Audibles at the Line
Unfiltered in-game observations by Football Outsiders staff

Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

compiled by Rivers McCown

Each Sunday, the FO staff sends around e-mails about the games that each of us are watching. We share information about the games that the rest of the group might not be watching, ask questions, and keep everyone else informed about which games they might want to tune into (if they can).

On Monday, we compile a digest of those e-mails and produce this feature. By its nature, it can be disjointed and dissimilar to the other articles on the site.

While these e-mails are generally written with Audibles in mind, they do not represent a standard review of all the games each week. That means we aren't going to cover every game, or every important play. The amount of text dedicated to the specific elements in a specific game do not necessarily represent our belief about what were the most important issues in that game. These just happened to be the thoughts that came to us at the time.

In addition, we watch the games that we, as fans, are interested in watching, so your favorite team's game might not be covered to your fullest desires or even at all. (If you are a 49ers or Patriots fan, you are probably in luck; if you are a Bills fan, not so much.) We have no intention of adding new authors to cover every game on a given Sunday, nor will we watch a different game from the ones that we're personally interested in watching, just to ensure that Audibles covers every game.

This is not really a problem for this week, of course.

Sunday, February 3

San Francisco 49ers 31 vs. Baltimore Ravens 34

Aaron Schatz: 9,000 HOURS OF PREGAME!!!!!

Tom Gower: I feel like letting the rest of the staff know that a commenter on this week's Scramble objected to our inclusion of Ray Lewis on the All-KCW team (on the grounds of having over 50 plays and only one Defeat) because the Ravens had a better record with Lewis in the lineup than they did without him. LINEBACKER WINS FTW!

Vince Verhei: You know, I would be a lot more comfortable with quarterback wins if they were used to judge other positions too.

Ben Muth: My favorite was when people were talking about Trindon Holliday being undefeated this year. Return specialist wins are the best wins.

Aaron Schatz: I also like punter wins. Back in 2009, Brett Kern was cut by the 6-0 Broncos and picked up by the 0-6 Titans, who then went 8-2 the rest of the way, Kern had the best record of any player in the NFL that season.

Tom Gower: Who can forget the great 2009 Week 13 showdown between the 11-0 Indianapolis Colts and 11-0 Brett Kern? The Colts won that day, but both finished 14-2 on the season.

Rivers McCown: Amateurs. We all know that long snapper wins are the only wins that truly matter.

Andy Benoit: All set up here in press row. Extremely cramped, but it's the Super Bowl, can't complain.

Aaron Schatz: No, complaining is for next year when auxiliary press space is outside in the snow.

Andy Benoit: More Ravens fans than Niners fans in the building tonight.

Ben Muth: Illegal formation on the first play of the game is as bad as it gets.

Tom Gower: What a lousy opening drive for the 49ers, with the illegal formation penalty (how?!) and the second-down play-fake to the wrong side (?!). Great pancake by Frank Gore of Arthur Jones on the play, but still...

Danny Tuccitto: Mike, Boger said the illegal formation call was that Michael Crabtree covered up Vernon Davis, but when they showed the All-22 angle, Crabtree was off the line. Yes, no, maybe?

Tom Gower: The slot receiver was definitely covering Davis.

Danny Tuccitto: Davis WAS in the slot. I'm confused.

Tom Gower: The player lined up in the slot covered up the player lined up as the inline tight end, whoever those were.

Ben Muth: That illegal formation might replace Leon Lett getting stripped by Don Beebe as the dumbest play in Super Bowl history. They've ran or walked through that play a dozen times in the past week. Incredibly stupid.

Andy Benoit: Great formation design on the first Ravens touchdown. Empty 3x2 set with Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith each aligned tight in the slot. That got them matched on linebackers, and Boldin was open over the middle on a relatively easy pitch and catch.

Aaron Schatz: Yeah, not only matched on linebackers, but Donte Whitner didn't seem to react very quickly on realizing that Boldin was past NaVorro Bowman and coming into the end zone.

Matt Waldman: Boldin does a nice Shannon Sharpe at this age.

Mike Kurtz: While the Ravens scored a touchdown, the play of their receivers on the second down was absolutely abysmal. Joe Flacco bought them tons of time, moved up in the pocket, got outside and made the linebackers pursue him. Three of his eligibles? Basically standing still on the other side of the field, making no attempt at moving to the right side. Absolutely pathetic effort.

Danny Tuccitto: And now that the Ravens scored on their first drive, I'm agitated. How does Ahmad Brooks jump offsides when he's lined up over the ball?

Andy Benoit: Ravens appear to be defending the read-option like the Falcons did.

Aaron Schatz: Similar to how they did against the Redskins, I guess. Make them hand off and hope you can stop the running back.

On second-and-goal, was Terrell Suggs supposed to be left unblocked? It wasn't a read-option ... that looked like a mistake. The Ravens didn't get the sack there, but they did on the next play.

Danny Tuccitto: The long pass to Davis on the 49ers second drive came with Ed Reed as the single-high safety in Cover-1, which is one of the ways Chris Brown said Baltimore might defend San Francisco's pistol read-option.

And now that I think about it, Reed was single-high safety again on the incompletion to Crabtree at the goal line, which looked to me like it was intended to Randy Moss, who was wide open.

Andy Benoit: Niners are running almost all twin wideout sets, and the Ravens are not having cornerbacks switch with it. They’re staying with zone concepts in quarters coverages.

Ben Muth: Ravens are really timing up the snap. Two plays in a row at the end of the drive, the Ravens had guys get great jumps. The second time was a sack for Paul Kruger where Anthony Davis didn't even have a chance because of Kruger's jump. Colin Kaepernick has to change up the count.

Aaron Schatz: What's the difference between Pepsi Next and Pepsi One? I'm getting seriously confused on my low-calorie soda alternatives.

Tom Gower: Apparently Pepsi One is the low-cal soda and Pepsi Next is the one with the hallucinogenics.

Ray Lewis looked every bit as old as I thought he was on that second 49ers drive. If Davis is able to play and move like he's capable of moving, that should be every bit the problem I thought it would be.

Mike Kurtz: Lewis is a massive liability thus far today. The Niners are running at him, they're throwing at him, and it's working nearly every time.

Aaron Schatz: Wow. Boldin, wow. I don't know what Chris Culliver was doing on that play. I thought Flacco was throwing it away, and Boldin moves over to get it, and for some reason right when they're about to get to the ball, Culliver kind of held up, and that allowed Boldin to catch it. I have no idea why Culliver kind of held up there. Afraid of an unnecessary roughness call if he hit Boldin? That's the only thing I can think of.

Andy Benoit: Ravens going no huddle but they’re not hurrying. They’re also substituting. Niners playing a lot of straight two-man. Good coverage was led to the Ray McDonald sack at end of first quarter.

Ben Muth: 49ers run a tackle-end twist for a sack. Ravens have been sliding towards the left, leaving the right side in man. Tough to pass off twists in two-on-two man protection.

Aaron Schatz: If I have to read another "Boy, that throw shows Flacco is elite!" tweet on the Twitter, I am going to hurt someone. I'm sorry, five months ago when you people thought Flacco sucked, you didn't notice he had a lot of arm strength?

Rivers McCown: Every throw that Quarterback X makes is more important now than the ones that preceded it, don't you understand?

Vince Verhei: 49ers' first two drives were almost all pistol or shotgun. They weren't using them that exclusively in their first playoff games, were they?

Aaron Schatz: LaMichael James just fumbled. He definitely lost it before he was down. But am I crazy to think there was a facemask by a Ravens defender earlier in that play that got missed?

Andy Benoit: Against read-option, Ravens are attacking Kaepernick with their outside linebackers and dropping Bernard Pollard into the box to shore up at second level. Kaepernick is handing off, Gore getting good yards inside due to Niners winning in the trenches.

Aaron Schatz: Too much zone by the 49ers defense here. I think they need to go more man. We know the Ravens struggle to beat man, and the big catches are mostly coming on zone, like where Ed Dickson was wide open coming over the middle with about nine minutes left in the second quarter.

Danny Tuccitto: Can the first quarter-and-a-half be any more of a testament to the randomness of football? So far, we have Flacco heaving balls into the air that find receivers, Dickson catching passes that ricochet off himself, Baltimore recovering a fumble, and San Francisco getting called for several penalties. 49ers down 14-3, and I'm ready to give up on the idea of an orderly universe.

Aaron Schatz: Well, Kaepernick's interception was absolutely not random. That sucker was seriously overthrown. That was a big, big miss, and all the quarterback's fault.

Ben Muth: Kaepernick audibles to a deep play-action pass and throws a pick. Then there's a huge scrum that leads to offsetting personal fouls. I have no idea what happened because CBS' 250 cameras didn't catch how it started.

Andy Benoit: Did it look like Moss completely quit on the interception to anyone else?

Aaron Schatz: The ball was five feet over his head, what was he supposed to do? Or do you mean that he quit as in "he didn't try to tackle Reed after the pick?"

Tom Gower: I didn't love Moss's effort on the route, either, but it didn't make a difference.

