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

301 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Well, 285, if you wish to argue that Hasselbeck would have thrown an interception from a first and goal at the one, you just go right ahead. It apparently is a comforting thought for some in this thread.

303 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Re: punting and touchbacks, average kicks may have put the Steelers inside the 20, but not enough to really "pin them down," and the kicks that were actually returned by the Steelers were not any worse on average than the ones that went into the end zone. Give him 39 yard kicks with no return (NFL punts averaged about that in 2005), and the Steelers start at the 18, 13, 12, and 8. The first three of these aren't deep enough that it would change the Steelers offensive strategy, such as it was.

In summary, while they were touchbacks, they were touchbacks after long punts and so not much worse than a "normal" punt would have been.

304 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

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).

Because you lose sight of the ball when Roethlisberger tucks it in. He could've fumbled the ball as he turned. But when he comes out with the ball, it's clear he had it the entire time.

His forward progress wasn't stopped when you lose sight of the ball.

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.

No, no. Read the above linked thread (in #243). The rule change specifically mentions this example. It was inbounds if his foot hit the pylon.

305 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Uh, no it isn't Craigo. 285 argued that asserting that the interception resulted from the holding call was a logical fallacy, that of misidentifying cause and effect. In reality, without the holding call, Seattle has a first and goal at the one, and the odds of a turnover are extremely small. Therefore, 285 was in error to dispute whether the outcome of the Seahawks' possession, a turnover, resulted from the holding call.

306 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

#298, If DVOA is saying that Seattle played better than Pittsburgh, but the score says that Seattle still lost, then that matches what I felt about the game, too. Most of Pittsburgh's big plays came off of freelancing or gimmick plays, not off of Joey Porter-style "good, hard-nosed football", and they managed to score from those plays, while Seattle seemed to do the opposite - a lot of normal, succesful plays, and all of the big plays failed, for reasons that have been discussed ad nauseum here and elsewhere.

I think it's pretty clear that Pittsburgh got out-played on a play-by-play basis, but it's also clear that they made a number of individual big plays. The general belief is that consistently good plays are better than occasional huge high-risk plays, but if you can't get the former working, you don't really have a choice but to do the latter.

308 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

#302 It is? Really? Huh...that's not how I understand "strawman". (Since #301 is germane to his argument.)

309 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

I am a Seahawks fan.

But the issue here is not about who won.

The issue here is about competition and justice: Was the game fair? People who say the Seahawks didn't play well enough to win are just rationalizing, because if that game wasn't fair, if decisions were being favorably made for one team, no other aspect of the game can be evaluated independently of that.

The game, independent of fan bias, was corrupted by the officiating.

If the fix was in, that's not disproven by one or two seemingly accurate calls. A game is fixed by changing enough outcomes, by calling enough penalties to greatly improve the probability that one team will win. Once that is accomplished, officials are almost compelled to make some face-saving, seemingly equitable calls. By then, once first and goal from the one has been changed to first and 20 from 30 yards away, the official has no reason to call another penalty. Enough has been done. The probabilities have been shifted, if the Steelers were supposed to win, enough has been done to make that happen.

The house always wins.

People don't want to believe in conspiracies because it is a scary and unpleasant thought. People who don't believe in conspiracies always sound more rational because our entire system is built to support that thought.

No one wants to say the fix was in because it is almost impossible to prove it. But you tell me, fan of any team, was that game not clearly bogus?

310 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

And the root of it, re: Will, is that yes, it still is a logical fallacy. Just because they were backed up doesn't mean that he was going to throw that INT. Just because he wouldn't have thrown that INT (or likely any, for that matter) at the 2 doesn't mean that because he was moved back he automatically was going to. Hasselbeck threw it. You can argue that maybe it was bad because the refs gave him a chance to screw up, but he screwed up all by himself.

311 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Well, I just heard Peter King say that the only bad call was on Hasselbeck. That settles it; the other calls were blown as well!

312 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

The first three of these aren’t deep enough that it would change the Steelers offensive strategy, such as it was.

Er? Any of those are severe enough that a false start (like... one that happened on first down from the 20) would push you back right to the end zone.

Plus, you're also not realizing that that field position would go back to the Seahawks, since the Steelers went 3-and-out on so many drives. Gardocki would've been punting from the 19, 18, 34, and 40. The last two wouldn't've changed things, but the first two would've.

313 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

The rule change specifically mentions this example. It was inbounds if his foot hit the pylon.

Not exactly: Clayton specifically mentions this example, but I'm still not convinced that he got it right. The upshot is that at the front corners of the end zone, a receiver has an extra 18 inches or so of in-bounds ground to work with (however tall the pylon is). That may be right, but it's incongruous enough that I'm not going to believe it until I hear it from an official.

314 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

"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." I guess you don't have any?

On the pylon ruling, if that catch is in midfield Jackson's foot comes down out of bounds without hitting anything. The top of pylon is NOT the ground.

315 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Craigo, a strawman is the conspiracy theory thing Steeler nation is dragging around here, as if all you have to do is say "tin foil hats" and the problem disappears. This not three weeks after their own player was openly advertising this selfsame theory.

316 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Fnor, if somebody doesn't set the parking brake in their car on a hill (an error), and a kid hits the car while riding his bike (another error), and the car slips in gear and rolls down the hill, it is not a logical fallacy to state that the first error caused the car to roll down the hill, since absent that error, the car doesn't roll down the hill.

317 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Andrew, I read the thread, and it seems like they are high school refs, the rules may be different for high school. I am not sure.
Also I could have sworn the pylon was inbounds, but I could be wrong.
There have been so many shaky calls this postseason that I no longer have a clear grasp of possesion. I thought he had possesion, but again, after the last 11 games I am getting confused.
How is that for hedging?
You are, week by week, becoming the anti-Furtak, heh heh.

318 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Will, if the purported cause occurs in a different play than the purported effect, that's not very damned direct. You know what the direct cause of that INT was? An underthrown pass, the same that can occur on any passing play. Even those snapped from the 1-yard line.

319 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

I believe the name is Will "*******" Allen

Aren't we clever, making jokes about asterisks!

If Mr. Allen wishes to believe that the officials wer channeling Sam Giancana , Cowher was channeling Warren G. Harding, and the poor American public was channeling Enron shareholders, he can go right ahead. It's apparently a comforting thought for some on this thread.

320 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

And to clarify, since no one here actually seems to know what a strawman is - no one is actually arguing that Hasselbeck (am I spelling that right?) definitely throws an INT in a series starting from the 1. But that's the position Will is arguing against here.

What I am arguing is that no one can guarantee a score in that series anymore than they can guarantee a turnover, and that what happens in one play does not have a direct effect on anything that happens on a later play. That's why the word "indirect" was invented.

321 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

#282, #288:
Someone asked me what made me mad about the game, and why I felt that there was bad officiating. I told him it was because of these X calls. You can choose to believe what you like about those calls, but it doesn't make my getting angry about those specific calls any less true, nor does my explaining where my anger comes from make me a person claiming they absolutely, positively, were bad calls.

I feel like those were bad calls, and I've given reasons for those. I disagree with those who say otherwise, but it's not such a cut and dried case that I'd say that one person can claim that it's absolutely true. For example - the PI call was, in my opinion, fairly weak. I've never stated that it wasn't PI - just that most of the time, it isn't called. Other people have given reasons of why it was called, and I understand them. I am saying simply that most of the time, that play is not called. Given the relative infrequency of offensive PI, I would imagine that's fairly evident, but no matter.

In any case, I'm trying not to get into a yes/no kind of thing. Do you at least understand why I am frustrated with those ref calls, and why I believe that the refs did a poor job? Do you understand why all the other people saying the same thing are saying it? Do you understand why most of the FO people are saying it?

322 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

#319: Now that is a strawman. Heh.

As to the 1 yard int/non-int. All that I would say is that 1st and goal from the 1 results in significantly different playcalling that 2nd and 20 from the 35, and I would hope that would be self-evident. Doesn't really matter in the end; the important thing for me is that it was yet another bad call in a string of bad calls.

323 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Not exactly: Clayton specifically mentions this example, but I’m still not convinced that he got it right.

You're right. The NFL's page on 2002 rule changes only says that a player who hits the pylon remains inbounds until he touches out of bounds.

Okay, so I'm back to "it depends on the rule." If the rule really is "two feet, in bounds, only" then that call was fine. But if Clayton was right (and I'm not so sure, as no one else mentions this) then it was bad.

324 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Will Allen -

I believe that "post hoc" is being misused, but he's right in saying your cause/effect condition is incorrect.

Using your car rolling down the hill analogy, leaving the parking brake off is necessary, but not sufficient, to cause the accident. Absent that error, the car would not roll down the hill. However, the car did not roll down the hill BECAUSE of that error.

No one will dispute that had holding not been called, the INT would overwhelmingly likely not have happened. However, the holding call did not CAUSE the INT, Hasselbeck's crappy throw did.

325 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Hey Smeg 315, everyone in Pittsburgh thought Porter was an idiot 3 weeks ago. They were still worked up over the bad call, but no one thought Porter was right - that there was a conspiracy. Whereas conspiracy seems to be the default explanation here.

