserable play on Parker's touchdown run, giving Pittsburgh it's second touchdown. This is harder to explain, due to Boulware being a former linebacker in college, but it sure isn't a matter of coaching or character.

1c. Roethlisberger's idiotic pass, when Pittsburgh had a chance to build on a 14-3 lead. Complete, unadulterated, idiocy, that is not any more attributable to coaching or character than Boulware's misplays.

1d. Jeremy Stevens' dropped passes, which, as I stated above, a coach cannot gameplan for, other than to keep the guy off the field.

2. The phantom holding call negating the completetion to the one yard line, and taking the wind out of a great length of the field drive when the score was 14-10. The interception which ensued directly resulted from this.

3. The gadget touchdown, bringing back the lead to 11 points late in the game. This is the one key play attributable to coaching, although it was aided as well by the injury to Seattle's starting safety.

4. Seattle's lousy punting, which prevented the Seattle defense, when it really had Pittsburgh's offense's number, from putting extreme field position pressure on Pittsburgh's defense.

Everything else was far less important. The PI call was understandable, given what it must have looked like at full speed. Roethlisberger's td was 50-50. Yes, those two calls could have gone either way, but they were not so obviously inconsistent with how such plays are normally called as the as the holding penalty.

264 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Regarding Rouen as a goat, it wasn't as if he was pooch-kicking from the 40. His touchbacks went 57, 51, 47, and 52 yards, for a net average (after touchback) of 31.8, while his returned kicks had a net average of only 31.0 (49 returned 20, 45 returned 12). Do fans really think that 50 yard kicks downed at the 2 are the norm in those situations?

265 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

I already did #261.

See #227

Bottom line:
After weeding out all the calls that don't seem, but actually were, fair. You are left with two bad calls against Seattle (Hasslebeck PF and maybe the holding call on the punt return) and two bad calls against Pittsburgh (Stevens catch-fumble and the block in the back on Roethlisberger on the aforementioned punt return).

If you give each team those two calls, the Steelers are still World Champions at the end of the day.

266 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Seems like a lot of Steelers fans are claiming that because there was poor officiating against them, that it's ok that that it went for them. Ridic.

I suspect most of the same "neutral" football fans who saw the rip job by the officials in the Indy-Pittsburgh game were rooting for Pittsburgh; I know I was.

And just as it was clear that the officials in that game were totally in favor of the Colts, it was clear in this game that they were in favor of the Steelers.

This isn't an anti-Steelers diatribe you're seeing, it's an anti-officiating one. What we wanted to see was a good football game, and instead we saw the refs imposing their rather obvious preference.

It's pretty ironic that Steelers fans, who as far as I know were all crying about the officiating in the Indy game (deservedly so, in my opinion) are now saying that anyone who questions the officiating in this game is a "whiner" or a conspiracy theorist. All it takes is one or more referee who, for whatever reason, prefers one team to win. It doesn't take the entire NFL, it doesn't require a massive conspiracy. And just as it was clear to me, a Patriots fan who genuinely likes both the Steelers and the Seahawks teams, that the Steelers were getting jobbed earlier in the playoffs, it appears that the Hawks got robbed here. Too many phantom calls, too many non-calls, etc. which have been well documented above. Now you can make an argument for any one of these calls, but I'd aver that you at least have to admit that each one was somewhat unusual (thinking here particularly of the PI call, the holding call, the chop block call). In the aggregate, however, it seemed overwhelmingly obvious that the refs were favoring the Steelers, and fairly obviously so.

267 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl


I don't give you that those calls are weeded out, but it doesn't matter. I'm not disputing that the Steelers won, and I'm not even disputing that the Steelers could have won in spite of all those calls going the other way.

I'm saying, period, that those calls made the game less enjoyable for me to watch. I'm not saying those were a deciding factor, or even what their importance was in the game. I am simply saying that I do not want to watch a game that is so influenced by officials. I want to watch a game that is influenced by the players making plays.

But I think I'm done. I'll let FO and the national media talk for me now.

268 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

265 - see post 243 re the pylon rule. That's a huge one and should have been a TD. I watched it a few times today and the right foot grazes the pylon before hitting the sideline.

269 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

re 256 and 257
I could have sworn his right leg hits the pylon, if you look at it frame by frame the pylon definately moves before the second leg hits it.
Will Allen, those are all good points.
But You really don't think not going for it on 4th down in the first half was a mistake. I mean either the 4th and inches from the 26 or the 4th and 2 from midfield?