Matt Waldman: Regardless of how one feels about Moss' effort, one glaring issue with Kaepernick's game at this early stage of his career as a starter is the fact that since he's been in the lineup, he lacks the touch, timing, and anticipation to make the most of Moss' skills. Of course, Moss is not the same player, but his ability to track the ball and play in tight coverage is every bit as good as what we've seen from an aging Boldin this year. The problem is that Kaepernick is hesitant to throw his receivers open. Young quarterbacks typically don't possess this level of confidence in situations where it makes sense to throw it. They are either too reckless or too conservative. When a player like Kurt Warner talks about how difficult it was to overcome his reticence to target Larry Fitzgerald in tight coverage -- perhaps the best tight-coverage receiver in the game today -- just imagine how difficult it must be for a younger passer. And no, this analysis does not imply Alex Smith would be better. Smith cannot throw the deep ball with anticipation. He might be better in red-zone situations, but not enough that you bench Kaepernick for a veteran who "might" have better touch with an aging vet who might be the third option in this passing game.

Tom Gower: Remember when Aldon Smith was a defensive player of the year candidate? That feels like a very, very, very long time ago right now.

Aaron Schatz: Ravens seem to be putting a number of spread formations out there, trying to force the 49ers to put cornerbacks on tight ends and running backs while they put safeties or linebackers on receivers. That worked on the first Boldin touchdown, and I've seen it working a few times since.

FAKE!!!! I called it! I called it! And it fails! I don't think you call a fake field goal with nine yards to go.

Vince Verhei: Not on a pitch to the kicker, that's for sure.

Tom Gower: I concur. Eight or nine yards to go is just too far for me, though if Dickson (I believe) gets a better block, I think Tucker probably makes it.

Aaron Schatz: OK, I'm generally not a believer that the team with more experience should be favored in the Super Bowl, but I do wonder if we're starting to see rookie mistakes and misunderstandings from Kaepernick here. That almost-pick by Cary Williams was pretty bad.

OK, "first-time starter" mistakes rather than "rookie" mistakes, I suppose.

Tom Gower: He didn't throw with anticipation, and the throw was too far to the inside. Is that the result of inexperience in pressure situations or just a non-great player (who'd played great at times during the playoffs) making non-great plays? My vote is for the latter.

Aaron Schatz: Andy Lee just punted the ball so far that there weren't any 49ers coverage guys close to Jacoby Jones when Jones muffed it.

Vince Verhei: 49ers have gone with the give-up draw on third-and-long twice in the first half. That's an "I don't have faith in my quarterback" call.

Ben Muth: Finally saw what started the fight on the pick thanks to's awesome All-22 camera. Ravens end Jones tried to throw a late and dirty cut block on Joe Staley. It was like the block that knocked Brian Cushing out for the year, but a hair after the whistle. Staley was pissed and dove on Jones, starting the scrum.

Aaron Schatz: We officially have to have a "why was that not offensive pass interference on Torrey Smith?" comment in Audibles, right?

Mike Kurtz: Because he was arm-barred and the back judge probably decided it was all just handfighting.

Aaron Schatz: Jacoby Jones touchdown. Right side, of course. How many times tonight have we seen a Ravens receiver with two or three 49ers defenders standing in front of him, and the Ravens guy somehow jukes and maneuvers his way around the defenders to get extra yards, and a first down or a touchdown? What is going on with the 49ers and tackling guys in space?

Tom Gower: Jones double-moved Culliver and got ridiculously wide open. Whitner continued his stupendous evening, I believe, by losing his deep coverage.

Andy Benoit: Culliver thought the safety over the top would help but that safety was preoccupied by an underneath route extending in seams. Culliver’s body language in coverage suggested that he was not supposed to get help in that situation, like he realized his mistake.

Danny Tuccitto: Nice of Whitner to show up today.

By the way, did anyone else catch Phil Simms saying, on first down around the two-minute warning down 21-3, something to the effect of "Kaepernick needs to be really conservative with the ball here?" They're freaking down 18 with two timeouts left. What? Are they supposed to just kneel the ball and concede an 18-point deficit at halftime?

Andy Benoit: Kaepernick had Crabtree on a rollout on that third-and-2 late in the first half, but he didn’t pull the trigger on the crossing pattern. Elected to tuck and run instead. Unsuccessful.

Vince Verhei: Well, he had him, but the play wouldn't have been a touchdown anyway. It would have bought them another shot or two at the end zone, but they might have kicked a field goal anyway.

Ben Muth: I thought Kaepernick was pretty brutal in that first half. After the first drive, I think you can blame the stalling of every 49ers drive on him. Kruger gets a sack because they weren't changing up the count, he hands off to James on an obvious keep read and James fumbles, he throws a pick, and he doesn't see Crabtree (who should be the first option) on that sprint out to end the half.

Whitner has been beyond bad. It's like Craig Morton is playing safety.

Also, I thought Michael Oher has been solid except for that one sack, and I give half the credit of that to Flacco/coverage.

Aaron Schatz: So, what do we think the 49ers have to do at halftime to adjust, other than "play better" and "tackle guys in space" and "stop making mistakes?"

Rivers McCown: Stop running Gary Kubiak's patented third-and-long give-up draws. Throw to Vernon Davis.

Matt Waldman: I think beyond what Rivers mentioned, I'd like to see a little more of LaMichael James. The Ravens defense can't cope with that kind of speed and the 49ers have very little of that beyond Davis. Since Jim Harbaugh isn't as conservative as Tom Coughlin about turnovers, I'd expect to see a little more of James because he was playing well before that effort fumble cost the 49ers early.

Mike Kurtz: Get back to exploiting Ray Lewis. Throw the book at him, Reed will have to start moving up to help and the top will be wide open.

Aaron Schatz: I'm all about the Destiny's Child reunion, but someone tell them that ten years later, you are allowed to remove the movie references from your movie tie-in song.

Andy Benoit: Aaron, you're nitpicking! Destiny's Child was awesome!

Aaron Schatz: Oh, totally nitpicking. It was great.

Vince Verhei: I had to leave the house for "Single Ladies." Then my fiancée locked me out. Had she not let me back in, the lady would have indeed been single.

Rivers McCown: She'd have most of your worldly possessions, though. It wouldn't be so bad.

Aaron Schatz: Jacoby Jones kickoff return, there are the Baltimore special teams. There have been some crazy comebacks this season, but yeah, this one seems pretty over.

I can't identify from the TV tape who the 49ers coverage guy that totally blew a tackle at the start of that return was. That guy is not going to be feeling very good about himself for the next couple weeks.

Vince Verhei: Remember how Jacoby Jones' playoff season ended last year? He's doing better here.

Matt Waldman: What is it with these former Texans special team return specialists, Rivers?

Rivers McCown: Amazing what happens when they play on special teams units that have an actual coordinator.

Aaron Schatz: The second-guessing about the Texans letting guys go is getting a little ridiculous, though. It's like people don't remember that Jones' mistakes in last year's playoffs ever happened.

Matt Waldman: Jones' game is basically executing like a starter for 99 percent of a play, then doing that one percent so incredibly wrong that it ruins the execution and rips the heart out of coaches and teammates at the same time. I don't blame Houston for letting him go, but I am happy that he's doing better. He has been a tease since he looked so promising at the college level.

Ben Muth: Kaepernick basically just sacked himself, though Arthur Jones will get credit. He's going into full-blown panic mode in the pocket; he looks at one guy and then immediately tries to run around and make a play. He did the same thing against Seattle.

Danny Tuccitto: Alright, guys. I'm checking out of this to go drown my sorrows. I'll simply note in closing that it would really do us good to figure out why the better team loses every Super Bowl these days.

Mike Kurtz: Super Bowl XLVII: Into Darkness

Tom Gower: Nice job, Danny, taking the Superdome lights down with you.

Matt Waldman: He must have been singing Dandy Don Meredith's ditty as he left.

Danny Tuccitto: My brother just texted me intimating the same thing. Apparently, my superpower is electromagnetic pulse.

Ben Muth: And now the power is out, I assume it's a distraction from Goodell so no one can see Jim Harbaugh eating the heart of his special teams coach.

Rivers McCown: What is taking Bane so long? Does he really want us to watch Bill Cowher stump for Alex Smith that badly? Well, I guess that is kind of evil...

Mike Kurtz: I remember last year, when a power outage occurred in an important game involving the 49ers.

I'm not sayin'. I'm just sayin'.

Danny Tuccitto: So, according to Shannon Sharpe, all it takes to return a kickoff for a touchdown is to "know when it's kicked that you're bringing the ball out."

Also, since we have some time here, anyone with DVR, feel free to rewind to Jones' kickoff return touchdown, and watch Brendon Ayanbadejo's bear hug on Bruce Miller in the middle of the field.

Ben Muth: These CBS studio guys are making my head hurt. Cowher is lobbying for Alex Smith and Shannon Sharpe rambling incoherently.

Andy Benoit: At least that wasn't as bad as the last time the Superdome lost power...

Aaron Schatz: To respond to Danny's comment: "it would really do us good to figure out why the better team loses every Super Bowl these days."

I honestly think the answer is just "Wyatt Earp."

The low-seeded team going on an unexpected run to a Super Bowl title is now as emblematic of this era as the NFC blowout victory was emblematic of another era. And just like that trend, eventually, this too shall pass. I really don't think it's an issue of "regular-season performance is no longer indicative of postseason performance, period."