326 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Uh, Craigo, if you wish to examine the percentage of interceptions which occur after a team has reached 1st and goal from the one, or percentage of possessions that end in interceptions after reaching 1st and goal from the one, and hold to that position, well, you just go right ahead.

391, I've obviously succeeded in my goal to irritate the * homers by usage of a common symbol. As to what I see as the most important elements of the game, I listed those in 263.

327 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

# 315 - I'm afraid I don't understand what you're saying. Steeler fans are saying that the refs conspired against the Seahawks?

For the record, I don't believe there is any conspiracy, here or in Indy.

328 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Will: That's an all-right analogy. The real problem is that you're changing a post-condition into a pre-condition (like saying that, right before the callback, Hasselbeck was somehow bound by a rule that his next throw would be an INT).

A more apt analogy would be that you're in a car and you try to turn left, but a pedestrian is crossing and you can't do that, so you get mad and sing to go to the left and smash into a parked car. Sure, if the pedestrian hadn't been there, you would have gone through (TD). However, the pedestrain was there, so you were in a position to hit a car you wouldn't have if he wasn't. However, you could have just as easily turned left with due care and avoided the car.

It's simple, yes, and causation isn't always 1-to-1, but the pedestrian, like the holding penalty, merely put the actor into a position to run into the car, as opposed to jumping in front of you and causing you to swerve into it.

329 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

#296 - I didn't read the entire page but that thread is talking about something different than what happened with Jackson. They're talking about someone who goes into the air, catches the ball, touches the pylon, then touches the ground. That's not the same sequence as in Jackson's catch.

They also appear to be high school rather than NFL refs. I don't think high schools use the NFL rulebook, especially given how top secret its contents seem to be.

330 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

I'm a Colts fan; I live in Indy now and I have for most of my life. Pittsburgh got the short end of some bad officiating in the divisional playoff against my team.
Pittsburgh, however, BENEFITTED from the bad officiating in this Super Bowl.

I'm willing to cede the fact that the officials favored *my* team against the Steelers and yet my team still lost. I hope Pittsburgh fans (and players) can admit, objectively, that the officiating helped them this time.

331 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

321, 322:

Kal, all we're trying to say is, maybe, in retrospect, you shouldn't get so mad about these calls. Like, during the game, I was mad that Roethlisberger got clipped on the INT runback. Others here have convinced me that it was a 100% legal play. So you know what? I've let it go. I won't continue to bitch about how Roethlisberger got clipped, and that ruined the game for me.

On a similar note, upthread someone (maybe you?) kept saying "that kind of PI went on all game long." You know what? We've got a bunch of people with TIVO here. So name your play. Tell me what Steeler pushed off a Seattle defender so completely that the defender moved backwards. 'Cos otherwise it's just bitching. And I'm sick of it.

332 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

324, if somebody wants to argue that I should not have said that the interception "directly resulted from the holding call", but rather that the interception was overwhelmingly unlikely to have occurred, absent the holding call, put the cuffs on me, * fans! I throw myself at the mercy of the court!

333 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

#331 - to my knowledge, I never said that. There was one fairly blatant pushoff Hines Ward did, but that's about the only thing I can remember that struck me as similar.

I'll stop being mad when someone can explain to me why Hass tackling the ballcarrier was a penalty, or why Locklear got called for holding, or why Ben was called as clearly crossing the plane late, or why that PI call was called the way it was when OPI is so infrequently called. Or why it required a replay to call Hass down on the fumble, or why Stevens didn't have possession of that ball after a clear football move. If you can reasonably do that, I'll probably calm down. I've not seen a single media pundit able to do so, and I've not seen a reasonable and convincing argument for these things so far.

334 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Congratulates on achieving your goal of irritating Steeler fans. Excuse me if I go ahead and ignore your etiquette rules about describing a team as lacking composure.

335 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

#103. Hey, Michael Irvin pushed off with way more skill than Jackson showed that play. You can't fully extend the arm and you have to do it when the ref isn't looking. Unfortunantly, Jackson did both about 10 ft. in front of the official.

336 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

It is not a push off if the defender initiates contact.

That was a TD for Jackson/SEA.

This was a garbage game because of garbage officiating and it will stigmatize the Steelers and Big Ben for years to come.

Pylon is in bounds if any part of the player or ball touches it.

I think the Trophy/Player bits going heavy Steelers (first four? then a montages with some Seahawks) tells us everything we need to know.

337 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

I heard some radio/tv folks criticizing Hasselbeck's performance.

Say WHAT???

He threw TWO, count'em, TWO bad passes. One SHOULD have been intercepted and one was intercepted. Out of 49 thrown he threw two bad balls. Compare that to his counterparts who generated so much confidence from his coach that he was not allowed to throw a pass beyond the line of scrimmage in the 4th quarter.

Maybe the clock goofs can be attributed somewhat to Matt calling audibles. It's possible.

But the guy was on the money almost all night. It's beyond redundant but if some doofus playing TE gets some stickum on his hands Matt is holding the MVP trophy come 10:30 Eastern time last night.

I have heard and read some looney stuff today with respect to the game but stating that Matt played poorly is by far the stupidest.

Wow. Unreal.

338 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Fnor, I think you err in equating the difficulty in avoiding a pedestrian, and throwing downfield on third and long, and the odds of a bad result.

How about this analogy; you are driving through a green light at an intersection, when a drunken, crazed, * fan, waving a terrible towel in celebration of his team's performance, runs out in front of your car. You swerve to the left, whereupon you are confronted with a choice; driving into the oncoming traffic, or going further left into the front yard of a house. You choose to stay in the lane with oncoming traffic, because you wrongly think that there are no immediate cars coming, not seeing that a morose Seahawks fan is slowly oncoming on a moped, of all things, with his head down. SPLAT! goes the Seahawks fan, expiring with a frown on his face, as the drunken * fan continues on his merry way. What led to this unfortunate sequence of events: you, the morose Seahawks fan, the * fan, the beer, or the holding call? Answer in the form of a question.

340 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

INTs are more frequent on 3rd and long. They're still pretty infrequent, especially for a team still in the game in field goal range. There's nothing about that series that ordained it was an INT, just that there was an increased liklihood that it would result in an INT.

And the * thing is really annoying. Please stop.

341 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Freak, to fault Hasselbeck for this loss is beyond stupid, and indicates that the common football fan is clueless.

342 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

333 OK, let's go:

"I’ll stop being mad when someone can explain to me why Hass tackling the ballcarrier was a penalty,"

Everyone agrees that this was a bad call or a stupid rule. Little material effect (compared to the intercept).

"or why Locklear got called for holding, "

25, 72, 73, 75, 137, 145, 177. And these aren't just "uh-huh" posts - these are serious arguments that it was really holding. If you're really here for discussion, not ranting, you can't just pretend 7 posts don't exist.

"or why Ben was called as clearly crossing the plane late, "

I don't understand what the timing of this matters. People seem really hung up, but this isn't unique - not every call is made within 0.3 seconds. Deal.

"or why that PI call was called the way it was when OPI is so infrequently called. "

This has been covered a dozen times. It was 5 feet in front of the ref, and the stiff-arm pushed Hope off his feet and backwards. Not even Irvin got away with this on a regular basis.

"Or why it required a replay to call Hass down on the fumble, "

First off, what difference does this make - the right call was made. Second, 2 yards from where Hasselbeck fell, one Steeler touched him with 3 fingertips - why is it hard to believe that the nearest ref didn't have a clear view of this?

"or why Stevens didn’t have possession of that ball after a clear football move. "

Dude, if you're complaining about a play in which the Seahawks gave up a fumble as evidence that the 'Hawks were screwed... I don't know what to say.

"If you can reasonably do that, I’ll probably calm down. I’ve not seen a single media pundit able to do so, and I’ve not seen a reasonable and convincing argument for these things so far."

Frankly, if you still feel this way, I'm not sure you're willing to be convinced. The point isn't that every one of these was called right (and the penalty on the INT was likely wrong), but that your dead-certainty that they were called wrong is, simply wrong.

343 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Wow! I am amazed at the justifications being made for the officials.

The entire post season was marred by bad officiating and NO TEAM should EVER have to play well enough to overcome repeated bad calls on big play after big play.

The Steelers only needed one or two big plays precisely because Seahawk big plays were negated. Perhaps the Steelers still win, perhaps not.

Here we have the richest league in professional sports with part time/low wage referees who's terrible calls have effected this entire post season.

So who are these guys defending the officials - most say they are not Steelers fans..... maybe they are Zebra fans... 'cause that's the team that decided this game.

344 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

JRoth - who initiated contact? The defender.

Look at it - DJ was grabbed. Did he "pushed off"? No he pulled off - a defenders grasp.

345 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

#306: That is, sort of, what I'm saying, but I'm also saying that the Steelers haven't played consistently with DVOA "guidelines" for most of the season. Wasn't there a statline late in the season that more of their plays went for 40+ yards than any other team's?

Some of that was luck. Some was skill. Some was that the Steelers' playbook seems designed around the misdirection that Porter hates so very much, meaning the long bomb is a little less risky for the Steelers than for the league on average.


347 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

I will say that getting under the skin of fans whose favorite team has just lost the Super Bowl has no sport in it at all, while doing so to fans whose favorite team just hoisted the trophy is kinda fun.