270 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

mcfly, I apologize for misinterpreting you but this...

"Instead they seemed to lose composure and stumble through the second half. I wouldn’t call this a lack of character, but if a team doesn’t respond well to adversity in big games, then that team probably won’t win"

...seems a little contradictory. How does driving 98 yards, well into the 2nd half, while behind 14-10 show a lack of composure, if not a lack of chracter? How does lacking character differ from lacking composure, in terms of it being a measurable phenomena?

271 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

265 - see post 243 re the pylon rule. That’s a huge one and should have been a TD. I watched it a few times today and the right foot grazes the pylon before hitting the sideline.

Good find, by the way. Now I really think that the game was poorly called - if that's the rule, that play has to be reviewed.

It makes you wonder if there was a conspiracy.

For the Steelers? No. For the refs. Could they possibly have made a better argument to the fans that the current system doesn't work? Yah, some might get fired - but the NFL might change the whole lot, hiring full time refs because of it.

Incidentally, though, this ("touching a pylon with your foot is in bounds") is a retarded rule. Why in the world did they change this one? Why just the pylon? What about other field fixtures?

272 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

RE: 266

To claim that the referees were intentionally calling penalties to aid the Steelers is totally devoid of any logic. Why would any referee do this? Did you hear what happened to Morelli following the Indy game? Did you hear that his HOME was attacked when someone through a brick threw one of its windows? Why would any referee subject himself to national ridicule intentionally? The people on this site have the benefit of endless replays. Referees do not. The PI call has been discussed in depth here, and I believe the consensus view is that it was a technical call, and in most instances does not warrant a flag. In this case, however, it happened in plain view and was readily apparent on replay. It was the correct call. You may think it was overly technical, but it was correct by the rules. The holding call sure looked like an arm bar to me, but again I think that reasonable minds can differ.

There is no conspiracy. If the NFL wanted the most profitable teams to make the Super Bowl, then the Cowboys and the Jets would be in the Super Bowl every year. Even better, the NFL would move the Saints to L.A., and next year we'd have a Saints vs. Jets Super Bowl! Think of the marketing revenue! The conspiracy talk is without any merit whatsoever people.

273 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

"isn’t the story this morning how Ben Roethlisberger choked away the Super Bowl with two interceptions"

Certainly, Ben had a terrible game. Cowher was afraid of Ben throwing the ball after the 2nd INT.

"how Joey Porter didn’t show up after mouthing off"

I think the Steelers game plan on defensive did not involve Porter as much as the previous 2-3 games. From what I remember, he did not rush the QB as much as previous weeks. He played within the defensive game plan.

"how Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson creamed Kimo von Oelhoffen"

Its not Kimos job to get pressure on the QB....he takes up blockers and covers gaps.

"how Jerome Bettis couldn’t run the ball in his last game in his hometown"

14-43yds...not his best performance, but not his worst. He coulnd't punch it into the endzone at the end of the 1st half, but he did get crucial yardage with about 4 minutes left in the game to set up the 3rd and one, after Ben ran for the 1st down, the game was over.

"how the Seahawks picked on Ike Taylor in the first half"

Maybe, but in the Steelers D, they give the short passes. They want the play to happen in front of them. Again, Taylor was playing the system.

I am not saying the Steelers played great. They did not. Ben had a terrible, terrible game, but Seatle did not play well either.

I understand everyone, not just FO, is saying the refs blew it. I do not totally agree. The Jackson no-catch was not a catch. The push off was a push off. The 15 yarder for block below the belt was a bad call, and the holding call was questionable. The Ben TD was a TD, or it was very, very close. I think the ball crossed the goal line while he was in the air, before he hit the ground. On a play that close, no one can blame the officials.

Both teams deserved to be in the SB, neither team really deserved to win it - based on their performances in the game.

274 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

A few thoughts from a Seattle fan:

RE- coaching: I think Matt played a bad game and made bad decisions, and that includes the management of the late drives. A lot of the time wasted was because of his trying to audible. I think in terms of game plan, Seattle was a LOT better prepared, witness Pitt trying to just run the ball when any amount of scouting would have told you it wouldn't happen. I didn't think it was Mike's best game, but I actually thought that Pittsburg had some just horrible play calling on the offensive side.

