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06 Feb 2006

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 FOXSports.com, 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. Slate.com 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 profootballtalk.com, 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.

Posted by: admin on 06 Feb 2006

821 comments, Last at 06 Mar 2013, 10:22pm by adrianart.com


by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 6:52pm

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.

by Craigo (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 6:56pm

# 301 - And that's called a "strawman."

by Jim P (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:04pm

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.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:05pm

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.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:06pm

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.

by putnamp (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:06pm

#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.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:09pm

Israel: "post hoc ergo propter hoc"

by Todd S. (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:09pm

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

by john (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:09pm

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?

by Fnor (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:13pm

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.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:13pm

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!

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:14pm

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.

by Boots Day (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:15pm

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.

by footballlover (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:18pm

"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.

by Smeghead (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:19pm

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.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:20pm

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.

by thad (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:20pm

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.

by Craigo (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:21pm

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.

by Asterisk Boy (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:22pm

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.

by Craigo (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:26pm

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.

by Kal (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:28pm

#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?

by Kal (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:30pm

#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.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:30pm

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.

by DJAnyReason (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:32pm

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.

by JRoth (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:33pm

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.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:33pm

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.

by Craigo (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:35pm

# 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.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:36pm

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.

by Justus (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:36pm

#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.

by Kami (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:40pm

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.

by JRoth (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:42pm

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.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:42pm

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!

by Kal (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:51pm

#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.

by mcfly (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:51pm

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.

by Bracey (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:57pm

#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.

by CyberCowboy (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:58pm

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.

by NFC Central Freak (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 7:59pm

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.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 8:00pm

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.

by Mentos (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 8:03pm

This whole Super Bowl thing sucked.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 8:06pm

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.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 8:06pm

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

by JRoth (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 8:19pm

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.

by Keath (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 8:22pm

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.

by Keath (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 8:26pm

JRoth - who initiated contact? The defender.

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

by Glazius (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 8:26pm

#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.


by Mentos (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 8:30pm

Are refs tested for drug and alcohol abuse?

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 8:32pm

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.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 8:33pm

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.

by putnamp (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 8:38pm


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.

by Arkaein (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 8:40pm

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.

by Jeff (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 8:42pm

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.

by Countertorque (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 8:44pm

RE: #347 What was the definition of "troll" again?

by Flagstaff (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 8:48pm

#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 NFL.com 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.

by Loki9179 (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 8:48pm

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.

by kleph (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 8:53pm

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.

by Kal (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 8:54pm

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.

by J.S. (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 8:56pm

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.

by Mentos (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 8:56pm

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.

by Kal (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 8:57pm

#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.

by mcfly (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 8:58pm

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.

by Kal (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 8:58pm

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.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 9:01pm

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

by Flagstaff (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 9:12pm


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."

by Robert L. (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 9:14pm

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.

by putnamp (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 9:16pm

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.

by Flagstaff (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 9:16pm


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

by Jake Brake (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 9:18pm

#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%.

by Neptune1 (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 9:25pm

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.

by Flagstaff (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 9:25pm

#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.

by Mentos (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 9:32pm

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.

by Maven (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 9:34pm

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.

by SJM (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 9:35pm

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.

by Keath (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 9:44pm


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.

by Neptune1 (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 9:48pm

The discussion has devolved into pure idiocy. See post 373.

by NedNederlander (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 9:51pm

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.

by Kal (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 9:51pm

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?

by Smeghead (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 9:52pm

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.

by SJM (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 9:53pm

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?

by Smeghead (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 9:53pm

371: You forgot swagger.

by Keath (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 9:53pm

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.

by Keath (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 9:58pm

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?

by Flagstaff (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 9:59pm


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.

by Kal (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 10:04pm

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.

by Neptune1 (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 10:06pm

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

by SJM (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 10:08pm


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.

by Kal (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 10:09pm

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?

by MaxPower (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 10:09pm

"One for the snub!" Go Seahawks!

by Neptune1 (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 10:11pm

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.

by Keath (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 10:12pm

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?