It looks like a trend, for sure. From 1978 through 2006, only one team won a Super Bowl after going 10-6 or worse. Assuming the 49ers don't make a massive comeback here, this will be the fourth time since 2007. And yet, I think each of these teams is its own story, and we just happened to have rolled snake eyes at the craps table three or four times in the last six years. That doesn't mean it's a trend, or that one of the dice now has nothing but "ones."

The other thing I'll say is that the storyline here is "The Ravens got hot in the playoffs." But going into this game, why would we think the Ravens had any more momentum than the 49ers? In the last two playoff games, each team had one big comeback win in a close game and one game where they dominated the other team in the second half. The only difference is that the weeks were reversed. This isn't a case of "the team with momentum in the playoffs now will win" because the team with momentum was both of them.

Ben Muth: The Wyatt Earp Effect would be an awesome name for a band.

Mike Kurtz: While I think your points are well taken, Aaron, it's worth mentioning that while the 49ers did have that big comeback, it means they had to wage a big comeback against the Falcons. I don't think there's much of a "momentum" argument. If such an argument is ever not silly.

Aaron Schatz: Is there that much more of a "momentum" argument for Baltimore playing very good against New England for 30 minutes after they needed a huge blown coverage to send the Denver game to overtime?

Mike Kurtz: Absolutely not.

Vince Verhei: Baltimore has the ball up 22 points in the third quarter and they're still throwing on every down. One, it hardly matters, but they can't run and they know it. Two, this game is going to take forever.

Danny Tuccitto: Totally legal for Corey Graham to grab Crabtree after getting beat by two yards. God, this is depressing.

Aaron Schatz: Baltimore got away with pass interference again, this time on defense. Graham definitely grabbed Crabtree's arm to slow him down a few feet before the deep second-down bomb came down. Crabtree almost caught it anyway, but I was surprised there was no flag there.

Mike Kurtz: Borderline call, and they've been letting them play.

Andy Benoit: Ravens playing Cover-3 concepts in the second half, Niners have route combinations on for beating it. It’s a look the Ravens went with in the first half, but it was less poignant because Niners weren’t spreading and throwing like that then.

Aaron Schatz: Baltimore's "Hey, why don't we not block Ahmad Brooks" protection call goes along with San Francisco's "let's not block Terrell Suggs" protection call from the first quarter.

Ben Muth: I have no idea what Bryant McKinnie was thinking on that Brooks sack.

Great block by Delanie Walker on Reed to spring the Gore counter touchdown.

Vince Verhei: Walker's block was more spectacular, but let's recognize Moss for sealing the cornerback off too. Point is, great blocking by San Francisco.

Aaron Schatz: Man, we did it again, we wrote them off too soon. I swore I would not do it all through halftime, and then after the return touchdown I did it.

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I am disappointed in Jim Harbaugh for not going for two at either 28-12 or 18-19.

Mike Kurtz: It's way too early to start doing two-point conversion math.

Aaron Schatz: No it's not. The sooner you go for two, the sooner you know if you missed the two and thus have to change your strategy to make sure you get in another scoring drive. Chase Stuart has been writing about this a lot lately.

Andy Benoit: When Davis runs a pattern from an inside dual tight end spot along the line of scrimmage, he’s often the intended receiver.

Suggs has been a nonfactor as a pass-rusher.

Aaron Schatz: Justin Smith hasn't been much of a factor either. Kelechi Osemele has mostly handled him.

Tom Gower: This blackout momentum narrativity stuff is driving me nuts.

Mike Kurtz: Agreed, Tom. It's ruining the second half for me.

Vince Verhei: I am cheering for Baltimore just so that won't be the story after the game.

Andy Benoit: Are the CBS broadcasters really playing that up?

Aaron Schatz: Yes, and it is REALLY being played up on Twitter.

Haloti Ngata is now doubtful for return. That's not good news for the Ravens.

Andy Benoit: Brooks has had a very good game, particularly in run defense (backside and playside). Bernard Pierce has a fantastic knack for turning the corner, and the ability to break tackles on the edges.

I guess they don't call hits out of bounds in the Super Bowl...

Vince Verhei: Man coverage against the 49ers leads to a Kaepernick rushing touchdown. You have to either blitz him to force the ball out of his hands or play zone so you can keep your eyes on him.

Ben Muth: Ravens run a heavy blitz to the offense's left and a tackle-end stunt to the left. DeAngelo Tyson, the defensive tackle, has to get outside and keep contain. You have to be aware that the blitz from the other side could force an early flush. If he's where he should be, he falls into an easy sack.

On the two-point play, Kaepernick changed the play when the Ravens showed all-out blitz. Then the Ravens were all over the snap count again and forced the bad pass to Moss.

Tom Gower: I am sitting here almost hyperventilating at Phil Simms acting like Jim Harbaugh might not go for two down 31-29 in the fourth quarter.

Aaron Schatz: I can't believe the 49ers are challenging the spot on the Boldin first down. I mean, it looks like he didn't get it from the video, but how on earth can you take the chance you won't get the challenge and you lose a timeout you might desperately need at the end of a close game -- just to get third-and-a-foot which the Ravens probably convert?

Rivers McCown: I think Harbaugh was just sick of the refs not spotting the ball well and it blew up into a frustration challenge.

Ben Muth: Yeah, haven't loved some of Jim Harbaugh's decisions this game.

Aaron Schatz: Boldin catches the back shoulder on third-and-a-foot. Terrible decision to check off to a pass, great catch by Boldin to make it work anyway.

Vince Verhei: I don't know if any receiver in the league has stronger hands than Boldin. Once he gets it, you're not knocking it out.

Ben Muth: I'd like to thank Todd Haley and Michael Bidwell for going scorched earth on Boldin and driving him from Arizona. It's not like Boldin would've made a difference the last few years with Ryan Lindley and Max Hall, but it's still frustrating.

Vince Verhei: REEAAAALLLLLLLY don't like Baltimore's decision to not call timeout before the two-minute warning on defense.

Aaron Schatz: I think the Ravens got away with holding by Jimmy Smith in the end zone there on fourth down. I understand the idea that both guys are fighting there, but Smith is grabbing Crabtree's jersey.

Ben Muth: Baltimore with the all-out blitz on fourth down, similar to the two-point conversion call. It's obvious they didn't think Kaepernick could make a quick read and throw to beat them in close quarters.

Mike Kurtz: You're never going to get anything like that called when the ball is four yards out of bounds.

Aaron Schatz: Well, the ball's not four yards out of bounds when the holding takes place!

I'll go with what K.C. Joyner is saying on Twitter. If both guys are holding each other, and you have penalties on both sides, call offsetting penalties on both sides and replay the fourth down without giving the 49ers a new set of downs.

Mike Kurtz: Haha, that is true. But remember what I said about secondary fouls ... you're supposed to sit back, replay the action in your head, and then decide whether you saw a penalty. There's also the question of whether the ball was in the air when the contact occurred, which would make catchability extremely relevant. There's a lot for the side judge to resolve in favor of a penalty.

Tom Gower: I've been on this on Twitter, but I hate sprint X option with a fiery passion. I don't hate sprint right option quite as much as I hate sprint left option with a right-handed quarterback (remember Matt Ryan's late first-half interception against the Packers a couple years ago?), but it compresses the field, demands a quick throw, doesn't give the quarterback a running lane, and generally necessitates having to make a throw into a tight window. Your best hope is something backside comes open, which depends on the quarterback having enough time. Sometimes it works, but not always.

I also hate timing patterns in do-or-die situations, like the speed out on third down or the fourth down out-and-up. Not as much as sprint X option, but enough.

Ben Muth: I hate people crapping on the 49ers playcalling. What do you want them to run? They got the quarterback out of the pocket once, called a quarterback counter that was negated because they couldn't get it off, and three passes where Kaepernick could run at anytime. I guess people want them to run the read-option ... but it worked twice all game. The last play wasn't just a fade. You don't get to see the entire route tree when the defense blitzes and plays cover-0.

Vince Verhei: San Fran has one timeout at the end of the game. At least one was burned earlier to avoid a delay of game, right before the failed fourth-down play. I don't remember the other, but regardless, sure would be nice to have those timeouts now, as Baltimore is about to punt with ten seconds left.

Tom Gower: The intentional safety included a fantastic Ed Dickson-on-Anthony Dixon hold in the end zone.

Danny Tuccitto: OK, now that they lost, I'm back. Lttle did we all know that the most important story of the week was Football Zebras' investigative report about the league rigging it so that Jerome Boger could ref this game. Can't remember the last time a crew had so much influence over a Super Bowl.

And, yes, I know this sounds borderline paranoid. However, at this moment, I feel like I'm allowed to vent.

Rivers McCown: That was a poorly officiated game. A great game, and fantastic fun to watch, but just a disaster from the Boger crew.

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Mike Kurtz: OK, what exactly was disastrous? I'm getting really, really sick of hearing this after every game.

Danny Tuccitto: C'mon, Mike. When the game is on Game Rewind, I'd be happy to post screencaps of every joke of a non-call against the 49ers. There's Ayanbadejo's uncalled hold on Miller during Jones' kickoff return touchdown. There's the joke of a spot on Boldin's third-down catch near the end that ultimately got overturned. There's the holding at the end that will go down in Super Bowl lore. There's the hold on Graham when he was beat by two yards. There's Brown destroying Akers, and it's called running into the kicker instead of roughing. I mean, this was an abomination of officiating that eclipses every previous abomination I've almost certainly exaggerated in Audibles previously.