The most frustrating call is the Jackson PI, not because it's wrong, but because it's so inconsistantly enforced. I don't think it's any great conspiracy, but it just makes you wish that the refs did a better job. (I also don't understand why every NFL ref isn't required to give Mike Carey like explanations of the calls, I think in some cases that would go a long way into making everybody feel better).

Boulware had a chance to knock that 3rd and 28 ball away and went for the pick and badly misjudged things. Huge play.

The Ben TD was a TD by my viewing, and even if it wasn't it would have been the next play.

I thought D-Jax was out of bounds on the long pass at the end of the half.

The horrible punting hurt A LOT. That's a ton of lost field position, and I don't understand what the problem was, as that hasn't been an issue all season. Our special teams (save field goals)have been horrible all year and I'd expect that you'll see some coaching changes in that area.

It looked like Pitt was offsides on the holding penalty that took the ball off of the one, and on the next sack. M&M didn't say anything about it, so maybe I'm wrong, but I would have at least liked to see a replay. If it wasn't holding, I want to know why somebody was able to anticpate the snap count that easily on two straight plays.

If Stevens doesn't drop/fumble that ball, I think this game changes in a big way. That's a huge play. Very frustrating, because Steven's ability to expose Pitts undersized defensive backfield and blitz packages was a huge key to this game and he simply didn't preform.

As a Seattle fan, this hurts because it's a game that we just flat lost. I think we proved we're the better team, we just had worse timing and worse luck. It really makes you wonder why you invest so much energy and emotion into events which are so subject to random chance. Allowing yourself to get that worked up about a slightly weighted coin toss is just a horrible thing to do to yourself.

275 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Nice recap, guys.

"The fact is, we were robbed — all of us who love the NFL."

I'm more interested in the regular season than I am in the playoffs. What I'll remember most about this season is the emergence of Carson Palmer, and how fun he and the Bengals offense were to watch.

Still. All the time I spent watching football, reading about the NFL (especially the superb writing and analysis of FO), playing in a fantasy league... for this season to culminate in a game ruled and decided by brutally lopsided, incompetent officiating is hard to take.

I think the other playoff games with miserable refereedom show it to be a systematic problem in the NFL rather than a freak occurence. I'd suggest that people who call games this badly should be fired, and that Hochuli should be paid handsomely to create a system and teach whatever he practices to the other refs.

I doubt anything will really change, and know this will cut my interest in the NFL's product by about ninety percent. Ah well.

Anyway, thank you to Aaron and the FO crew for another solid year, and for always being the voice of reason. If the NFL fails to address its problems and you guys switch to covering the CFL, I'll follow you there.

276 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Mike Tanier: So what do Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Tanier have in common?

I really thought the answer was going to be ridiculous facial hair.

277 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

The fourth and inches is not that bad a call. When your defense is playing well, there isn't that much reason to take a fourth down chance of any kind that deep in your own territory, that early in the game. The fourth and two punt can be argued, but not as a critical element of the game.

I tell ya' what; if the pylon call was bad, we've entered an entirely different dimension of bad officiating, given that it wasn't reviewed. Might have to call 'em the Pittsburgh **!

278 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Neptune1 (#272 )--

I don't think there was a refs' conspiracy, but this:

Did you hear what happened to Morelli following the Indy game? Did you hear that his HOME was attacked when someone through a brick threw one of its windows?

...sounds like an excellent set of reasons for the refs to favor Pittsburgh over Seattle.

279 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

I don't want to argue semantics. My point was that the Seahawks played a very good first half (or at least first quarter). Unfortunately, because of the refs or for whatever other reason, they only managed three points. If they had continued their good play in the second half, then they would have won. Instead, for most of the second half, and even at the end of the first half, they seemed to be out of rhythm and just not clicking. Their 98-yard drive was impressive, but that was an aberration. Why did they not play well in the second half? I don't know - bad coaching? bad play by Boulware and Stevens? continued screwing by the officials? It just seems to me that the Patriots, under the same circumstances, would have rallied in the second half and kicked the snot out of the Steelers. I called in "composure", I suppose you could call it "chemistry" or "character" or any of those other generic c-words. Regardless, the Seahawks didn't come together in the second half like they needed to to win the game.

280 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Punting and touchbacks
In 2005 the average team punted 78.5 times.
they downed 23.0 inside the 20
6.7 were touchbacks.
So for every tb there are 3.5 punts downed inside the 20, I honestly never thought the ratio was that high.
so Jim P, no, downing it the two is not the norm. But all those tb's were not the norm either.