348 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

My big problem with "big play called back" thing is that often big plays which are called back are big plays BECAUSE of the penalty. Like a QB not getting sacked, or a CB pushing a WR out of the way or something like that. A penalty on a big play should be looked at just like one on an incomplete. Both plays are broken.

349 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl


And how many big plays did Pittsburgh have that should have been called back by the same standards that Seattle's were? How many drives never would've *happened* if all the offensive holding calls were pursued by the same standards as the one on Locklear? It's just not that simple, sir.

350 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

I've pretty much laid out my thoughts on this game in the previous thread, but I've come up with a few more:

The Hasselbeck PF - pretty much everyone agrees this is a bad rule, but did he even break the rule? There were two potential blockers for the intercepting player, one to either side, and I didn't think that Hass more than brushed either one, as least through the point that the play was dead. Did I miss something?

The Stevens non-fumble - I seem to be in the minority here in that I think Stevens never had full possession of the ball, that he was bobbling it as he turned before he got smacked. The key that I saw was that he started catching the ball about mid-chest high, but as he was turning upfield he had it pointed vertically, up on his shoulder pad a bit like a loaf of bread, rather than tucked away. I watched this replay pretty closely from the end zone view, though one once.

The non-block in the back on Roethlisberger - this one I'm the least certain of because I never watched any additional replays. However I'm curious if there's any exception to the rules that govern when a would be tackler is turning back and forth while running upfield, since it was Roethlisberger who was exposing his back as the likely target to any potential blocker. Can this type of defensive pursuit nullify a block in the back call?

Finally, I have to say that while the Jackson PI was probably the correct textbook call, it was inconsistent will the way the game is called in general and in this Superbowl specifically. One non-call that has been scarcely mentioned is the Hines Ward push off on I believe Pitt's first TD drive. Pitt has 3rd down and about 7 somewhere near midfield. Seattle show blitz before the snap and Tatupu comes in and is pretty quickly in Ben's face, who slings a kind of sidearm pass to Ward. Ward is running smash route, that is quick upfield, turn in, and then spin to the outside. It wasn't obvious at game speed or from the normal camera, but the end zone replay camera got a good look at Ward spinning away from the defender with right arm extended, very similar to Jackson's push. If this call is made there's a very good chance the score is 3-0 at halftime, and the entire complexion of the game changes. I think this qualifies as one of those hidde indicators TMQ likes to point out.

351 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

When will the NFL realize that the playoff system just doesn't work?

We want the BCS! Indy vs. Denver in the Budweiser Lombardi Bowl Sponsored By Fedex.

353 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

#243, 256, 268, 269.

Super slo-mo replay (slow motion on the home video of the slow motion provided by ABC) seems to show Jackson's RIGHT calf grazes the pylon before his right foot comes down clearly out of bounds. He definitely did not hit it with his foot. There's no doubt his left foot landed in bounds first.

Whatever ESPN says, “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.�

Notice the word 'foot.'

The Digest of Rules states "8. A forward pass is complete when a receiver clearly possesses the pass and touches the ground with both feet inbounds while in possession of the ball."

It leaves open the question: Does hitting the pylon with your calf mean the same as stepping on the ground with your foot? Personally, I think the call was right, if only by the rationalization that if a receiver's foot comes down on the sideline, half in, half out, he is considered 'out-of-bounds' and no catch.

So if the calf is in but the foot is out, there is no catch, without a doubt.

354 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Haggans was held frequently, and that play was no exception as Locklear used an arm bar to drive him wide. Locklear had to use the arm bar because Haggans got a great jump on the snap (and very well may have been offsides) and had Locklear beat.

355 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

a really sad aspect to all this is the fact that the super bowl is the one opportunity every year for the nfl to make it's case worldwide and they blew it big time. a bunch of my australian friends who regularly scoff at our brand of football openly admitted they would be watching the game.

but, instead of giving them a glimpse of why we all love this sport so much and increasing their interest, they see their worst opinions of it validated. when even they recognise the officiating is a problem, that should tell us something.

weird enough to say it, i really miss the janet jackson controversy from last year. imagine how much more enjoyable today would be for us all if the biggest "scandal" associated with this game is censoring a few words from the stones performance.

356 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

JRoth, I didn't say the Hawks got screwed. I said and continue to say that the officiating is bad. That is what makes me angry. Not the result of the game, not who won, and not that the Hawks lost.

I'm not pretending that those posts don't exist. I'm saying they aren't convincing to me. They may be to others. I've watched the respective plays multiple times, and they seem very poor calls to me. Again, if you can tell me why that was a hold but not all the other countless similar plays made during a game, I'd be happy.

I'm not dead certain these were called wrong or not. If someone was able to go and cite the rules about what constitutes holding or gives some visual evidence that shows that OPI is called that way all the time, I'd likely buy it. They haven't. They've just said what their opinion of the situation is, and so far as I've seen that's as valid as mine.

JRoth, what you don't seem to get is that I don't really mind the Hawks losing. I mind that the game was so influenced by these calls. I don't like bad officiating. It's not a partisan issue. I didn't like it in the Indy/Steeler game, I didn't like it in the Pats/Broncos game, I didn't like it in the Panthers/Bears game, and in the ultimate game - but that wasn't nearly as bad as what happened here.

357 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

To all of you that thought that Ben got a touchdown.

Go back on your TIVO watch it again. His head did cross the goal line but the ball was burried under his chest. he is already down and then he moves the ball from under him and puts it across the goal line. this should have been a No-Touchdown. does this change the score probably not because I feel that Bill Cowher would have gone for it on 4th down and probably pucnhed it in. Me and my friend were watching this game and both of agreed on one thing the day of the Goal Line stance is gone. Most teams today will try three times and then if they do not suceed then they go for a chip shot three point FG. I was kinda hoping to see a drop kick again, but alas....

Anyway, I am not here to say that just the superbowl officlas were horrible, if you go back oh lets say the past 5 years or so I think we would see a steady decline in officating and also these players getting thier way more often then not. it seems to me like after every play that a reciever does not make a catch, he looks at a ref for a yellow flag. Sometimes they get it. I just think that like I said in my earlier post (#168), that the Ref and officals need to be put on a full time payroll. have a sart up league like NFL europe or AFL (Arena) be thier starting ground get experince of making calls, force them to wacth ALOT of tape, talk openly amongst each other to see how each one interprts the rule, oh yeah and one other thing...
don't thow a hodge podge of refs out there that have not worked with each other before...
Rate the entire Officating crew as one throught the whole season and then reward the best TEAM of Officlas the oppourtunity to call the playoffs and the SB.

358 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Locklear did not hold Haggans on that play. He had a hand by Haggans' shoulder and then Haggans got past him. That wasn't holding at all.

I did not look at the prop bets, but next year (if they didn't already have it this year) some sportsbooks need to include over/under numbers on controversial calls made by refs.

359 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

#353: I don't know if hitting a pylon with a body part is special, but I do know that hitting the ground with a body part other than your hands or feet is grounds for being down, which is also grounds for establishing possession.

What it sounds like you're arguing is that only feet can establish possession, when in reality feet are the weakest way to establish possession - if you have a body part land inbounds, it's much stronger of a possession than a foot.

360 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

I think by 350 comments that everybody has pretty much made up their mind about the game one way or the other, so futile though it might be, I wanted to make one more argument. It seems like there were no egregiously bad calls last night. Even the Hasselbeck PF, based on an egregiously bad rule, could have gone either way based on that rule. The main argument seems to be that a huge majority of the close calls and close non-calls went in favor of the Steelers. But isn't that putting a higher standard of fairness on that aspect of the game than other aspects? Shouldn't we expect that in a random game, some rare times the close calls will all go in favor of one team? I guess if you want to argue about conspiracies or biases, conscious or unconscious, then you have room for complaint there, but in any given small distribution of close calls, you would expect bunching. So, I hardly think the Steelers victory is tainted because of the way the calls went any more than it'd be tainted if Shaun Alexander had pulled his hamstring in pre-game warmups or if a crucial interception took a fluke bounce into the hands of a Steelers defender. Of course, if you think the calls weren't close but obviously mistaken, then this argument is no good.

361 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

And that all being said, I would have hated it if they ruled that a TD. If that's the rule, well, that's the rule - but it's as stupid a rule as the Tuck rule, and in this case I'm glad that they didn't enforce it.

362 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Yes 352, this is a deadly serious business, heaven forbid that anybody apply the needle while making an argument.

363 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl


That nails it, if it applies to the NFL.

"If the calf is out and the foot is out,
There is no catch, without a doubt."

364 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

A few quick things about the game that did NOT involve controversial referee calls:

1. Seattle's inability to convert on key early 3rd downs inside Steelers' territory.
2. Seattle's inability to pin the Steelers inside the 20, punting it into the end zone every time.
3. Seattle's inability to break off any long gains.
4. Seattle's dropped passes.
5. Seattle's two missed field goals.
6. Seattle's ugly clock management.
7. Seattle's unwillingness to push their cards to the center of the table on 4th down with only six minutes to go.
8. The Steelers' breaking off a 75 yard touchdown run.
9. The Steelers fooling the Seahawks on a trick play and their receiver throwing a beautiful long TD pass.
10. The Steelers' defense stopping the Seahawks on almost every big third down.
11. The Steelers converting two huge third downs late in the game to win it.