by Neptune1 (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 10:14pm

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.

by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 10:15pm

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.

by Flagstaff (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 10:20pm

#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.

by Loki9179 (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 10:25pm

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.

by John Gach (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 10:33pm

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.

by Disappointed (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 10:33pm

#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.

by Jake Brake (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 10:35pm

#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.

by mcfly (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 10:39pm

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.

by putnamp (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 10:39pm

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.

by putnamp (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 10:46pm

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.

by mk (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 10:49pm

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.

by MaxPower (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 10:52pm

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.

by JACO (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 10:52pm

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.'

by mk (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 10:58pm

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.

by Paul (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 11:07pm

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.

by thad (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 11:10pm

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.

by Luke (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 11:20pm

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.

by Vash (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 11:23pm

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.

by L.D. Miller (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 11:23pm

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."

by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 11:26pm

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.

by CoreyG (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 11:27pm

#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.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 11:35pm

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.

by Mentos (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 11:37pm

"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.

by Cody (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 11:37pm

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.

by Rosencratz or Guildenstern (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 11:38pm

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?�

by OMO (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 11:40pm

(Humor Break)

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

(Continue ranting)

by mcfly (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 11:40pm

There is some analysis of the game at stillers.com (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.

by Rosencratz or Guildenstern (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 11:41pm

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

by Cody (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 11:41pm

I meant 399^^

by Kal (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 11:52pm

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.

by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 11:57pm

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.

by Josh (not verified) :: Mon, 02/06/2006 - 11:58pm

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!

by admin :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 12:00am

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.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 12:00am

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.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 12:01am

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.

by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 12:01am

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.

by Mikey (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 12:03am

“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 :)

by Arkaein (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 12:04am

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 forums.lasvegasadvisor.com 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.

by putnamp (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 12:08am


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".

by putnamp (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 12:08am

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.

by SunshineMan89 (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 12:11am

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.

by Kal (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 12:15am

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. :)

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 12:18am

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

by SJM (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 12:18am

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?

by SJM (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 12:21am

And Young Curmudgeon

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

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 12:27am

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!

by Vash (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 12:35am

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.

by calig23 (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 12:38am

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?

by Monty (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 12:56am

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.

by spatne (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 1:03am

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.

by jimmo (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 1:03am

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!

by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 1:04am

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.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 1:05am

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?

by DGL (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 1:21am

#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.

by Vash (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 1:21am

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

by CaffeineMan (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 1:26am

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.


by Vash (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 1:26am

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.

by Vash (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 1:28am

Alright. Found the time on the Jackson play.

To the Bat Cave!

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 1:29am

Right before the half, vash...

by mcfly (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 1:37am

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.

by Valaraukar (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 1:41am

Regarding whether Roethlisberger got the ball over the plane or not:

Big Ben Freeze Frame

by Arkaein (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 1:44am

Re 438: You're right in that the discussion of the actual gameplay is getting drowned out about discussion about the officiating. However you are 100% wrong about whether any or all of the discussed penalties could have had a serious impact on the game.

There are a few rules of thumb to consider when judging the impact of a single play on a game:

1. Magnitude - big plays like TDs longer than 5 yards, 20+ yard gains, and turnovers are relatively uncommon plays. Make the teams do over any such play and there's a good chance of a very different outcome.

2. Time in the game - people tend to concentrate mostly on plays near the end of close games, but in these games it's really the early plays that make the most difference. Think about it. A play it the beginning of a game will have some effect on every play run afterwards. The effect might be miniscule, but it might be huge (see Kimo vs Carson Palmer for details). Plays late in the game cannot affect earlier plays though.

3. Drive situation - A failed 3rd down conversion at your opponent's 25 yard line isn't much worse than one at their 10 yard line, both drives will likely end in a FG. This difference between the 25 and the 40 yard line though is the difference between a probably FG and a punt. A made 3rd down conversion anywhere on the field though might mean the difference between an extended drive ending on a TD and a punt from deep in a team's own territory.