282 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl


Kal, those plays have been discussed over and over. Brad's terse response to you reflects the fact that you're trying to pretend that you're clearly right on all four calls, and therefore have some sort of point. But you're not, and so you don't.

On 3 of those 4 calls, there's a significant faction that thinks you're wrong, or that they're coin toss calls that aren't legitimate to complain (at length, and repeatedly) about. To cite them again, 250 posts in, as if you're plainly in the right, is no more productive than "uh huh! nuh uh!"

And seriously, if you think that PI call was bogus, I invite you to come over and play DB against me any day. I think I'll get all the catches I want.

283 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

The most frustrating call is the Jackson PI, not because it’s wrong, but because it’s so inconsistantly enforced.

I don't get this. In slow motion, it doesn't look like much, but at game speed, it's obvious. He pushed off. It may be inconsistently enforced, but it wasn't in this case. That one was fine.

The two that people should be up in arms about are the Hasselbeck low block and Jackson being called out of bounds in the end zone. The first was absolutely wrong, the second is almost definitely wrong, as the pylon is in bounds.

284 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl


We will have to agree to disagree.

I do not see his right leg touching the pylon...certainly no before his right foot hits the ground.

His right leg would have had to touch the pylon before his right foot hit the ground.

285 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

#263 The interception which ensued directly resulted from this.

I believe the expression is "post hoc ergo proctor hoc."

286 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Thanks for responding to the list.

Re: Roethelisberger TD
My complaint is that it looked like the official ruled Roethelisberger down, and then when he saw the ball over the plane he decided to rule it a TD. I don't disagree that it may have crossed by an inch for half a second... but you have to INFER that because we never see the ball cross the plane.

Re: Holding on Draw Play
I'll agree it shouldn't have been called a hold...

Re: Timeout with Playclock on 00
This should be reviewable... it seems like the officials are normally all over this type of play and the Steelers were able to lobby for a timeout. Initially it looked like they were going to be penalized.

Re: Spot on Mack Strong Catch
I don't understand why he didn't stretch the ball forward. I'd like to see the replay on that one.

Darrell Jackson did have one foot in-bounds and one foot on the pylon! I admit, it wasn't until after the game and now that everyone missed this call. So now we can add that to the official list. The play would've been called correctly with a replay challenge, because as we saw with the Polamalu INT, they do have a rulebook up there to play with.

287 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Re: 263

I'd agree that Roethlisberger’s 'td' was close. I thought he was short but if the official had ruled TD when Ben was at/close to the goal line I wouldn't have thought to much about it.

But that's not what happened. The linesman runs in from the sideline appearing to mark the spot (short of the end zone). Roethlisberger then (while laying flat on the ground) shuffles the ball from his stomach (well short of the goal line) to his shoulder (on the goal line) - in full view of the official (and the camera). The linesman then signals TD! I couldn't believe it. The referee couldn't overrule because he couldn't be sure about whether the ball crossed initially (when Ben was still airborn).

It was the lateness of the call that was so mystifying. Combined with the lateness of the offensive PI it left a bad taste that only got worse.

288 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

266: Pointing out bad calls against the Steelers is not endorsing the behavior. But merely, pointing out that it happened to both teams.

Yes, 267, they have been weeded out, because perfectly logic reasoning for the call has been given. (with the few exceptions that have been pointed out - for both teams)

267, I'm done also. And while your national media hashes out these petty, petty happenstances for the next week, I will be on my couch, smiling in my Super Bowl Champion sweatshirt.

289 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

We will have to agree to disagree.

I do not see his right leg touching the pylon…certainly no before his right foot hits the ground.

His right leg would have had to touch the pylon before his right foot hit the ground.

The problem isn't that he was ruled out of bounds.

The problem is that it wasn't reviewed. If it was just his feet that mattered, then I can see it not being reviewed, because it's an easy call on the field. But since it's not just his feet that matter, it's a bad call.

290 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

We should not be surprised both teams played poorly. It is notoriously difficult to play good football in Detroit! Just ask Matt Millem :)

Thanks to the FO writers for another fine season of insight (and not a little humour).

291 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

It was the lateness of the call that was so mystifying. Combined with the lateness of the offensive PI it left a bad taste that only got worse.

I'm not bothered by the lateness of certain calls. I don't know what's going through the official's head, so I'm not going to presume to know. If I can come up with one reason, that's good enough for me.