Reading about the Super Bowl and listening to the talking heads, you'd think none of these things ever happened. Yes, the NFL should hire full-time referees to catch up to a game that keeps rushing past them. But neither this game, nor any other that I can think of, was decided by the refs. It was decided by the sum of all the plays---not just the dramatic ones.

365 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Okay, I saw plenty of replays, but the Jackson push-off was a joke. Keep in mind that in slow motion, things often look a lot more dramatic; the push was paltry at best.

366 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl


Well said. It was really a game between two good teams that didn't play very well much of the time.

367 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

#137, if by "Haggans perfectly timed the snap count" you meant "Haggans was a step over the line of scrimmage before the ball was snapped," then I agree with you 100%.

368 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

RE: 365

So, what does it mean that things look "more dramatic" in slow motion? Does that mean that it was "more obvious" in slow motion? If so, I agree. The pushoff certainly was "more dramatic" in slo-mo.

369 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

#359 Kal, I had missed #296. If it applies to the NFL, then I was wrong, the pylon is OOB. That would mean even more that it was not a catch.

I mentioned the 'foot' because that's what the explanatory example in #243 mentioned.

I don't think we'll know for sure until somebody buys an Official NFL Rulebook.

370 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

I have the 2005 Rule Book, but it is called the Game Edition and I think it is not full. It's a few hundred pages and still doesn't contain every rule. It is also a bore to read. Maybe I'll post some rules here, if people ask nicely, but I've been on the computer for a while and need to take a break. I will be back later. In the meantime, learn the truth about Notre Dame's jerseys.

371 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Robert L.

Do I need to list all the mistakes and inabilities by the Steelers?

No, because we all know they won with a few big plays and a lot of mistakes.

The question is: did the officiating effect the few big plays the Seahawks needed?

The officials absolutely effected the game and when one or two plays make the difference, that is all it takes. And we are not even talking about the intangibles like momentum, fluidity and attitude.

And if you can't think of a game decided by the refs, you ain't been watching.

It is time for the NFL to fix the officiating disaster, lessening the refs impact on a game so one side can feel good about their win only hurts that agenda.

372 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Re: 365 and 368

[Insert requisite Dave Chapelle "better in slo-mo" joke here.]

Oh and it was definitely a pushoff. The DB doesn't just slow down when D-Jack's arm extends, he actually starts falling backward. I don't understand why people are so upset over this, it's an easy call on replay.

373 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl


It was an easy call - DPI - the defender initiated contact.

Penalty declined - Touchdown.

Everything afterwards is incidental after the initial illegal contact by the defender.

He fell backwards only because he was pulling back on DJs arm after he got beat.

375 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Re: 357. Absolutely no one disputes that Roethlisberger moved the ball forward after he was down to cross the goal line. What is in dispute is whether the ball touched the plane of the goal line as he was going down. I didn't realize he only had to touch the front of the goal-line plane (I always thought you had to cross the line). So the question is, was any part of the ball over any part of the goal line before Roethlisberger's knee went down, not whether his obvious moving of the ball after he was down should count for a TD.

When I watched it live, I couldn't believe it was called a TD. I thought he'd been stopped on an amazing play by D.D. Lewis (who comes out of nowhere to stop Ben cold). On the replay, it's less clear, and I think on the replay (and I've only seen the one shown during the game), it looks like the ball probably did touch the goal line's invisible plane. What certainly isn't there is conclusive evidence that it didn't (which is what would have been needed to overturn). If they'd called him down, that call would have stood on review, and Pitt would have had fourth down. They called it a score, and that wasn't overturned.

Now, the argument that the official's initial call was influenced by Ben moving the ball over the line after he was down might hold some water, but that was obvious on the replay and isn't what's in contention in the replay review.

376 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

On #296: What is the 'officialsforum'? When I looked around, it didn't look like they were specifically talking about NFL rules, and the thread itself seems to be talking about some games like Rahway @ Cranford and whatnot. Are those HS games?

I know for a fact that the NFL considers the pylons inbounds for some plays - notably the idea that if a hand or other body part touches or goes over the pylon the player is considered to have been in the end zone. (this was called earlier this year via Michael Vick).

Neptune, I don't know if it was DPI, but how is that not illegal contact if the defender initiates it?

377 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

327: I'm saying that the function of the word "conspiracy" in a debate is -- virtually 100% of the time -- to attack a weak position allegedly held by a marginal or nonexistent subset of the opposition and claim thereby to have refuted much stronger evidence not addressed.

That is, it is the very definition of a straw man. As true on FO as it is on Fox News.

There doesn't need to be a conspiracy for there to be systematic/subconscious bias. There doesn't even need to be a shred of bias for the calls, one by one, to have had the incidental effect of creating an uneven playing field.

378 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Keath (if that's really how you spell it),

It doesn't matter who initiates contact as long as it is incidental, which it was. The DB did not throw DJ off his route. There was no illegal contact until the pushoff occurred. And if the DB was pulling on DJ's arm, he should have been pulled forward, not back.

Just out of curiousity, are you a Seahawks fan?

380 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

When all else fails - flame

The only way that can be called as OPI is if DJ initiated contact. I saw otherwise.

If I am wrong, so be it, state what you saw (that DJ initiated contact?). But try to refrain from flames.

381 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

I am a long time 'niners fan.

My understanding is that the "hand-fighting" (the DB trying to prevent the WR hands from going up for the ball or deflect the route) was illegal contact.

Is the hand-fighting legal?

382 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl


Watching the tape of the Herndon runback very carefully, Big Ben is hit in the back (right hand squarely on Number 7) and pushed forward by the Seahawk blocker, #94, Bryce Fisher, not DD Lewis as reported by J Madden. Ben falls on his chest. Then the reaction to his push causes Fisher to stagger into Herndon, and Herndon is caught from behind by A R El.

I'm not familiar with the intricacies of the rule. It just looked a lot like many other 'blocking from behind' penalties that were called during the season.

383 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

On blocking in the back - I believe there's something to do with approaching someone who's not going in your direction or something like that, but I could be wrong. They brought it up in a Total Access as a reason why a block in the back wasn't called and why it wasn't called.

I could be wrong though. It would make it no less a bad call if I'm wrong though, and adds yet another bad call to the stack of 'em.

384 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

RE: 380 - 381

As has been mentioned previously, even if the hand fighting does constitute DPI, the fact that Jackson subsequently pushed off is still a penalty. Your contention that:

Everything afterwards is incidental after the initial illegal contact by the defender.

is not the case. Learn the rules, then come back and try and offer something intelligent

385 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl


Sorry, didn't mean to flame. Hand-fighting is usually not called unless there is an actual grab-and-pull. But mild jockeying generally is not considered interference if both players are going for the ball. In this case, it doesn't matter if DJ initiated, what matters is that he shoved the DB away, which is ALWAYS offensive PI unless the DB had already interfered, which I am arguing he had not.

I've heard it argued that Michael Irvin got away with this all the time, but I fail to see the relevance.

386 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Well, okay Neptune - why isn't it an offsetting or illegal contact instead of OPI? And why is missing that as a call also not a problem?

388 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

It would be offsetting penalties. It would not be deemed "incidental contact" if it interfered with the defender's ability to make a play on the ball. It is possible to have a defensive hold, illegal contact, DPI and/or OPI on the same play.

389 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

So if a DB commits PI first and fails, but the WR makes contact within the same exchange (pushes off or otherwise) the penalty goes against the WR?


390 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

RE: 389

No, that's not the case. If what you desccribe happened, you would have offsetting penalties. Offsetting penalties were not called here (I assume) because the ref did not believe the defender did anything improper.

391 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Selective perception is a wonderful thing. On Roethlisberger's TD, I saw the linesman come in with one hand in the air and the other holding his whistle or doing some such thing, then when it was free, putting it into the air to signal touchdown. Others on this thread seem to have seen him pointing at the ground to signal the spot (with one hand in the air, I guess to stop play, though why he wouldn't use the whistle I don't know), then suddenly changing and thrusting both hands in the air to signal touchdown. Presumably this was after reconsidering "wait, I'm supposed to be slanting my calls in favor of Pittsburgh" or something. I honestly don't know whether my perception or someone else's more accurately reflects reality, but I don't think any number of posts is going to change anyone's mind, especially after the perceptions get set in concrete by asserting and defending them.

On the holding call that brought back the ball from near the Pittsburgh goal line--when was the flag thrown? Did the official wait and see that it was a completion that put Seattle near the goal and then throw the flag? If not, then the only explanation is that he saw what he took to be a hold and called it. My suspicion is that the flag was thrown well before the outcome of the play could be determined. You are perfectly free to dispute whether what the official saw constitutes a hold, whether similar incidents were overlooked by the officials in this or other games, or whether, by careful analysis of tapes using slow motion, you can determine that what the official took to be a hold was not in fact one. Plays are called back on penalties all the time, even successful ones, even successful ones in super bowls. But the official in this case has no way of knowing when he throws the flag whether he is affecting an incomplete pass, a touchdown, or a drive-sustaining first down. He sees the infraction, he calls it. In the Roethlisberger TD example, the timing is pretty much irrelevant unless you honestly believe that the official consciously made a decision to make an erroneous call in one team's favor. In the holding example, the timing could be important. I haven't seen it discussed.