Seattle was really hurt by penalties against them with criteria 1 and 2, and by non-calls in the Steelers favor by criteria 3. The Jackson PI took 4 points off the board; this is the most obvious example. Regardless of whether or not the call was right, it had an undeniable impact on the game.

On the other hand Seattle needed no help stalling drives at exactly the wrong time, but at least one non-call against the Steelers (Hines Ward pushing off while spinning away from a defender) was the difference between a punt and an eventual TD that gave Pitt it's first points and a 7-3 halftime lead and being shutout in the first half. Without that score Pitt likely never takes a lead of over one score, Seattle ends up running a more balanced attack, and the outcome could be very different.

As far as FO's matchup predictions, they were better than you give them credit for. They did shut down Pitt's running game except for a single play. They predicted a balanced and overall effective offensive attack by Seattle, which for the most part was correct. It would've been better if Stevens had caught a few more passes, but this was essentially unpredictable, and I never heard a single person picking Pitt to win citing Stevens' poor hands as a major liability.

by Stevie (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 1:51am

Wow 400 posts in and Im ready to offer my 2 cents. I was outraged watching the first half (Raiders fan). I watched Rothlisbergers TD replay 10 times and didnt see him get in once. Locklear didnt do anything wrong. What hardly seems to have been noticed is before the Hasselbeck INT the OLB was a step or two in the backfield before the ball was snapped. I dont want to get back into the car rolling down the hill thing again but would he have thrown that INT with the play blown dead? At the end of the day I ask myself would Joey Porter be crying like a little bitch if these calls went against his team? Win or lose he'd be screaming like a banshee about conspiracies, hate crimes anything. The NFL has a serious problem to fix.

by Arkaein (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 1:53am

Re 450, I wouldn't want to depend on that freeze frame as evidence in a court of law.

First of all it's so blurry there's no way to absolutely distinguish the ball from the LBs arm, hand, or whatever is in the frame. Second, nothing in that frame gives me any indication that Ben is holding firmly onto the ball at that point. I don't think anyone has disputed that for at least a moment Seattle's LB poked the ball enough to dislodge it, and if it was poked before breaking the plane and Ben only regained complete possession after it rolled back even an inch then it might not be a TD.

For what it's worth, my memory of the replays indicated that the furthest part of the ball was obscured by Ben's forearm and so was not captured by any camera angle, and that this farthest point almost certainly came down within an inch or two of the plane. The original call was basically a toss up, and there was not enough video evidence to overturn on replay either way.

by putnamp (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 1:54am

Is there an alternate FO where folks who don't want to dwell on this any longer can discuss football, or is this destined to be the next Brady/Manning like I said before?

I'd love to discuss what the performances in this game actually say about the players involved, for example, or what we're looking at down the road for both teams, who clearly both have major questions to answer in the coming offseason.

ESPN noted that every team that's lost the Super Bowl has suffered the following year. Will this be different, since Seattle played well enough to win, but made too many mental mistakes, and with more experience might come out a winner next year? Obviosly that depends what comes of their RB and LG free agent situations. Do the Steelers find themselves looking like Carolina if they lose ARE this offseason, or do they pick up another receiver who can compliment Ward succesfully?

I find this a lot more interesting than dwelling on this pseudo-philosophy business.

by JSR (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 2:01am

I've been thinking abou this for a while and, for what it's worth, here are my solutions to at least a few of the problems with the NFL today:

Abolish all holding penalties within five yards of the line of scrimmage. These are men, even warriors of a playful sort, who are kicking each other's asses up and down the field, hitting each other with hard points of contact such as shoulder pads and helmets, all of which are legal (except helmet-to-helmet, which is as it should be). And yet it's illegal to grab a little bit of jersey or pad to impede the progress of these 300+ pound behemoths. Nonsensical. If holding is really occurring on every play, maybe that's a sign the rule shouldn't be on the books, or should at least be modified some.