Ben Muth: For me, not ejecting Cary Williams was pretty bad. I know it wouldn't have made a difference, but the fact that they didn't call a hold on the intentional safety was also pretty embarrassing. Other than that, I thought it was below average, but not Seattle-Pittsburgh bad.

Tom Gower: As with every Jerome Boger game, we teetered on the edge of disaster the whole time, but didn't fall over the edge of the abyss. Bad for the league that somebody who does such a poor job of managing and controlling a game worked the highest-profile annual sporting event in the American landscape, especially when reports indicate he didn't deserve to do so. That said, I'm pretty much with Mike on the calls.

Mike Kurtz: Teetered on the edge of disaster? Really? It was a bit chippy. It could have been managed better. There were borderline calls, but there were borderline calls for and against both teams because there are borderline calls for and against every team in every game. I guarantee that outside of that last play, nobody on Earth will be discussing the officiating of this game tomorrow except people like us who are either extremely interested or extremely sensitive to the subject.

And Danny, your team just lost a really close game, I'm not going to impugn your god-given right to be angry about the officiating of the game. I was responding to Rivers.

Danny Tuccitto: And this is all coming from an acknowledgment that, putting the officiating aside, Baltimore was just as deserving of a winner as San Francisco tonight. Just wish, like every Super Bowl I've watched in my lifetime, I actually felt like the players had the final say.

Aaron Schatz: Not every Super Bowl. Look, I'm not happy that the Pats lost twice, and there were some questionable calls in those games, but I think only the most Pats homer of all Pats homers thinks that the Pats lost because of the officials. And I don't think a lot of the Cardinals fans think that about 2008, or Colts fans about 2009, or Steelers fans about 2010.

I think the officiating in this game had more questionable calls than any Super Bowl since the Steelers-Seahawks one. I don't think that it spoils Baltimore's win, but this wasn't just the same as every other Super Bowl.

Vince Verhei: I thought the non-holding call in the end zone would usually have been called, but it was consistent with the way the refs were calling the game. They were letting the players play more often than not.

I'm sure that if you went frame by frame through any given game you'd find a dozen missed calls. These were more prominent because it was the Super Bowl, but it never occurred to me that the reffing was any different than any other game.

Danny Tuccitto: I think Aaron's point is a more level-headed version of what I'm trying to say about the officiating. I'm aware I'm a major culprit when it comes to FO guys ripping officials in Audibles, but I've just never seen something like this in a Super Bowl, although the PIT-SEA game comes close, and that's a damn shame.

Aaron Schatz: "Consistent with the way the refs were calling the game" sounds about right. Almost all the calls we have been complaining about here were of the pass interference/illegal contact kind. It's true that by the time we got to that last drive, the officials basically had established that they were going to allow wide latitude on those penalties. The worst thing is not questionable penalties, but inconsistent questionable penalties.

Ben Muth: Yeah, they generally seemed to let guys play. A late hit on Flacco out of bounds wasn't called, and I feel like that's called in 90 percent of games.

Danny Tuccitto: "Wide latitude" is being charitable. When you let blockers bear hug and let coverage guys hold on for dear life after getting beat, that's just bad officiating. Why have rules at all with latitude that wide?

Rivers McCown: I feel like when you can point out like nine individual plays where someone had a legitimate beef, plus the Flacco out-of-bounds hit, a few really poor spots, and Williams not getting thrown out in a fight that only escalated because the officials weren't doing anything to keep the game under control, I have a right to say that it was a poorly officiated game. Sorry you don't feel the same, Mike. I'm not saying either team was put at a disadvantage by it (though Danny may not feel the same), just that I felt it was objectively poor.

Seattle-Pittsburgh was worse, for what that's worth.

Danny Tuccitto: See, to me, the hit on Flacco was a true borderline call that can go either way. He was hit in the chest outside the pocket at the very edge of the field. Some refs might call that, some might not. That's a far cry from the calls I listed, where it seemed like a scenario right out of an officiating exam.

Rob Weintraub: On the list of talking points from this game, the officiating is about 15th. Just not nearly the issue it's being made out to be. I would rather be Jerome Boger tomorrow than the head of Superdome Stadium Operations, that's for sure.

Andy Benoit: Super Bowl Sunday in New Orleans lived up to the hype. Besides the temporary power outage, the entire spectacle was a huge success. After the game, I went down to the main concourse and caught a snippet of Jim Harbaugh’s press conference. After about the third time he complained about the officiating, I left and wandered around the concourse. Steve Bisciotti came strolling through, smoking a cigar with some 20 members of his family trailing him.

After milling around with the Bisciotti family for a few minutes, I went into the Ravens locker room. You wouldn’t believe how subdued it was. There was no champagne or wild cheering. A lot of the team was still out on the field at that point, but even when Ray Lewis entered, things stayed pretty calm. Lewis did not cry or sermonize or doing anything particularly Lewisy. I stood beside his locker for a good 10 minutes. Several members of his family were there, including two of his younger sons who sat and watched their dad quietly. At one point, Ray handed one of them a shoe (he needed that shoe, he proclaimed to the trainer when it appeared for a moment that the shoe was lost). He told his son to read the insole of the shoe, which I saw contained a list of Lewis’s career accomplishments.

The calm of the locker room was shattered when Suggs entered. He thunderously pounded on a locker and announced that the champions were here. He hollered about getting naked with teammates (that’s technically what all the Ravens were doing at that point). He sang songs. He poked fun at Lewis. When Reed entered, the energy continued to pick up. A few minutes after Reed came in, the Ravens’ most famous fan, Michael Phelps, showed up and congratulated each of the players. It was strange seeing Phelps acting as a fan; aside from a few photographs and quick interviews, people treated him as just another guy in the locker room.

The closest I saw Flacco come to showing any real jubilation was when Phelps congratulated him, and it’s not like he went nuts. That’s not to say he wasn’t enjoying the moment, but Flacco is as understated as they come. And, now, he’s a Super Bowl MVP.


294 comments, Last at 13 Feb 2013, 3:16am

1 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

And I'm reminded why I basically stopped reading audibles: the non-stop bitching, whining, moaning about and nit-picking of the officiating.

The non-call on fourth down was perfectly fine.
The officiating in general was perfectly fine.
Get over yourselves.

7 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

I stopped reading after the first few comments ridiculed the poster on another thread who questioned (legitimately) why Ray Lewis was on this site's worst-team-of-the-year. Don't answer the guy directly, no, wait until you've got all your buddies around and then rip into the guy. Pretty puerile stuff.

Remember who pays your bills guys.

136 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

I agree with BJR. FO's writers have been getting more condescending, and it's made worse by the fact that in a lot of cases I don't even think they're clearly correct. The smug superiority is really offputting to the point I read the site less now than I used to.

It's amazing to me that FO would start the Audibles for the freaking Super Bowl by mocking a reader who questioned a KCW choice.

146 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

This is Audibles. It is emphatically not a media-conscious, ESPN vetted, edited version of the opinions of its authors. It is the real-time thoughts of people watching football, in all their emailed-without-thinking glory.

Of course they're condescending, they're relatively knowledgeable people watching football. I spent half of the Super Bowl ripping up Phil Simms' braindead analysis of the game, and in particular his inability to diagnose a simple play call and identify the players involved.

No reason they shouldn't rip on anyone they want. A little trash talk in Audibles is quite reasonable.

198 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

I do like Audibles for the most part--I enjoy the unfiltered nature with actual analysis, and I agree they are knowledgeable. I try to read it every week. I just find some of the attitude to be unpleasant. Your mileage may vary.

I typically like 85% of it and find 15% of it really obnoxious. I feel the same way about Peter King's MMQB, actually, though the "15% obnoxious" piece is for different reasons.

64 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

In defense of my comment that was ridiculed, the Keep Chopping Wood Award identifies "players who did the most to help their team lose games in the year." The Ravens were 8-1 (now 9-1) with Lewis and 5-5 without. I don't think Lewis magically willed his team to victory, or played that well all year. But he didn't do much to help the Ravens lose games since they won all the games he played in (except for a 1 point loss in Philly). By the definition of the award Lewis really shouldn't have been eligible.

90 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

Nice defense of your position...not that you really needed it after such a childish and barely coherent attack.

The most amazing part is the article leads off with that. It'd be one thing if it had come up in conversation, but it seems clear Gower had been stewing on that, just waiting for Audibles to get going so he could unload with that. He apparently thinks posters will always agree with him?

122 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

If it was such an objectionable comment, why didn't Gower address it in the thread itself (like he did other comments in that Scramble)?

Instead, he used Audibles to call a (fairly long-time, if I recall) poster out to a completely different audience that didn't know anything about the context. It comes across as pretty petty.

Edit: oops, repeating what BJR said, basically.

200 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

Hey jonny. I actually thought about removing that whole part of Audibles because you are correct, criticism of readers doesn't really belong here. And I didn't think there was anything wrong with your criticism of the KCW team. I ended up leaving it in because I liked the joking around about Brett Kern and long-snapper wins.