Any chance we could discuss the football that was played in addition to the officiating? I have a few things I think are interesting, but they'll just get lost in the blizzard here. Maybe I'll post them later anyway.

392 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

#376 says "I know for a fact that the NFL considers the pylons inbounds for some plays - notably the idea that if a hand or other body part touches or goes over the pylon the player is considered to have been in the end zone."

I thought so, too, but now I'm not so sure. The concept you cite indicates the pylon is past the goal line, but not necessarily in bounds. And the info dug up so far is inconsistent with what happens everywhere else on the field.

Jackson's foot undeniably came down several inches out of bounds. Does the fact that a foot-high pylon touched his calf before his foot hit the ground have precedence? Does it take precedence over the rule that says both feet must come down in bounds? Remember, the foot didn't hit the pylon, and that is clear on the tape.

There are a lot of NFL rules that contradict one another, or that just plain don't make sense. This might be the case here.

It would be nice to know why the rule was changed in 2002.

393 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

It is odd that everyone here believes that simply because the referee did not immediately signal a TD after the Roethlisberger run that he somehow is biased. THAT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME. Look at the Alstott 2 point conversion in the Redskins/Bucs game earlier this year. It took the refs a long time to signal TD on that one, and that happens very, very frequently. Sometimes, the refs actually pull people off the ballcarrier, locate where he is, and THEN signal whether there was a TD or not. C'mon, people.

394 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Anent Will Allen's #123, #236, and several related notes: I thought that this was the first playoff game in which the Pittsburgh staff did not decisively outcoach the opposing staff. As any regular reader of FO knew, the Steelers were not likely going to run very successfully. Nonetheless that's exactly what Pittsburgh stubbornly insisted on trying to do in its first three possessions (all three & outs).

Even so, the Randle El gadget play at a critical juncture in the game and the Seattle play calling for the final eight minutes tip the balance in favor of the Pittsburgh coaching staff. When Seattle got the ball down 11 with about 8 minutes to go and then proceeded to run the ball and pass in the center of the field, thus doing the Steelers the great favor of running the clock down, I remember thinking to myself, "What are they doing -- have they forgotten whom they're playing?" Normally 8 minutes would be ample time for two scores, but not in the fourth quarter against a team famous for "taking the air out of the ball" and sitting on leads.

For reasons that remain completely mysterious to me -- perhaps an FO insider can explain it -- the Steelers this year consistently ran the ball significantly better with the lead late in games, exactly when everyone knew they were going to run. What is not a mystery is why the Steelers almost never lose with a 10 point or greater lead in the fourth quarter: the other team doesn't get the ball enough to catch up; and when they do get the ball, they're pretty much forced to play one-dimensionally against a very good defense expecting the pass. Bad odds.

And last, as Mike Tanier wrote at the beginning of this thread, Pittsburgh's zone defense (was it cover-3?) was allowing short yardage gains but taking away long gainers. This created a kind of mirage in the first half, where it seemed like Seattle was dominating the game (they certainly dominated time of possession), all the while not scoring. The closer Seattle got to the Pittsburgh goal line, the more they looked as though they were trying to wade through molasses. Yes, this required exquisite execution by the Pittsburgh defense in the maroon zone, but surely the defensive game plan has to be given credit as well.

395 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

#385 (Which of course means no one is going to read this) Michael Irvin may have pushed off, but never that blatantly. He was at least sneaky about it. (Not that I actually thought it should have been called.)
But never mind that - the bad call of the game was penalizing Hasselbeck for making a really good tackle. That extra 15 yards set up the trick play that only gets called between the forties. For god's sake, the game is "tackle the ball carrier." If it wasn't for the Polamalu reversal against Indy I'd say it was the worst call I'd ever seen. Seriouly, guys, since it's different teams gettting the love, are the refs getting paid by gamblers? That's what it feels like.

396 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

#391 - I'm not saying this because I believe it to be true, but it can't be ruled out completely given the pattern of apparent bias throughout the game - it could be argued that the flag was thrown to nail Haggans for offside, but when the result of the play became apparent, was applied to the "holding" call instead.

Again, I don't really believe this particular scenario to be the case, but because the officiating was so terrible and certainly appeared to be biased in favor of Pittsburgh, it sounds like a plausible explanation. That's the real tragedy of this game: not that the Seahawks got hosed, or the Steelers's win comes with an asterik, but that the common perception of the NFL's fairness has sunk to this level. Even if every single one of those disputed calls was due to good-faith incompetence, this perception is real, it's widespread, and sadly, it is well deserved.

Those of you who are trying to nitpick and micro-analyze every call into a non-factor, or are championing the rightness or wrongness of one particular call against all naysayers, are missing the point. The point is that the game of professional football was diminished yesterday, and the ability and/or willingness of the NFL to let the players on the field decide the outcome of the game has been clearly called into question.

397 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

As several people have mentioned already, there is a rule against tackling a runner by going low through a blocker on a change of possession. The Steelers have been penalized twice for it this year, once on Monday Night when Michaels and Madden initially said that it was a bad call, and then looked up the rule in the rulebook and said that the call was correct, although I think Madden complained it was a stupid rule. I'm surprised they didn't talk about it last night, since the rule is confusing and nonsensical.

398 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Can we all find some common ground on this? I mean, look, I'm a die-hard Seattle fan, and I felt like I'd lost a loved one after that game, and I'm more than willing - no, I'm actively trying - to move on from that horrible game. One thing I think we can agree on is that the officiating was poor. Key calls were missed on both sides. Standards need to be reached, calls need to be made more uniformly, and if it affects another Super Bowl, it won't be good.

One thing that I think really seperates the NFL from the NBA and MLB is how seriously the rules are taken. Whether that's the truth or not, I think that's a common perception, and it's important, because without it, the credibility of the game goes down the toilet, and so does the spectatorship.

399 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Key calls were missed on both sides.

Let me amend that:

Key calls were missed, or made in very unprofessional/unconvincing manners. Plays that should've been reviewed were not. Plays that should have been let to slide were called at crucial moments, but never at any other time. Whether any one of these is correct or not, the cascade effect of each and every alleged mis-call has weakened the overall confidence level of many football fans here on FO.

Conspiracies be damned. Biased refs be damned. "Should have won" be damned. Just make sure it never happens again, can we all agree on that? This is becoming the Irrational Brady/Manning Argument thread. As "proud" as I am to see my team involved in something as controversial in this whole debacle, and as truthfully glad as I am to see non-fans expressing the same frustrations I had, it's not accomplishing anything. Let's get back to being objective, productive, and forward-thinking.

400 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

I'm a huge Steeler fan, so I'll admit I'm not very partial here. Although Ben was nervous and threw like last year's playoffs. Way too high and way too short are his go to throws when he's nervous. And Seattle's offense definitely outplayed Pittsburgh's, except inside the 30 and in going 5-17 on 3rd down.

But as far as the biggest calls causing tiffs, I think how they all looked explains the calls. And I think this what we'll hear on Wednesday from the league.

On Jackson's interference call, he extended his arm fully three yards from the official. No way this isn't called. The arm extentsion is like DNA evidence on PI. Others have made this point.

On Ben's TD, it all came down to the rule on the field. Replay couldn't CONCLUSIVELY overturn the call either way. As far as the official taking time to signal touchdown, it's not like that never happened before.

On Jackson being ruled OB at the goal line, I watched closely and I could still be wrong. But it appeared to me that the inside of Jackson's knee hit the outside corner of the pylon. I have no idea what the rule is on that, I admit.

And on the holding call on Haggans, the lineman had one arm up high, pulling him back from the side and kind of behind. That's another textbook thing officials look for.

Lastly, a totally biased point. The Steelers suffered a totally wrong call against on the road against an explosive offense. One so bad, the league actually apologized for it. And they still won. Now, maybe that's one call that's definitely wrong against 3 or 4 that are borderline, but no flags were thrown the two times Stevens dropped a pass inside the Steeler 20, both of which killed drives.

401 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

I believe that the NFL has to have a default call ("Tie goes to the runner") in place for goal line situations. There is a clear bias in reply when a certain call is made. I think that the ref just threw up his arms and decided to let reply handle it. This gives an advantage to the offense because the defense has to overturn the call. The reverse is true as well. Why not define a standard, so each team will know the absolute truth? The offense WILL have to punch it in or the defense WILL have to stop them short.