That, combined with the recent trend toward incredibly touchy enforcement of illegal contact five yards past the line of scrimmage are causing serious cognitive dissonance between certain aspects of how the game is played. The speed of the skill players at the corners of the offense almost guarantees that some contact is going to occur in battles for positioning, which becomes the crucial factor in making a play, and stringent application of rules on this matter are turning the receiving game into more of a track meet and less of a contest of opposed forces.

We have the electronic technology to indicate when a goal is scored or a line is crossed in such games as hockey and even tennis, why not football? What, is football turning into baseball with nonsense about "tradition" and "human error is part of the game"? Why would anyone reasonably want errors to be made in the judgments of the games? That's not even baseball, that's freaking figure skating.

Football is a game for violent men and I would like to see the NFL treat it as such. It also has all the funds necesary to access innovations that make for more accurate resolution of play. Maybe these proposed changes aren't the right ones, but something needs to be done because the quality of the product that the league has been putting out lately is just bad, and this "Super" Bowl is one of the more egregious examples of it.

by michael (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 2:08am

side note: did anybody see bradshaw on leno tonight? Was he totally plastered, or was it just me? I mean, he's insane on the fox show and his commericals, but the man sounded like he's been drinking Iron City for 24 hours straight.

by CoreyG (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 2:08am

I just watched the Ben goal line dive on Comcast's OnDemand (I'm not a shill) and the line judge ran in with one half of a TD signal. I don't know why he would do that, and I don't know where I imagined the 4th down closed fist sign. Unless the NFL edited the footage to remove any trace....just kidding...or am I?

by John (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 2:20am

Letterman asked Roethlisberger if he got the ball over the plane.

Roethlisberger: "No."

This was in all seriousness, folks.

by DGL (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 2:21am

367: "Haggans was a step over the line of scrimmage before the ball was snapped", and 452, "before the Hasselbeck INT the OLB was a step or two in the backfield before the ball was snapped."

Actually, no. I did the Tivo thing. Haggans starts moving five frames (1/6 of a second) before the ball moves. His hand appears to enter the neutral zone two frames (1/15 of a second) before the ball moves, but the rest of his body, his head, and both legs and feet are still behind the neutral zone when the ball moves. If the Line Judge had picked up Haggans' hand moving across the neutral zone 1/15 of a second before the snap, he could have called offsides (though the play wouldn't have been blown dead, because there was no encroachment nor was Haggans moving "unabated to the quarterback" before the ball was snapped). I'm no expert in human perceptive limits, but some quick google searches seem to indicate that 1/4 second is a reasonable "perception" time -- for the Line Judge to pick up that Haggans' hand was into the neutral zone 1/15 of a second before the ball was snapped sounds like a stretch. And by no stretch of the imagination was Haggans "a step over the line of scrimmage" or "a step or two in the backfield".

by DGL (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 2:25am

457: No, it's the same on my Tivo copy, recorded live. (Except it's the Head Linesman, not the Line Judge.) All I could figure was that he was pumping that left arm to run in fast, for some reason. Don't know why.

The first thing they teach you in umpire school is "Sell the call." And the HL didn't do a good job of selling the TD call.

by Joe (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 2:35am

Is it really possible that an entire crew of officials had a bad day, on the same day, with the result that nearly all
the bad calls went one way? Doubtful, given the inherent randomness in bad days.
It is much more likely something not so random. How about PAYBACK? Is not Mike
Holmgren the same coach who, earlier this, year got into some trouble with league officials for violating league policy regarding disclosure of talks about complaints about the Zebras?
I believe there was even brief mention
of Seattle losing their challenge privileges for a 2 week period.
Random or Payback? You decide.
The seeds for last nights almost criminal
display were planted back then, watered after Seattle beat Carolina, and came into full bloom in Super Bowl 40.
Simple message really; the league rules,
coaches coach, players play, fans pay.
Don't expect any real reforms, the NFL
loves the controversy. Don't expect the
Seahawks to complain loudly either.
Why do think they were looking for Mike
Holmgren after the game to shake hands
with Cowher? He ABSOLUTELY understood what had just transpired, and he knows darn well he'd better get back in line with the league if he wants a shot at ever winning again.
Anybody have a better explanation for the
palpable outrage across America, let's hear it.

by Flagstaff (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 2:45am

Comments started to make sense at about #400. (^:^)

#410 You say "#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."