Sorry if it seemed a bit personal. Probably a mistake on my part.

212 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

Props to you Aaron for apologizing. But shouldn't Tom be the one doing the apologizing?

I hadn't read the original KCW article until seeing this. I expected there to be some long, contentious post. Instead the original post is a couple of sentences and just amounted to "I don't really agree with this because KCW is supposed to be about losing games yet the Ravens win when Lewis plays." It's a logical question and there's absolutely ZERO response to it in that thread from Tom. It baffles me why such a benign post would be brought up in a totally different article.

210 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

I get that the counter argument is that the Ravens won despite Lewis, but you had a good point in showing that his inclusion there didn't really fit the KCW descriptions at all, and you didn't deserve a snarky jerk mention by Gower in audibles.

Besides, if we're seriously going to pretend that Lewis isn't like having a second defensive coordinator on the field just so we can send each other snarky e-mails, we've missed the point on a gameplay level as well.

157 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

100% agree this is getting really old. I started out a fan of FO because your math analysis is good but these audibles have shown your guys' true colors of just being ref whiners like the rest of America who didnt want the Ravens to win, or any underdog in previous SBs.

Go watch the first quarter. Torrey smith gets held blatantly on numerous plays, including one that looks like an easy TD.

Speaking about the Dickson hold in the end zone, it actually doesnt matter if he holds, because he and they know that it still results in a safety. Same result, same amount of time wiped out. So there's no downside.

SF was poised to get absolutely embarassed but for a bizarre power outage putting them back in ti.

The saddest part of all was Jim Harbaugh complaining in post game conference about the non-call.

Marshall Faulk said it best: The non-call was consistent with how the rest of the game was called. I thought Boger's crew was nothing if not consistent even if I didn't love every call either.

Thats football. Ravens 34, SF 31. You guys are just mad because your higher DVOA team didn't win. Again.

248 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

You have one SF fan saying it was one sided, and a bunch of other people saying the officiating was crap, but didn't advantage either team.

The fact that Torrey Smith got held and it should have been called but wasn't is evidence in favor of the position "Refs suck."

251 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

I am stunned that a bunch of guys as smart as this could have such a nit picking discussion of the officiating as apparently the main take away from that game.

The officiating was OK. There is no justification for it to be discussed as a factor in this game to anywhere near the extent it has been. I blame Jim Harbaugh's sideline demeanor.

Third playoff game in a row the Niners spotted an opponent a lead, and this time the indisciplined and sloppy play lasted long enough into the game for them to have dug themselves into a hole they couldn't get out of.

And still had they not wasted 2 of their second half timeouts there might have been time for them to complete their comeback.

280 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

I sure wish someone could convince the 49ers that the first minute of the game is actually the first minute of the 3rd quarter, then after a half hour of play you get a nice break and then quarters 5 & 6. They could do without those first 2.

2 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

I don't see the non-call on the 4th down play as being much worse than the non-call on the Falcons' 4th down play two weeks ago. Yes they could have called it in both cases but on a make or break play, you're probably not going to get that, especially when the ball looked uncatchable and the receiver is pushing off.

8 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

I basically agree with that. It was probably closer to a foul than the falcons one, but it's not like it got me out of my seat screaming at the TV.

The refs weren't great, but I don't think they were bad either. If someone asked me about the game, it's not like the first thing I'd say would be "the refs were awful."

113 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

I'm with you. There are always calls that are questionable. And in a case like this, as a neutral fan it was hard to get that upset given the other circumstances involved: The Niners let themselves fall behind by 22 points in yet another slow start, their playcalling near the goal line was questionable; etc. Had Crabtree been outright tackled, it would have been different. But at some point you just need to win the game by making plays rather than griping that the refs didn't bail you out.

147 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

The refereeing was questionable more for its effect on the flow of the game than anything. If there isn't a questionable roughing call on Ngata the 49ers' comeback never gets started. And there were more than a few noncalls at the end that should have given the 49ers a chance to actually win, that weren't called.

More than once, it has occurred to me that Super Bowl penalties always seem to be designed to create a close game.

183 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

BUT Crabtree WAS prevented from making a game-winning play on 4th down by the DB who had two hands wrapped around him, holding his jersey for dear life for 7 yds into the end zone.

If you want to call fouls on both players and re-do 4th down, that's also fine.

I think it is hilariously stupid that some fans think the NFL rules apply for 59 minutes, but on the most crucial down in the game, the refs should take a nap.

BTW, I was rooting for the Ravens to win.

225 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

Totally disagree. One was basically right on 5yds from scrimmage, and the WR ran into the LB, who didn't get out of his way, and jammed him. It was close, sure.

The 4th down play in the SB was in the end zone and involved blatant holding and pulling, AND crabtree didn't run into the CB to give him some justification for the pretty blantant "PLEASE DON'T CATCH THIS" interference.

I also totally support Lewis on the KCW team. Even if it's just slightly backlash to the general glorification of him by most people, I'm fine with it.

3 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

Congrats to the Ravens. I was really surprised at how well the Ravens offensive line played all night particularly in pass blocking. The Smiths were a non-factor. Justin Smith seemed to be spinning his wheels most of the time.

Culliver for the Niners was the one most impacted by the lack of pass rush. That poor guy killed San Fran multiple times.

I don't know if SF feels like it has to keep other guys happy or what but I would have been throwing more to Davis who was clearly superior to anyone trying to handle him.

The NFL has clearly chosen a path that features part-time officals who are wildly inconstent in their performance. To not realize that and think that the Super Bowl will somehow be different than all the games played during the regular season is pretty silly.

6 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

>The NFL has clearly chosen a path that features part-time officals who are
>wildly inconstent in their performance. To not realize that and think that
>the Super Bowl will somehow be different than all the games played during
>the regular season is pretty silly.

Expected does not necessarily imply acceptable.

11 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

Again, I think expecting a different result from the framework that the NFL has deemed 'acceptable' is pretty strange. NFL leadership is clearly ok with their officials being haphazard in their performance level week to week. I don't what else can conclude given all the evidence

And in what football world has it been shown that football officiating can be consistently deemed acceptable? Collegiate officiating stinks. High school officiating stinks. The NFL officiating stinks less but still stinks.

Sorry if this is news to anyone

46 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

Well said. I though the officiating was poor, but not out of line with any other SuperBowl (basically a ton of non-calls mean players were really pushing the limits all game).

Call a few things early, and there isn't so much bordelrine stuff later on. But the refs are clearly told to be hands off.

5 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

Re: non-calls for DPI -

Has it not been the case since the NE vs. STL SB that there is a completely seperate set of rules governing downfield action in the SB, no matter how closely contact is called in the regular season and playoffs? The 'Otis Smith' rules or something like that?

And, knowing so, shouldn't one's gameplan expect and reflect that?


10 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

The officiating was not the best but if the niners want to blame any one particular thing my suggestion would be their tackling in the first half.

I also suspect that the extra week really must help when preparing for an unusual offense.

12 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

I watched the game with the mute botton on and never once thought about the officiating all night - for good or bad.

On the other hand, if you’re a fan of offensive line play, last night’s game was just a joy to watch. Arguably the two best lines in the league. Both defensive fronts are really good as well, yet both OLs won the battle up front. Marshall Yanda in particular really should have won the MVP. He was just kicking peoples asses like they were hippies. If you want to know why Patrick Willis and Ray Lewis had quiet nights, look no further than Yanda and Mike Iupati. If you want to know why both running games were effective and both QBs were very good, look up front. The only one of those men who had a bad game was Bryant McKinnie, who appeared to blow an assignment and got his QB creamed. But even he wasn't awful the rest of the night. All of the misdirection that the 49ers run from the pistol would be impossible if they weren’t getting it done up front. You want to know why both teams scored 30 points? Look at the front walls. Those men earned their money last night.

13 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

Ignoring the rest of the ref complaining, it is the height of "whiny fandom" to say that the Flacco late hit was "truly borderline" but he 4th down play was definitely a terrible call. Especially given how QB hits are watched.

14 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

I have no idea whether or not this is actually the case, but this article gives one the impression that you guys are extremely butthurt about the Ravens winning. Nobody comes to this website to hear you list off all of the questionable calls that hurt one team, while completely ignoring the questionable calls that hurt the other team. There are plenty of places we could go on the internet to get that.

58 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

I'm a Ravens homer, so my credibility is nil, but I felt like this was a good posting. I love FO, but what I love about the site is that your analysis provides me additional tools for understanding what happens in a game. What I hate is that you seem to feel like your tools should dictate what happens in a game, and when a game's actual outcome differs from what you believe "should" have happened, you act as if the game is somehow flawed. Your work is descriptive of the NFL, but sometimes you give the impression you feel it should be prescriptive.

So when the Ravens "exposed" the DVOA-poor Colts, it was a great outcome. But in every game since, there's been a lot of butthurt-ness about the Ravens. One Audibles commenter even remarked he wasn't sure the Baltimore-Denver game was a great game - presumably because it featured too much unexpected action and too many shocking big plays. Rather than focus on why the Ravens aren't that good, I'd be interested in seeing how their post-season DVOA stacks up against some of the all-time best. It seems to me it has to be pretty good.

174 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

Just generally they seem to not actually understand statistics in the very way they complain about the fans and media not understanding them.