402 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

There's some good discussion going on, but I'd like to address a couple of points in the 'article' that I didn't really see too many others touch on.
1) "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."
The reasons the Steelers fans seemed to be everywhere are twofold. One, the Steelers are 300 miles from Detroit, while the Seahawks are 2500 miles from Detroit. It is a lot easier to convince your family or buddies to go such a short distance rather than all the way across the country. Two, Steelers fans travel 'well' to EVERY game I see on TV. They are willing to shell out assloads of cash to travel, and are always rolling around in those bigass camper vans. I was at the Monday Night Football game against the Chargers this year, and there were honestly [i]at least[/i] as many Steelers fans as Chargers fans, if not more. It was sad, and disgusting, in a way.
2a) "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.'"
2b) "A lot of posters are saying that two feet must be inbounds for the pylon to matter, but I disagree. I called it just as the play happened, and I’m sticking with it- From what I’ve heard, the Pylon counts as an inbounds part of the field. In other words, both feet touched inbounds, because one hit the ground, and the other leg hit the pylon."
2c) "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."
Regarding the Darrell Jackson catch, on the replay they showed on TV, his first (left) foot is clearly in bounds, and his second (right) foot hits the outside of the pylon. I know that if someone stretches the football and hits the inside of the pylon it is a touchdown, [i]if they have already established possession[/i]. [b]The difference is that Darrell Jackson never established possession of the ball [i]before[/i] hitting the pylon, which you need to for the pylon to be ruled as inbounds and part of the end zone.[/b] That is the distinction, and that is why it was ruled out of bounds. This is why the rule quoted in post #243 is not very relevant.
3) "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?"
The only reason Alexander was able to run effectively after the first quarter is because Seattle set up the Steelers defense to be able to. If you haven't noticed, teams with safeties that very often play near the line of scrimmage (Steelers with Troy Polamalu, Colts with Bob Sanders/Mike Doss, Baltimore with Ed Reed, Cowboys with Roy Williams) NEED to be attacked very early in the game with a series of passes to keep those guys out of the box to open up the run. As shining examples of this, roll the tape from some games late in the season and you will see that this is what the Chargers did to the Colts in the first quarter (week 15), this is what the Steelers did to the Colts in the first quarter (Divisional round), and this is how Seattle opened up against the Steelers (Super Bowl). You need to keep the safeties honest, and there is no better way by attacking the secondary when the safeties are lined up playing the run 'in the box.'

403 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Oh, and on Hasselbeck's cut block penalty, that was definitely called on Faneca in an earlier game this season. He went past the blocker and got the runner down. But they still called it.

This, I think, is because the NFL is so paranoid about somebody not paying attention on a turnover and having their knees blown into the third row.

Hasselbeck definitely hit Taylor and only Taylor, but he did dive in front of a Steeler defender/blocker. Again, I think appearance led to that call.

404 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Loads of wisdom in this thread. This is the only place where i've seen mention of Rouen's horrific night. If Jerramy Stevens had hands, and but for a random hold call, he's the MVP. I feel cheated out of a memorable finish. I believe Seattle outplayed the Steelers overall, BUT a few big plays more than balances that. And it doesnt matter how you win.

405 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

The worst call I have ever seen is the Rob Lytle fumble called back in 1977.
And I could have sworn Haven Moses stepped out on that long pass. Maybe, maybe not, it was close.
In the Late 70's there were some bad calls
Sugar Bear Hamilton
Rob Lytle
Benny Barnes
Ray Renfro
I definately agree with the Seattle fans that all the calls went the Steelers way.
But seriously, how is this unusual?
Remember the catch game. The Niners got totally hosed on some goofy PI calls. Walsh and Lott are still pissed. And I love the Cowboys, but it probably should not have been that close.
Or the 1984 NFC champioship. 21 all and they call that PI on Lott, who is literally STANDING there.
I am not saying this happens year in and year out, but good god, it happens a lot.
Look players make really dumb mistakes. Coaches call just horrible plays(ok lets cover Steve Smith with just one guy, or pull a guard to block Porter).
I am sorry this has diminished your enjoyment of the game, I don't know what to tell you. Except this, IT WILL HAPPEN NEXT YEAR.
Somebody is gonna get totally screwed.
The tuck rule game, the forward lateral in the 2001 AFC champ game that got returned for a TD. It goes on and on and on...seriously, let it go, your are demanding standards that are too high.

406 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

I dont think Jackson interferred - 4 points.
I dont think Ben scored - the fans were robbed of a dramatic 4th and inches play.
I dont think Locklear held - 14 point swing.
I do think Stevens fumbled, but I dont know that it was recoverable. Seemed to be heading out of bounds pretty quickly to me. Would've taken some clean hands from the defender to secure it before it went out. We'll never know, because the umps were whistle-happy.
I don't think Jackson was in bounds. I also dont understand why he didn't do a better job of making sure he was in bounds. He appeared to have ample room to make sure of it and send the seahawks to the locker room with a lead. Just another example of the seahawks shooting themselves in the feet. Sure the umps loaded the gun and pointed it at the toes for them, but you cant be that sloppy and expect to win.

407 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

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.
It appeared he saw the same fumble you did, and watched Roethlisberger bobble the ball on the ground and recover it on top of the chalk. That seems to be how he ended up with the TD signal, stupid as it is.

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.
I agree, this is one of the improvements they definitely need to make but nobody is talking about. There needs to be some sort of buzzer on the play clock, or the official in charge of watching the play clock should have a stopwatch that mirrors the play clock and beeps when it runs out.

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.
Because he was knocked sideways on the hit.

408 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

For those of you who haven't actually looked it up, I have posted an exerpt from the NFL rulebook on offensive pass interference. Clearly, what happened on the disputed 1st Qtr TD reception by D. Jackson would fall in the category of "incidental contact" as defined below and if you think that is a questionable judgement, then NOTE #1 should apply. Lets be fair.

"Actions that constitute offensive pass interference include but are not limited to:

(a) Blocking downfield by an offensive player prior to the ball being touched.

(b) Initiating contact with a defender by shoving or pushing off thus creating a separation in an attempt to catch a pass.

(c) Driving through a defender who has established a position on the field.

Actions that do not constitute offensive pass interference include but are not limited to:

(a) Incidental contact by a receiver’s hands, arms, or body when both players are competing for the ball or neither player is looking for the ball.

(b) Inadvertent touching of feet when both players are playing the ball or neither player is playing the ball.

(c) Contact that would normally be considered pass interference, but the ball is clearly uncatchable by involved players.

Note 1: If there is any question whether player contact is incidental, the ruling should be no interference."

409 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

The Steelers won the game by virtue of three "lightning strike" big plays. Apart from these, their performance was pretty mediocre. They did a good job on third down conversions in general and, once they had to get some first downs to protect the lead as the fourth quarter wore on, they did their usual very good job of accomplishing that. But clearly their win came down to Roethlisberger's scramble & pass, Parker's run, and Randle El's pass. Can anyone think of any other significant games in which both teams played unremarkably, but which were pretty much determined by such sudden events? For instance, I don't remember the Patriots win over the Steelers, in which there were two return (one int, one punt, I think) touchdowns by New England. How was the rest of that game going? Are there examples which are more analogous?

I ask this because this is a rather unsatisfying way for a game to turn out, even to win (I am a Steeler fan.) Games that go back and forth, one team seizing control, then the other wresting it from them are always interesting. Games in which one team establishes dominance, especially which it is unanticipated, are equally entertaining (I'd put the Steelers-Colts playoff game this year into that category). The type of game we saw yesterday, in which neither team plays particularly well, but sudden events result in the winning team's scores, just don't offer much.

410 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

#393 It's not that the referee didn't immediately signal TD, it's the fact that he ran about halfway in from the sideline with his closed fist in the air signaling 4th down while marking the spot, and then changing his 4th down signal to the TD.

411 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

I wish we had a better explanation on the TD call. If I were a betting man I say that the head NFL official will say that "The official ruled on the field it was a fumble, and recovered in the end zone by Roethelisberger". When I watched the replay a few times, I think one could come up with that conclusion... because it looked like he didn't completely possess the ball until it was over the end line.

Re: Hit on Mack Strong
I wish I had Tivo because it was a great tackle.

Another missed penalty that someone brought up was for "Ineligible man downfield" on the Steelers 3rd and 28 play. I think this should be reviewable and challengable, just like "illegal pass beyond the LOS". I'd like to say the same about off-sides and false start, but at that point it comes down to pacing.

One play that no one mentioned was when the game got chippy, the umpire dived on top of Wistrom and was holding him down. I wish officials would do this more often when things are on the brink of out of control.

412 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

"One thing that I think really seperates the NFL from the NBA and MLB is how seriously the rules are taken."

I think baseball is officated better than the other two, even if they let fielders get away with the "neighborhood" play.

413 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

RE: 339

I agree totally, but some of the calls are a little understandable. I know that the PI call was a bit of a letter of the law thing, but there was a basis for the call. I think part of that happened because the refs were maybe a lil nervous. A few of the situations offered no real upside to any of the refs. On the Roethlisberger TD, if they said he was out, folks would complain, they said he was in, folks complained. The poor dude had to rule something though. Same thing with the PI, if it didn't get called, we would be roasting the officials for not calling it. But again, it's a non reviewable call, gotta decide something. Maybe its because we are stuck in an akward luminary state, some calls subject to review through cameras, some are not. If you were only able to see the BR rushing TD once, at full speed, would you be able to say 100% either way? Then again, since we have reply technology, maybe there should be a set of officials, probably the guys that decided whether calls are good or not for the league, reviewing every single play. That would certainly be more accurate. Not to say the calls didn't suck, but after thinking about it a while maybe the problem isn't just the refs. Maybe anybody you put in there is gonna end up doing the same thing.