Since I haven't yet covered up my tape of the game, I looked at it ten more times.

The play started with 2:00 to go. Ben R. hit the ground at 1:57. The official is straddling the goal line, watching the play, the best spot in the house to see it, only he doesn't have instant replay or a telephoto lens to help. At 1:57 he starts to run to the ball, immediately raising his right arm above his head on his first step (right foot first). His hand is NOT in a fist; his fingers are extended. His left arm is swinging for balance as he runs.

As he takes his fifth stride, he starts to raise his left arm as well. On step six, he has both arms overhead, signaling touchdown. It is now 1:55. Two seconds have elapsed since BR was down.

Nothing unusual in the play, it was just close. The official replays were inconclusive. I see why some people think they saw a fumble. If they did, it was after the ball crossed the plane, which it seemed to do while BR was still in the air, so a fumble would be irrelevant.

by jimmo (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 2:48am

454 putnamp, maybe you're still hanging around, but I'm with you.
first off, losing Randle-El, if it happens, probably won't be too big to Pitt; Wilson showed against Denver, and at times in SF, that he's a capable #2. Washington seems to be a gem-in-waiting too. As to the gadget plays, Ward can throw those! Maybe the bigger question is, how do they replace Whisenhunt if he leaves? (I suppose I should go over to the offseason thread, but oh well. How 'bout some football here?)
I'd worry about Seattle and the SB loser's curse, however. Hutchinson leaving would be a bigger blow than Alexander, and while the NFC West looks pretty weak again right now, unforseen events occur that damage a favorite every year. Not a very statistical analysis, I know. Its all I got right now...

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 2:54am

First of all it’s so blurry there’s no way to absolutely distinguish the ball from the LBs arm, hand, or whatever is in the frame.

It's not the ball that's circled in the photo. The ball is under his right arm - basically right under his chin in that photo.

The object circled is the LB's arm.

by Ferg (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 2:56am

Re 455: We have the electronic technology to indicate when a goal is scored or a line is crossed in such games as hockey and even tennis, why not football?

Because in football, the question is not whether the ball crosses the goal line. The question is whether the ball crosses the goal line before the runner is down.

(And determining the precise moment the runner is down electronically would be a complete mess, if you think about it.)

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 2:57am

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.

It's not. Clayton's the only one who ever mentions that as an example. All the rule changes elsewhere state that touching the pylon does not constitute going out of bounds.

The official wording (off of NFL.com) is "A player no longer can be ruled out of bounds when he touches a pylon unless he already touched the boundary line." Clayton's wrong, I'm sure of it.

by Cody (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 3:00am

But not all the calls did go one way. If you whine about the Jackson PI being too technical, then what about the near fumble by Hasselbeck? There was another live ball that Pitt had a shot at, and it was whistled dead. And the Seahawks did dodge some 50 penalty yards on a missed block in the back call. The outrage across America is seriously overhyped too. Nobody thinks it was a good game callwise. But not everyone in the whole world thinks the Hawks got robbed blind either. Plus, with a mostly unsatisfying game, no big story lines, it behooves the media to lock in on the good story. Anyone else remember SARS? Like 10 people died, far less than from the common cold in a year. Why so many headlines? Because it was a good story.

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 3:00am

and while the NFC West looks pretty weak again right now, unforseen events occur that damage a favorite every year. Not a very statistical analysis, I know. Its all I got right now…

Hey, you could just point to the NFC East from last year. Philly was the absolute unanimous favorite in 2005, and still...

Somehow I think that McNabb might be right - part of the problem is that if you get to a Super Bowl, everyone thinks they're stars. If you lose, everyone thinks someone else is the problem.

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 3:01am

Why so many headlines?

Because every international airport in the world had - and still has - warnings about it. Which would, incidentally, be the reason that it was controlled.

by JLM (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 3:02am

First, piss on all of your "logical fallacies" "straw man" et all! Whoever decided to share their pseudo-understanding of rhetoric and logic 101 has loosed a monster of great annoyance on the entire world wide web.