The lateness of the offensive PI was probably because he signaled TD (to end the play) before he threw the flag. Someone mentioned that he reaches for the flag first, then signals TD, then throws the flag. Don't know. Need a clip.

The lateness of Roethlisberger's TD could've been that he was looking to make sure that Roethlisberger actually had the ball, and once he saw that, he called TD.

292 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Re: 286

BTW, Al Michels started to comment on the linesman appearing to sprint in to mark the ball short of the goal line on the Roethelisberger 'td', but he never finished the thought and they never returned to it. I thought that was odd since it seemed so obvious to me.

293 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl


Actually, upon further review, it did appear as though his right leg did touch the pylon before his right foot hit the ground.


I do not know what to think any more.

They should have reviewed the play. The Steelers called a time out after that play, so why no review? I think it was so close that they might not have been able to overturn the play, but atleast review it.

294 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Actually, McFly, I try to avoid using "character" or "composure", if at all possible, because measuring those qualities is so entirely subjective, particularly in championship games. Boulware made a lousy play in each half, and while a saftey doesn't often win a game, they sure lose more than their share. Stevens dropped key passes, and I suspect it has little to do with character or composure, and much more to do with his having below average eye-hand coordination for an NFL tight end, which gets overlooked because of his other physical attributes, like size and speed.

295 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

J: Yah, that's what bothers me. The only thing I can think of is that the replay official didn't know about the "pylon is inbounds" rule. It was recent (3 years or so) so that was probably an honest screwup. Not that that excuses it.

296 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

This Jackson at the Pylon stuff is getting annoying.

Jackson never had possession of the ball in bounds. He only got one foot in bounds, then he went out of bounds. No catch. The Pylon is out of bounds, so touching it without posession is going out of bounds.

The Pylon rule in #243 assumes the receiver has established possession in bounds before running out of bounds at the Pylon.

Read here, which addresses this topic:

297 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Re: #266

It’s pretty ironic that Steelers fans, who as far as I know were all crying about the officiating in the Indy game (deservedly so, in my opinion) are now saying that anyone who questions the officiating in this game is a “whiner� or a conspiracy theorist.

So far as I can tell, no Steelers’ fan makes the knee-jerk move of claiming that “anyone who questions the officiating in this game is a ‘whiner’ or a conspiracy theorist.� Still, you might have noticed some critics of the Superbowl game officials have suggested a conspiracy was at work during the Superbowl while most critics of the game officials seem unaware that the greater part of the controversial calls in last night’s game were just that — questionable but reasonably undecidable given the available evidence, which is to say that they could have been called either way and still generated controversy. If a difference exists between the Superbowl and the Steelers-Colts game it is this: Morelli clearly erred when he reversed the Polamalu interception; most of the questionable calls in last night’s Superbowl were far less certain than the Morelli error.

298 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Well, uh, given that Seattle managed to play 30% over league average, I don't think they played _that_ badly.

I am, of course, not a Football Outsider Insider, but the combined DVOA of Roethlisberger's Hail Mary, Parker's record run, and the El/Ward gadget play probably equaled the total DVOA Seattle got from the two drives that ended in missed field goals.

This is not an incrimination of DVOA - it values solid work much more than flukey plays. (And really, who builds a play _designed_ to break the running back for 75 yards?) I'd really be interested in seeing a game-by-game analysis of Steeler vs. opponent DVOA, since it really seems like they won a lot of games this year by making big plays and lighting up the scoreboard, then playing just well enough to hold onto the game.

I think Sam Beckett was trapped in Detroit with a highlight reel from SuperBowl XL, until he gave Bettis that storybook ending, but that's just me.


299 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

It seems like the major issue is not whether the pylon is inbounds, but whether it counts as part of the ground. That seems dubious to me, but it sure would have been nice if the officials upstairs -- armed with a rulebook -- had let us know for sure one way or the other.

300 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Re: 291

'The lateness of Roethlisberger’s TD could’ve been that he was looking to make sure that Roethlisberger actually had the ball, and once he saw that, he called TD.'

This doesn't make sense to me. If he can't be sure that Roethlisberger has possession when his forward progress is stopped (that is, he couldn't see the ball) near/at the goal line, I can't figure any way that he awards the TD just because Ben still has possession on the ground (well short of the goal line).

Doesn't make any sense, at least to me.