414 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

I shall remember Superbowl XL until my twilight years as the night that 50-odd heroes decked head to toe in slate-blue won my heart with their majestic sporting skill. One, so aptly named Strong, barrelled and blocked and gashed through his foes. Their captain, bald as Caesar, stood proud on his ground behind a wall of men strong enough to have repelled the hordes that threatened the Mandarins of antiquity, and picked apart the opposition with scarcely a mistake.
I watched a youth of those great Pacific islands, barely old enough to have felt a blade against his beard, who had the youthful genius for battle of Alexander and Napoleon, direct his men in bravely blunting his opponents steel.
But woe, the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune denied my novel valiant titans their due rewards. But there may be honour in defeat, and those awe inspiring raptors shall enter the romantic realm alongside other gallant sides who did not taste the ultimate prize, sides that stir the imagination, the great Magyars of Puskas and Kocsis, the revolutionary Dutch of Neeskens, Cruyff and Michels and, of course, the Buffalo Bills of the early 1990s. Wondrous sides one and all.

As for the Steelers, Roethingy played the worst game of a HOF career, the D was wet, the long run was a long run with one sidestep, and the trick play was a big yawn as we’d all seen it before. But they won so it doesn’t matter.

If you don’t agree with my assertion that the better team lost I don’t mind awfully, but please remember where you are and why you are here. This site is based on DVOA, and DVOA says the better team lost.
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.
So please keep your criticism civil.

To those who claim a conspiracy, please do not forget the innate human capability for making dumb errors. It is not rational, and therefore not in the spirit of FO, to dismiss the likelihood that the refs were just crap, plain and simple.
As the Bard had Hamlet say,

“Who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of dispiz’ed love, the Law’s delay,
The insolence of office, the ineptitude of sports officials
And the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might quietus make,
With a bare bodkin?�

415 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

(Humor Break)

The officiating was a travesty, a sham, a mockery..a traveshamockery.

(Continue ranting)

416 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

There is some analysis of the game at (click on my name), a fansite of the Steelers. The writer, who has always been ultra-objective, tends to agree with just about all of the complaints about the officials. He cites 7 badly called plays, and gives the officials a grade of F-. Incidentally, this same guy, in his pre-game analysis, suggested that Josh Brown and Tom Rouen would both have bad games:
The Seahawk spec teams have been under fire all season. The Seattle kicking game is adequate, but hardly spectacular. Josh Brown handles the placekicking duties. During the reg season, he made 5 of 8 in the 50-59 yard range, and 4 of 7 in the 40's range. Former Stiller and Donco Tom Rouen does the punting chores. He’s about as mediocre as they come, as evidenced by his shabby, low-liner punt that Steve Smith easily took to the house in the NFCC.

417 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

young curmudgeon your quest is a honourable one, but I fear it is destined to most regrettably fail.

419 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

young curmudgeon, there was that horrific super bowl (I want to save SB V) that had something on the order of 8 turnovers and bad play by everyone on both sides, that was decided by one last kick at the end.

And of course there was Rams/Titans, which had both the bomb to Bruce and the tackle at the 1. Or Carolina/NE, which had a couple of big plays in a row after a fairly defensive-oriented struggle.

420 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Re 417: Alas, you may be right. Maybe it would be better if Brady's sneak for the touchdown, Manning's push off that was called pass interference, Brady's holding penalty on a key pass completion, whether or not Manning hit the pylon before or after his foot came down out of bounds, all these had taken place in some other dimension. Or something.

421 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

I have a few things to say.
About the Darell Jackson interference penalty, it's a total judgment call. The officials are humans, and if humans are the ones doing the judging, they're going to make mistakes, because humans are not perfect (except for some of you guys who of course are perfect and know that the refs robbed the Seahawks). As I said, it's a judgment call. Whatever the official thinks it should be is what he's going to call. That's his job. If you don't like it, then go get some striped shirts yourselves and do the officiating.

Second, Roethlisberger's TD. I replayed it probably at least 10 times on my DVR and I can affirm that the very tip of the ball DID pass the goalline. Now, maybe it didn't and both me and Hittner are wrong, but once again, that goes back to the judgment thing.

Third, Locklear's holding. This is not the first time I've seen stuff like this happen. Locklear was blocking Haggans and Haggans fell to the ground by his own power. However, in most cases (not juts in this game but in several that I have seen and really hate) when the ref sees the defensive player go down out of the corner of his eye, he automatically assumes it was holding. Like I said, I hate when that happens, but when you can find a way for the ref to see in two places at once, go ahead and introduce it to the world. I don't agree with the automatic assumption of holding, but that's just the way it is, and once again, the ref is human.

Fourth, Hasselbeck's "low block". Although he did tackle only Ike Taylor, he did come awfully close to #26 whoeevr that is, and from the right angle it could have looked like he brought him down. I didn't agree with the call at all, but from the right angle it was very close. This is yet again another display of man's imperfection, undesirable yet unavoidable.

I do agree that some of the calls were very questionable, but they were judgment calls for which there is not necessarily a strict "this is how it is always called no matter what" kind of rule. I do think it is unfortunate that this game will be remembered more for its refs than its dramatics and that the whole playoffs were plagued by these uncertainties. I do also think that the officiating this season as a whole was quite inconsisten and/or questionable. To say the refs robbed Seattle is a big overstatement. If that is true, than half the playoff teams were robbed at one time or another, as were half the teasm all season long, obviously totally changing the NFL landscapes.
Some things to take into consideration are the following: The Seahwawks, not the refs uncharacteristically had a hard time sustaining several of their drives, Jerramy Stevens, not the refs, proved he that he is "soft" (I have to admit that's pretty funny; I don't normally like trash talkers, but all through the playoffs Porterbacked up everything he said), and the Seahawks defense, not the refs, allowed all the Steelers' big plays. So even without any questionable calls, the Seahawks still have to be held accountable somewhat and even if they did score the 11 or so points "stolen" from them, I do not doubt that Big Ben and company would have kept it close throughtout the 4th quarter. Remember, they went into ball control-mode about midway through the 3rd quarter; they most likely would have been able to score more points if Seattle had taken the lead, similar to what happened with New England and Carolina: barely any scoring in the 1st half and then a shootout in the 2nd.

My closing thoughts: "Hey, we simply didn't play well enough to win," Hasselbeck said. "We can't blame this loss on the calls out there." Some true sportsmanship right there. Amen to that!

422 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

There really is no problem with the emotion attached to this issue, the heated debate, or the fact that the officiating took over any post-game discussion.

The problem will be if arguments about the officiating in Super Bowl XL take over the site. THAT was the issue with Brady and Manning, the way Extra Points about the San Francisco 49ers would turn into Brady-Manning debates within 10 posts.

Argue here. When Four Downs starts to show up, don't argue about Seattle and Pittsburgh when the article talks about the Giants and Eagles and Cowboys.

423 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

412, the umpires in baseball have been pretty good, especially since the umpires had a walk-out and a bunch got fired. Of course, with the exception of balls and strikes, their job is easier than refereeing NFL games.

424 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

young curmudgeon,
Putting it in those terms... the game it reminds me of is the Minnesota Vikings @ New York Giants game of this year.

I can't remember which week, I want to say between 8 and 11. The Vikings scored touchdowns on a Darren Sharper interception return, Koren Robinson kickoff return, and Mnwelde (sp?) Moore punt return. I also remember a really strange play with Eli Manning where Jeremy Shockey quit on what many people thought was a Manning lateral.

If we are talking about rules changes, the NFL needs to change their rule on a foward pass. It should be something like "arm going foward AND ball travels forward". As crazy as it sounds I can remember at least 2 plays this year; the Manning play in the game above, and Hasselbeck's aborted throw and scramble during the divisional weekend where the QBs arm was going forward, but the ball never travels forward. Whenever the rules committee meets, they always say it's too hard to make a rule, but I think I just did.

425 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Re 419. Thanks, Kal, maybe there is hope. I thought the NE Carolina game was well played defensively whereas this one just looked like a couple of out of sync offenses--is that selective memory? The Rams-Titans game is a pretty good analogy.

Anyone else think this game would have been MUCH better if it had been played last week. Both teams looked so good up to that point, and looked so average yesterday.

426 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

“A player will be ruled in bounds if he touches the pylon at the goal line before going out of bounds.�

Here is the meaning of this rule: "You're not out of bounds because you've touched the pylon."

This does not mean the pylon is a magic stick that automatically gives a reception when touched, regardless of having touched a knee/both feet inbounds.

The only relevance that rule has to the pylon discussion above is this:

Darrell Jackson was not out of bounds the moment he touched the pylon, because the pylon is not out of bounds. For that matter, the pylon is not "part of the field," either. He was out of bounds when his second foot hit the chalk. This rule gave Darrell Jackson the chance to land his second foot inbounds for a touchdown reception. It did not award him a touchdown simply for having touched the pylon. I really hope that clarifies the confusion, though I doubt it will :)

427 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

I have an update on the Dutch sage (for anyone who's interested in a reprieve from officiating talk). He sent me the links to his predictions. Rather than post them all I'll just say go to and search for posts by "smartmonies".

I must admit surprise, his claim of being 11-0 straight up in the playoffs was almost completely true. He was actually 10-0 with no pick made for the Skins/Bucs game. He was apparently 5-1 in picks made against the spread.

I still say he's dishonest, he claimed a pick in a game he didn't pick, and I don't buy his supposed ATS record for 2004. In the future I may take the time to check out other picks he's made during the regular season (his posts on this board go back a ways into 2005, but not into 2004).