Some game, or even series of games is in their number's eyes 70/30. And then when one of them or a series of them doesn't go their way they get all defensive and preachy sounding. Which is just bizarre coming from people supposedly doing numerical analysis of the outcomes.

We almost know nothing different about the strengths of the two teams than we did before the game. So why act so scandalized about the result?

If I designed a random number generator which gave "even" results 95% of the time and we queried it once and it returned "17", we wouldn't just throw up our hands and start cursing the technique of the person who pressed the button. We would just go "oh"? Lets push it again. Now obviously you cannot run multiple trails in the NFL and that is frustrating. But nothing about that is veer going to change, so you have to reconcile yourself to that fact.

223 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

In their defense, I'd say the reason they get "defensive and preachy sounding" is because literally every single time an upset happens people jump all over them and act like it proves that everything they ever wrote was completely worthless. I'm sure they know that upsets happen and a massive underdog will still win 30% of the time, but I'd be pretty defensive too if I had to put up with a neverending stream of illiterate morons questioning my competence every time something unexpected happens.

250 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

Let's not forget that the FO almanac predicted the 49ers to be below average and the Ravens, I think, to be serious contenders. If you're right - and I'm not saying that you aren't - one would expect at least a tiny 'told you so' moment.

15 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

Complaints about the officiating. Yawn. Double yawn. Mega yawn. That game wasn't reffed any differently than any regular season game during the season. I'd much rather see a non-call in that fourth down situation than the typical reward to the offense for throwing a poor pass to a tightly covered receiver of a first down, and quite often, 40 penalty yards. Ravens came with max blitz up the gut; Kaepernick chucked it up to a covered receiver; ball fell incomplete. No complaints here from this neutral observer.

16 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

As a 49er fan, that was a tough loss to take. Sure there were a lot of iffy calls but what really bothered me wre the self-inflicted wounds.

1) Several critical penalties: Offsides on a 3rd down stop (twice), the illegal formation penalty on the first drive wiping out a 20 yard gain. PI on another 3rd down. Even with only 5 for 33 yards, it seemed like every penalty was a killer.
2) Time management: 2 wasted timeouts to avoid delay of game penalties. The second one right at the end of the game was almost understandable but the first was terrible. When you're down multiple scores in the second half, you don't trade a timeout for 5 yards on 1st down. And Kaepernick is still terrible at getting plays off in a timely manner. I do wonder how much is the coaches fault though because Alex Smith had a lot of problems with that too.
3) Chris Culliver and Donte Whitner: Terrible game for both of them. Was it just me or were 90% of the Ravens passes to the offensive right side? Rogers played decent to good and the only time I remember hearing Tarell Brown's name is when he forced the fumble so I assume he did well in coverage overall.

18 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

I have not seen a lot of San Fran games so was this just Culliver's worst game in forever or is he the weakest link in the chain that got exposed because the San Fran pass rush couldn't press Flacco regularly?

Because boy was that guy bad last night

30 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

Culliver was bad, but it seemed to me like Whitner was even worse. Flacco's pre-snap read in the first half was "find #31 and throw there."

They made some adjustments at halftime and got him some help, at which point it seemed that Culliver became the second half target.

137 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

On that bomb before halftime, Whitner's decision to chase the short route seemed downright bizarre. If that's his responsibility it's bad coaching
Either the weaknesses in the secondary have been hidden till now by a better pass rush (i.e. healthy Justin Smith) or more mediocre competition. This area must be improved.
They couldn't even tackle, the one thing they are clearly good at most of the time.

17 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

"The intentional safety included a fantastic Ed Dickson-on-Anthony Dixon hold in the end zone."

This was a BRILLIANT strategic move. The entire offense was blatantly holding, and I'm sure it was by design in hindsight. By holding, they generate more time for the punter to burn before stepping out of bounds and taking the safety. The defense can't possibly accept the holding penalty, even if it was called, because that would allow Baltimore to snap the ball again with only 4 seconds left on the clock, which would end the game. Someone on Baltimore's coaching staff is a GENIUS.

23 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

Glad to see someone else noticed. At the time I thought it was obvious, but apparently not. Pretty amusing to see a whiny 49ers fan complaining about a penalty that the 49ers would have had to decline even if it had been called. I love watching the replay of every single Raven just holding the hell out of every 49er.

33 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

Wouldn't the holding in the end zone have been a safety, which they would accept? Still a smart move to hold when worst case is that penalty gives a safety, avoid any chance of fumble and recovery for TD.

After the safety, surprised Ginn didn't just fair catch and try a play from scrimmage with laterals, etc. But not surprised they didn't fair catch and have Akers try something like a 75 yard free kick. It was cute of Nantz and Simms to show they know that rule, but stupid they didn't discuss how absurd it would be for 49ers to try a free kick from that far.

76 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

A lower tier punt from scrimmage goes 40 yards, which is really 55 air yards. A bad free kick would have been to the 25 yard line. You think an 85 yard field goal is the way to go? Say it was a horrible punt and only made it to the 45 yard line. You think Harbaugh would take a 65 yard Aker's field goal or a Hail Mary?

104 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

The punter takes two steps before he punts. So a 40 yard punt actually travels 50 yards from his foot, not 55. But that's semantics. Either way, no, I don't think that you take the free kick there. But there is a SLIGHT chance of a return for a TD and you can minimize the odds of that by squibbing it. Most squibs seem to get fielded by the up back somewhere between the 20 and the 25. That puts the ball around midfield, but it's no longer a free kick. Now Akers has to worry about it being blocked - he can't just line drive it. So at that point, I'm calling the Hail Mary and not bothering with the kick.

37 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

Only one or two of the Baltimore players were in the end zone for most of the play. Dickson certainly was, but I'm not sure who else. I guess it would have then depended on who they called the holding on. If they called it on everybody who was guilty, the 49ers could accept the one on Dickson and get the safety I suppose, but that would have no impact, as they already got the safety from the result of the play.

27 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

"that would allow Baltimore to snap the ball again with only 4 seconds left on the clock, which would end the game."

This is not correct as a hold in the end zone is a safety. Given the result of the play was a safety anyways, I'm not sure what the result would have been had the flag been thrown. Enforced on the free kick so you're punting from the 10?

120 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

Well, assuming the end result of the play hadn't been a safety, if holding was flagged outside the end zone, it would have been half the distance to the goal and replay of the down. But the time spent on the holding play wouldn't have been put back on the clock, which would have been key. The Niners weren't going to accept any penalties because they needed to preserve time. The Ravens could have run out the clock on the replaying of the down, even if the Niners could have declined the safety.

28 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

The complaint is - and I even heard the non-football player Mike on Mike and Mike this morning make it - that somehow the play should have been blown dead due to the holding calls and/or time added on to the scoreboard because of that.

You know, because that's how every other holding play in every game is handled.

83 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

I also noted this. The offensive holding on that intentional safety was just too blatant and numerous not to be by design. Absolute genius.
What could SanFran do? Unlike some sports, the NFL doesn't put time back on the clock after if the holdings HAD been called Baltimore simply would have replayed the down and ran out the clock. I think the Refs actually recognized this as well, thus letting the holds go. The competition committee is almost definatt going to address this loophole in the offseason.

163 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

I think Chase Stewart had a post about Buddy Ryan having an intentional safety play which involved having 13 men on the LOS to ensure the punter could run around for 8-9 seconds before taking the safety. The theory was the same - it's a no-lose situation for the offense since the objective is to bleed clock while taking the safety.

ETA: Yup, here it is - the Polish punt team.

Having just watched his Vikings lose, 10-9, Lynn was rankled by the sight of what the Eagles called their “Polish punt team.” In a most unusual formation, designed to prevent a blocked kick or a long runback, Ryan sent 14 men onto the field for a crucial last-minute punt. At the worst, the expected penalty for too many men on the field would set the Eagles back 5 yards but drain precious seconds from the clock.

20 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

i'm shocked you guys are making such a big deal of the officiating. it was no worse than any other nfl game. some missed calls, sure, but that happens every week in this league. refs miss spots and holding calls. they miss high/lows and ineligible lineman well as roughing/running into the kicker penalties. it happens. every week. yesterday was par for the course. to mention it in the same breath as seattle/pittsburgh is ridiculous.

253 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

I agree that the refereeing does not compare to SB XL. It was by far worse.
There was only one call in SB XL that was unquestionably wrong, and it resulted in a 15 yards penalty. On Sunday you had at least three such plays, and each one had significant impact on the result of the game:
- a player beating an opponent and pushing a referee without getting sent off. AFAIR that player later tipped away a potential touchdown catch. And you need not go further back than the AFCCG to see what can happen to a team that loses its #1 cornerback.
- Holding on the kickoff return TD. Yes, something like that happens a lot, but really, *that obvious*?
- The hit on the third down pass at the end was textbook spearing. No need to consider whether the receiver was still defenseless after taking two steps, there's only one right call: Ravens #22 (yes, the one who was involved in the upcoming fourth down play) is ejected, first and goal 49ers on the 2.

24 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

I thought that San Francisco's time management at the end of the game was terrible. Someone criticized Baltimore for not calling time-out before the 2 minute warning, but I actually think that San Fran made the mistake in not running a play before the 2 minute warning.

Once it got to the end game, it was clear that San Fran was NOT going to be able to score with almost no time on the clock. The best case for San Fran was Baltimore getting the ball back with 1:40 or so and 1 timeout, which is more than enough time for Baltimore to score a FG (and even a TD). Instead, they needed to be more concerned about maintaining plan B should they not score the TD. Had San Fran tried to score before the 2-minute warning, they could have had 2 timeouts and the 2 minute warning when they turned the ball over on downs, giving themselves plenty of time to score.

102 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

Yes. Their time management at the end of the first half was also really bad. It was just like the Patriots at the end of the first half a couple weeks ago.

But you're absolutely right---teams seem to get so worried about what the other team will do next that they fail to complete the first mission of simply scoring the points. Same with the Falcons last week.

25 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

Not a fan of either team, and while I don't think the refs did a great job or anything - they seemed to let things get overly chippy - Danny really comes across as a whiner in these Audibles. I know his team lost, but come on, I don't think most neutral people watching that game reached the conclusion the refs were out to get the 49ers.

And of all the jokes about the power outage I've heard, my favorite was "Don't act like you've never blacked out in New Orleans before..."

35 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

I'm not going to blame Danny. Remember, these are comments made in the moment, and it sucks when your team is losing.

But, I will say I think the refs were terrible at handling the game. It was chippy from the start, and the refs did nothing to control the hits after the whistle, the grabs, etc. I don't know that the refs helped either team, but certainly either defense when it wanted to act like a bully was allowed to do so. I think Baltimore did this early, and SF did it after they figured out the refs wouldn't call anything. I find that type of playing incredibly boorish, but as long as neither team benefited more from it, I can live with it.

26 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

Congrats to all the Ravens Fans on FO, commiserations to the 49ers.
Turned into a pretty good game for the neutral in the end, much more so than at half time.

That's the first 49ers Games I've seen this year- Is Culliver always that bad, and does Kaepernick have a persistent problem getting the play off in time?

FWIW I thought the officials were mediocre, and the worst call the blew was not tossing Williams for putting hands on an official-can't understand how that's not enforced

Glad Ray Lewis went out with another ring, but it's a good job he's hanging them up. He's done-Vernon Davis flat-out embarrassed him. Nice to see Matt Birk & Ed Reed get a ring.

Phil Simms still makes my teeth itch...

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

44 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

not tossing Williams for putting hands on an official-can't understand how that's not enforced

It wasn't enforced because they didn't want to eject anybody in the Super Bowl. Most blatant example of leniency because it's the championship game since Nigel de Jong wasn't sent off for his kung fu kick on Xabi Alonso in the 2010 World Cup Final.

49 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

Yes Kaepernick frequently has trouble getting the play off. Guaranteed to waste at least one timeout per game. It was also a problem with Alex Smith. I don't know who to blame because it was even a problem back before Harbaugh was hired. Singletary and Jimmy Raye tended to get the blame at the time. Now I don't know where the problem is.

29 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

"Danny Tuccitto: C'mon, Mike. When the game is on Game Rewind, I'd be happy to post screencaps of every joke of a non-call against the 49ers. There's Ayanbadejo's uncalled hold on Miller during Jones' kickoff return touchdown. There's the joke of a spot on Boldin's third-down catch near the end that ultimately got overturned. There's the holding at the end that will go down in Super Bowl lore. There's the hold on Graham when he was beat by two yards. There's Brown destroying Akers, and it's called running into the kicker instead of roughing. I mean, this was an abomination of officiating that eclipses every previous abomination I've almost certainly exaggerated in Audibles previously."

Have to disagree about "Brown destroying Akers" - my memory of the replay was that there was minimal contact and a great acting job by Akers. I had no problem at all with calling running into instead of roughing there.

91 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

The only problem I have with that is it greatly encourages flopping. I like the way it is now because :

-- The "running into" not being an automatic first down does a little to discourage flops by the kickers
-- The "roughing" penalty discourages dangerous plays from the defenders

Making it always a first down or always just 5 yards (not that you suggested that) would take away one of those items.

Of course, if it's 4th and less than five, punters are likely to flop anyway - and if there was a way to penalize the punters for those, I'd be all for it.

231 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

Seems pretty clear to me that Akers didn't get touched. I don't begrudge Danny's bitching about the refs, but 49ers got a gift 3 points from this penalty and very clearly should have been flagged for the out-of-bounds late hit on Flacco, which would have extended that drive and possibly tacked on 4 points to Baltimore. This is not to say that the 49ers "won" on net calls for the night, but definitely no cause to blame the refs for the 49ers losing.

31 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

Proof positive that Phil Simms is the "Captain Obvious" of all color commentators with his "insight" regarding how he felt that the 49ers were going to go for two when they scored their final touchdown. Great insight, Phil, my girlfriend who watches about 2 quarters of football per year knew that they were going for two.

All in all it was a pretty entertaining game. Way too much complaining about the officials, though. I know 49er fans think PI should've been called on the final pass to Crabtree but he was pushing off as well so it was a good no call in my opinion. Everybody knows that PI doesn't get called unless it's blatant in that situation (and sometimes even if it IS blatant...Packer fans are looking at you Golden Tate.)

269 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

I'll note that Jim Harbaugh didn't seem nearly as righteously incensed about the referees not throwing the flag 2 weeks earlier when it was the Atlanta receiver getting held by a 49er linebacker on the Falcons' final failed 4th down pass. Not identical plays of course, but quite similar, with a level of contact/holding close enough to within 5 yards of the L.O.S. that the norm is not to call holding.

32 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

(For the record, I wasn't pulling for either team - if anything, I was shading towards the Niners at the beginning. I live in the Baltimore/Washington area, so I now get to hear about the awesomeness of the Lewis Retirement Magic Power for a year.)

I actually thought they called the PI/Holding pretty consistently. Wrongly, but consistently the same way for whole game. It appears we're back to the pre-Polian playoff era where DBs are allowed to mug the receivers, since I saw similar examples in both Conference Championships. Both sides took advantage of it, and then the receivers started pushing off when they realized the refs weren't going to call PI - and they didn't call the pushoffs, eitherm so it was at least somewhat even. The only PI I remember was SO blatant they had to call it - almost as blatant as Akers' flop.

I thought Baltimore did most of what they had to do. The game plan was clearly to stop the run and make the inexperienced QB beat them, and it mostly worked. Kaepernick did some flashy stuff, but made some iffy throws (and a couple of REALLY bad ones), and generally didn't do enough to win the game.

39 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

C'mon, Mike. When the game is on Game Rewind, I'd be happy to post screencaps of every joke of a non-call against the 49ers. ... There's Brown destroying Akers, and it's called running into the kicker instead of roughing. I mean, this was an abomination of officiating that eclipses every previous abomination I've almost certainly exaggerated in Audibles previously.


See, to me, the hit on Flacco was a true borderline call that can go either way. He was hit in the chest outside the pocket at the very edge of the field. Some refs might call that, some might not. That's a far cry from the calls I listed, where it seemed like a scenario right out of an offiiating exam.

I normally allow homerish ranting about officiating in a non-Chicago game to wash over me without comment, but come on, Tuccitto, claiming to have video evidence before even reviewing the tape is taking it too far, especially when you're paid to be a football "expert." Akers flopped on the running into the kicker, and Flacco was clearly hit excessively out of bounds, and I make those claims after actually reviewing them on my DVR.

The game had bad calls, but those calls went both ways, to a roughly similar extent. I don't really expect anything more from an NFL-officiated game.

From a Bears fan, neutral observer, etc.

40 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

If I have to read another "Boy, that throw shows Flacco is elite!" tweet on the Twitter, I am going to hurt someone

No one HAS to read any tweets.

Most of what gets said on Twitter is like pre-game shows or ESPN message boards. I just ignore all of it and am no worse off in my life. I spend time on these boards but really could say the same even if the level of discussion is higher here.

I get the attraction but unless you have to know instantly that something has happened reading Twitter is like listening to police radio. Anything important will get reported on later and you'll avoid a lot of static.

41 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

People need to re-watch the game and check out the Jacoby Jones return. The worst most impactful holding call miss I have ever seen. Doesn't matter though. 49ers made a ton of mistakes and now have more motivation than they needed for next year. Pretty impressive win by Bmore they beat a better team that outgained them by 100 yds always next year. The fact that Kaep is this good after 10games is pretty awesome. Anyone trying to draw conclusions about a guy through 10 games about his anticipation and ability to throw guys open is an idiot that is learned skill. Time to get ready for next year

47 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

If NFL games were officiated by supercomputers that could analyze every play in real time from 250 different camera angles, there would still be missed calls. There would still be complaints about players and coaches taking unfair advantage of loopholes in the system.
I'm perfectly happy to have a game played by fallible humans and officiated by fallible humans who are all doing the best they can. Bad calls are just a factor like bad weather and bad bounces on fumbles. Shit happens.

Besides, nobody noticed that Jerome Boger got the coin toss wrong? Baltimore won the toss and elected to defer. Boger announced, "San Francisco has won the toss and will receive." That should have told you what kind of game it was going to be.