I'm guessing that he's a decent prognosticator who's simply hyping himself based on his excellent record in this year's playoffs. The fact that he felt the need to inflate a record that should stand on it own merits make me quite suspicious, to say the least.

428 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl


Oh please, don't get me started. From the gross indifference to a salary cap to the inability to consistently find a strike zone, baseball has some of the worst officiating around. It's not the fault of the umpires; I did some umpiring for junior high students at one point, and I know how extremely tough it is. It's just that the game itself is so resistant to change that they refuse to implement measures that would make the game more accurate on account of "tradition".

429 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Uh.. not that the salary cap has anything to do with the officiating; not sure where I was going with that, but by God it made sense when I typed it.

430 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Will Allen:

Perhaps I'm not totally understanding the dispute here, but this is how I see it.

Assuming the holding call was illegitimate (opinion seems to lean slightly in favor of the Seahawks on this one), that significantly decreases the probability that Hasselbeck will throw an interception based on the normal patterns of goal-line playcalling.

However, even if the call stands, that doesn't actually cause Hasselbeck to throw an interception, and there's still a fairly low probability, based on the situation, that he'll throw one.

The penalty didn't cause the interception, but it was a necessary condition for the throwing of the interception, if you follow me. The immediate cause of the interception was Matt Hasselbeck making a bad throw and Ike Taylor making a good read, which is entirely to the Seahawks' detriment and the Steelers' credit.

Basically, the (supposedly) blown call dug a hole in the road in front of the Seahawks in the middle of a race. Instead of running around and continuing, albeit slowed, they jumped in and broke their ankle.

You can blame the officiating for creating a situation in which the interception was a feasible outcome, but the interception itself was entirely part of the game of football.

431 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

On a fact that interests only me:

Tommy Maddox is now the only QB that has both an NFL and an XFL championship under his belt. He is clearly the best QB on the Steeler roster. :)

432 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

I really have to congratulate the site for non-homer analysis by somebody who is obviously a Steelers fan.

433 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Rosencratz or Guildenstern,

While you could argue that the better team lost, I don't agree that the team which played better on that day lost. Seatle did a lot of things well, and arguably outplayed the Steelers between the 20's, but they just couldn't score. Of course a lot of calls went against them, but in the face of adversity they didn't keep on fighting (like the Steelers against the Colts), they wilted instead. DVOA argues that statistically, most of the time in a game like that the winner would be the Seahawks, but that doesn't mean that they were the better team, it means that they had the statistical advantage, but they were unable to capitalize on it. If they couldn't capitalize on their advantage, they I can't agree that they were the better team.

Does that make sense?

434 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

And Young Curmudgeon

I totally agree, the bye week seemed to hurt both teams, especially Seatle. But both.

435 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Well, sunshine, like I said above, if somebody wants to fault me with saying, "the interception was a direct result of the holding call", instead of "absent the holding call, it is overwhelmingly unlikely that the Seahawks would have turned the ball over", I plead guilty, and beg forgiveness from * fans wherever they may be.

....Shoot, I promised to stop doing that! Please forgive me!

436 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

In a little while I'm going to put on the game tapes and look at some of the plays.

So far, I'm going to look at the Locklear holding play before the interception, and the points at which the first few Seattle drives stalled (to see what the teams did differently that suddenly caused the ball to stop advancing).

Any requests? Quarter and clock time would be appreciated, so I don't have to look it up in the play-by-play.

437 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

What I find most interesting is that there seems to be no consensus on the actions of the referee on both DJ's pass interference and Ben's TD.

Some people here are saying that the referee did not throw the flag until Chris Hope complained. Others are saying that the referee went to throw the flag immediately, and had trouble getting it out, so that when it finally was thrown, it appeared as if it was only thrown because of Hope's griping.

Which is it?

On the TD, some are saying that the referee went to signal "4th down", and then abruptly signaled "TD" when Ben extended the ball after landing. Others are saying that the referee at no point was beginning to signal "4th down."

Again, which is it?

Are people watching different versions of the game? Is there some kind of "multiverse," where some people saw one outcome and others saw a different outcome?

It's one thing for people to disagree on, say, the holding penalty, and say that it was or was not holding. But, surely, the referee's actions on these other two plays were clear, weren't they? I'm confused. How hard is it to figure out what the referee was doing with his arms?

438 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

All this whining about calls is useless and degrading to FO staff to read. Where is the discussion of statistical impact of the "bad" calls? Lots of them were fine (Roth's td, the PI, the pylon, the holding call all were just calls that happen every game, that's football, kids)and there's no way to say they would have changed the game's ultimate outcome. I would like to see a discussion of whether DVOA can accomadate a team stat for resiliency despite penalties, rather than a lot of questionable whining about zebra calls that went against the underdog favorite of everyone sick of hearing about Jerome Bettis' mother. How about some acknowledgement that neither DVOA or pregame analysis picked matchups very well (Pitt #1 reciever MVP, Parker long run, bet on the underdog etc.) How much of the aggrieved tone of the FO comments come from that? Please try to return to detached observation land, guys. Would have liked to see both teams play more interesting football (brick hands anyone) but this is not productive.

439 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

437: From memory: On Ben's TD, the official jogged along the goal line with one hand in the air. It looked to me like he was going to spot the ball. I rolled my eyes and started swearing. He was at least halfway to #7 (perhaps all the way) before he signaled TD.

The sorriest part of this was that I think the official got the call *right* but it may have been by accident.

440 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

well calig those specific instances I'd say could be pretty subjective, similar to five eyewitnesses describing different details at the same crime scene. We're dealing with memory and Tivo here; if someone still has the game on tape, or watched it not-live, that person will have a different view of those two plays than someone who watched it live in a room full of people.
Live, I thought the PI flag was OK, but watching it in Tivo slow-motion after the fact, it seemed late. Maybe he fumbled with the flag, hard to say even in replay. Again, subjective. Also live, I swear the side judge coming on Ben's TD had one arm up, one arm down (not pointing at the ground). My memory tells me I've never seen a ref waiting to make a call (as proposed in the Alstott case earlier in the thread) run in with any arm up, but just running normally. He clearly looked as if he was going to call him down, but didn't. That is also subjective, because I seem to remember the camera angle kind of zooming in on the ball, and cutting the ref off a bit. Don't have the game anymore, and didn't look at that one more than what ABC showed, so hard to say. Either way my rambling point is that I'm not surprised there are differing recollections of those two plays. Vash, roll the Tivo!

441 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Re 437: Calig23, I think I explained this to some extent in 391--selective perception. People get a first impression, based on what they see, sometimes with an admixture of what they want to see. Then, as they think about what they have seen, aspects that "fit the narrative" seem to grow in strength and dissonant information is filtered out. After thinking about it, or especially after arguing about it, their memory is edited to the point where they have a genuine memory, but it is of an event that may or may not have taken place exactly as they remember it. I definitely recall the official on the Roethlisberger TD gesturing in such a way as to indicate a touchdown, albeit first with one arm as the other was doing something else. Guess what, I'm a Pittsburgh fan. Others, who may be Seattle fans, or may have a stake in arguing that the game was poorly officiated, or may have noted other bad calls and be applying that template to this event, are equally adamant that the official raised a fist to signal fourth down and gestured toward the ground. I admit, I do not have a videotape of the game, I have not reviewed it, and perhaps others have. But I know what I saw when I watched the play...and I also know that I could have utterly misinterpreted the gestures I thought I so clearly saw. Do I think it was a TD? Yes. Do I think the official signalled a TD? Yes. Can I guarantee that I am right in my recollection? No.

442 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Take a look at the Darrell Jackson play. I'm pretty sure he had possession and fairly certain it looks like his right leg brushes up against the pylon.

Everyone is still unsure if the rule as cited by Clayton is valid, but it seems that this play perfectly follows the example he gave. Does a leg equal a foot? Does it simply mean the player is not out of bounds? I would think it means that, but why no review?

443 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

#212: Ben didn't engage a blocker below the waist. The fact that there happened to be blockers in the neighborhood when he tackled the ballcarrier below the waist doesn't make it an illegal block.

444 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

442: Can I get a quarter and an approximate game-clock time on that? I don't remember when it happened.

445 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

mcfly, that's some pretty funny stuff from "Still Mill" on that Steeler site:

Like his father, Lofa has a skull with an outer layer of Kevlar, which allows him to hit like a freight train without blinking an eye.


446 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

443: More importantly, he didn't dive at the ballcarrier, or ever hit him. Only contact was arm-leg, and he made a wrap-up tackle, not a cut tackle.

449 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl

Yeah, Still Mill is one of my favorite football writers, I don't know what he's doing at a fansite instead of writing for a newspaper or sports magazine or major website. This quote from the week 10 postgame analysis after the Steelers' loss to Baltimore had me laughing for days:
Ric Colclough had the golden opportunity to down a punt inside the Balt. 1, but instead of tossing the ball backwards like you see happen all over the NFL and NCAA every weekend, the imbecile squeezed onto the ball and held it for dear life as though it was his first piece of a**, and his momentum carried him, and the ball, into the EZ for a touchback. This ranks up there as one of the most boneheaded plays I've ever seen in my years of watching the NFL.