50 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

I had too much socializing responsibility to watch the game as closely as I normally like, but my impression, like that which was mentioned above, is that both o-lines had outstanding games. Flacco and Boldin increased their earnings in their next contracts substantially. Koepernick looked like a very good qb who has started less than season's worth of games. The Niners lost the turnover contest decisively, gave up a 109 yard kickoff return, and still were a few yards away from taking the lead in the closing moments of the game. I think the play they didn't get off on 3rd down would have scored, although I have not watched it again.

Officiating appears so random in so many contests that, absent someone taking the time to use rewind to grade out officials in every contest, and sell it to the public (is there a market for this?), I just don't know what to make of it. I generally agree that the zebras were giving wide latitude in the interaction between receivers and dbs, except when they weren't, like when a pretty marginal call was made on the Niners. How often are obvious holds on return tds missed? I have no idea, but I wish I did.

It was a very close game, where any number of random events, or at least non-predictive events, if they are changed, would have reversed the outcome. The fact that a team with a lot more regular season losses (or much lower DVOA) won, is more indicative, I think, that these teams in the playoffs were substantially different from these teams in the regular season. How often have we seen a playoff team with 3 new starters on the o-line, from who started at those positions in the regular season? Justin Smith, the most important player for the Niners defense, or perhaps their whole team, became a different player when he tore his triceps in December. Injured players, who are still on the field, but not playing with nearly as much physical ability, is a big, but poorly understood, factor in elite athletic competition.

Happy to see Matt Birk get ultimate success, and unlike Ray Lewis, he appears to have substantial gas in the tank. It'll be interesting to see if keeps playing.

Didn't know the NFL had hired Clark Griswold to manage the electrical systems for the Super Bowl. Brilliant!

52 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

I don't know if the power outage helped the 49ers grab the mythical "momentum", but it did give them a 34-minute timeout that the coaches could use to figure out what was going wrong, esp. with their offense. It's clear that the offense was much better after the delay. Can we note that the extra time helped SF without needing to buy into "momentum"??

Of course, the oldsters on the Ravens' defense were quite happy for the resting time. They had time for the buffet at Sizzlers.

134 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

Except it wasn't really the Niners offense that got better, it was their defense.

It was the turnovers in the first half that killed them on offense they had drives of
3 for -2 punt (awful start to the game and that penalty on the first play was DUMB)
12 for 62 FG
5 for 55 Fumble (a bad decision by Kaep and the running back)
1 for 0 Int (another bad decision by Kaep)
8 for 71 FG

That isn't an offense that is really struggling, that is an offense that was moving the ball mostly at will, though failing to punch it in, and turning it over a couple of times on plays that were mostly the fault of the young quarterback. As I was watching the game it wasn't the Niners offense I was worried about, I figured they would get a few more scores in, they just had to figure out a way to stop Baltimore.

In the first half they gave up:
6 for 51 TD
9 for 36 Punt
10 for 75 TD
9 for 32 Downs
3 for 56 Touchdown

After half time (and the black out) they gave up
4 for 24 Punt
3 for -8 Punt
2 for 4 Fumble
12 for 71 FG
10 for 59 FG
4 for -5 Safety (probably shouldn't count Baltimore wasn't really trying to move the ball just run the clock)

So they got the stops they needed, and held a few times for FG. The offense looked pretty much the same to me after half, they just kept the ball and executed better to get the TD instead of the FG. The defense look better, though it still got burned a few times.

209 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

Right. While I usually disdain "momentum" nonsense, I would argue that the delay definitely hurt the Ravens. The Ravens had just gone up 22 points. It's the Super Bowl. You're not human if you don't pause to reflect on this during a half-hour delay: WE'RE GOING TO WIN...THIS IS AWESOME...I CAN'T WAIT TO PARTY...I WONDER IF BEYOUNCE IS STILL IN THE BUILDING...the mind is bound to wander and the intensity is likely to wane.

59 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

Danny is correct...the SB came down to one play. The missed holding call was basically binary with expected win percentage...SF probably 85% chance to win with the call and 98% to lose without it.

It was greco roman style hand pulling the jersey 7 yards down the field by Jimmy Smith. Non debatable. This wasn't hand fighting or anything like that. Blatant missed call (they called the SF corner for less a few minutes early) that DECIDED the SB. Anyone who argues otherwise is lost or dishonest (Mike Pereira who protects the institution).

Horrific analysis by Tom & Mike. They don't seem to get the point above.

66 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

Literally at that moment in the game the call determined the winner of the SB. They got it dead wrong...anyone who says it was 50/50 or who goes by the old school dogma that "you swallow the whistle" isn't being honest. I had no dog in fight (disgruntled Chargers fan), but this should be the lead story.

70 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

Well, long-time football fan and while I accept that your perspective is one held by many I don't agree. I didn't see anything there was screamed it was an 'obvious' call.

And as a Packer fan I get to see Sam Shields called for dpi when he's being thrown to the ground by the receiver.

67 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

This has been my perspective for years. Yes, in the heat of the moment, I get frustrated by refereeing decisions, but if you don't want to risk the game being decided by a refereeing decision, play better.

Failure to tackle Jacoby Jones (hurdling him instead of touching him down, seriously?) a bad fumble, a bad interception, and failure to cover Anquan Boldin all had more to do with the 49ers' loss than any refereeing decision.

72 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

But...given all those things they got to that one moment in time where a correct call changes football history. This is a huge the highest leverage moment the refs blew a call badly. Most teams can't overcome a 6 point officiating error in a razor tight league where points spreads are averaged at 3.5.

80 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

But...given all those things they got to that one moment in time where a correct call changes football history.

No, it doesn't. It gives San Francisco first and goal at the one, needing both to score a touchdown themselves and to prevent Baltimore driving for a field goal afterward. It may have led to a different outcome, but that wasn't guaranteed against a Baltimore defense which had stopped the 49ers on three plays immediately before.

Most teams can't overcome a 6 point officiating error in a razor tight league

Most teams can't overcome a 22 point deficit caused by them playing poorly throughout the first half of the biggest game of the season. If they hadn't played that poorly in the first half, they'd certainly have had a much better chance of not relying on a refereeing decision to keep them in the game.

92 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

It isn't rocket science to estimate win probability if they get that call correct. 1st and goal on the one there. Interested to see the in game math, but probably something like 75-80% SF if they call the obvious holding and 99% Baltimore if they don't. Of course other things can happen, but I doubt there is a higher leverage call in the history of the SB.

The fact that they missed other ones in game is BS. At this most vital moment they blew an obvious call. Crabtree had no chance to get into the designed play because he was manhandled with a fist full of jersey.

114 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

It's not BS that they missed other ones in game. They missed a blatant hold on the TE on Baltimore's 3rd and 1 at the 1 before a FG (LB is grabbing him and turning him by the waist).

The game was called consistently. Poorly, but consistently.

211 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

So it gets called and the 49ers get the FD on the 1 (or 2.5 if holding). Maybe they score immediately (or the Ravens allow them to, like in last yr SB). Then the Ravens have about 1:35 and 3 TO to get within range of a tying or winning FG (depending on whether the 49ers get the 2-pt). Not sure that's 75-80% for SF at that point, but I don't know the math either.

140 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

I actually thought it was a good non-call, since the ball was completely and utterly uncatchable anyway. We can debate the contact--both guys maintained it beyond five yards, Crabtree used an illegal hands-to-the-face to get away from an illegal uniform grab--but as someone who'd really like to see the return of "uncatchable ball" wiping out DPI-holding calls, I agreed with this one.

255 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

You are right, of course, but consider the case that San Francisco had won: Then you could just as easily find situations where the Ravens could have played better in order not to risk the game being decided by a refereeing decision - McKinnie's blown block, the fake FG, Ray Lewis not even touching Frank Gore who is passing by within breathing distance...

277 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

My point is that this invalidates the 'Just play better' argument.
It is perfectly valid to assume that the 49ers and the Ravens both tried to play better in order not to risk the referees deciding the game, with the result being that the referees played a role nevertheless.

74 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

I tend to think it should have been called, but, believe it or not, I'll take Cris Carter's opinion on the matter over your opinion, and I doubt that he is either lost or dishonest. I just heard him say that Crabtree ran a poor route, which greatly decreased the odds of the penalty being called.

78 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

I just heard that on replay and I think that's the dumbest commentary you can make (not yours, Carter's)

The ref isn't a WR coach, he's a ref and he's not qualified, nor should it matter, how bad the route is.

Does the DB have a fistful of jersey and is he preventing the player from making his break? Without a doubt he is...that's defensive holding.

88 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

Look, the guy has more knowledge and experience about how the interaction between receivers and dbs is refereed than you and I can imagine having. We have practically zero knowledge of route running, compared to him. It is really unfortunate that you would describe his description of how these things are normally called, and how the players affect the referee behavior, as "dumb".

94 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

So here is what I would ask Carter directly if given the chance (after I congratulated him on his well-deserved HOF nod):

"If you were the WR and the DB was playing you that way, would you have wanted and expected the call?"

You're a Vikes fan...what do you think his HONEST answer would be?

143 Re: Audibles at the Line: Super Bowl XLVII

You bring up an interesting point, because Michael Crabtree was the WR, and he didn't seem to expect a call. He didn't complain to the ref, mime a 'throw-the-flag' moment. I'm surprised that he didn't just based on how much NFL players complain to the ref, but Crabtree definitely did not act like he thought he was interfered with.