Second, I can tell you in one sentence how I know the officiating was complete crap yesterday: Everyone is talking about it.

by dutch (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 3:04am

Here is my 2 cents. How can you have a rule where a defensive back is not allowed to bump a receiver after 5 yards, and then not call a clear extension of a receivers arm into the chest of a defensive back while attempting to separate himself from coverage? The Ref made the correct call. Secondly, my understanding i that the nose of the football forward progress just needs to reach the white line before the elbow and or knee hit the ground. Having watchedthat a second time, that clearly happened. What am i missing? In terms of the holding calls, That is what happens when the other team is more physical.

by Vash (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 3:07am

Okay, I went through basically every big and/or controversial play in the game, then watched Letterman.

My observations:
1. Why did Seattle's drives repeatedly stall around midfield?
It seemed like just sloppy play. Pittsburgh played the same defensive sets, but they stopped the running plays, and Hasselbeck overthrew some passes and Stevens dropped one and was hit and dropped another.

2. Was it really offensive pass interference in the end zone?
I see no question after watching it again. Hope suddenly is forced to take two steps backward, away from the play, just as Jackson breaks on the ball. And yes, the official reached for the flag and missed it before Hope started complaining.

3. Was Pruitt really holding on the first punt return penalty?
Yes. It was not blatant, but it occurred less than three feet from the runner, where he would likely have been tackled had Pruitt not been holding.

4. Was Strong short of the 1st on the dump-off pass, and if so, why didn't he reach out?
He did indeed come up about a half-yard short (his knee hits when he is a half-yard short, and the rest of his body hits with the ball still about a foot short of the marker). Most likely, he didn't stretch the ball because he fell ball-hand-down (so he couldn't break his fall with his other hand and reach over the top).

5. Was Roethlisberger's touchdown really a touchdown? And why did the official hesitate and then signal touchdown?
Looking at it in TiVo super-slow-mo, the ball crossed the plane by several inches--it seems almost obvious.
It appeared the official signaled touchdown when Roethlisberger regained control of the ball over the goal line, although it's tough to tell because no angle shows both when Roethlisberger recovers the ball and when the official signals touchdown.

6. Did Jackson knock over the pylon?
There's no question he knocked over the pylon, but he knocked it into the field of play, which means he was on the out-of-bounds side of it. Then again, it may not matter whether he touched the pylon or not, since he only got one foot in bounds and last I checked, the pylon was no more a part of the ground than the referee's head is (see: Chris Simms interceptions). But there's still debate on that one. Anyway, he did hit the pylon with his second foot.

7. Observations on Parker's touchdown run:
LeRoy Hill came to the line with his body too low to the ground, allowing Faneca to just bury him by coming in slightly higher.
Seattle was in their nickel package to counter Pittsburgh's 3WR set.
Al Michaels immediately before the play: "Neither team is doing a lot on the ground."

8. Was Roethlisberger blocked in the back on the Herndon interception return?
Yes. LeRoy Hill blocked him in the back at the Pittsburgh 38, sending him flying. No penalty was called. (Herndon was tackled at the 20)

9. Was Sean Locklear holding Clark Haggans on the pass to Stevens on the one-yard-line? And was Haggans offsides?
Haggans got a great jump, and moved before the snap, but he didn't get any forward motion until the ball had been released toward Hasselbeck. Not offsides.
Haggans got outside Locklear, and Locklear appeared to attempt to tackle Haggans, but he missed and fell in the direction of the backfield. He did, however, get a hand around Haggans' shoulder and grab his jersey from directly behind him, which slowed Haggans' progress. Haggans ended the play about 2 yards from Hasselbeck. Conclusion: It's a hold, and if Locklear doesn't hold him, that play likely ends in a sack.

10. Thought on the El to Ward reverse pass:
That blocking was sweet. Pittsburgh had all its blockers left, so Seattle was surprised when Randle El took the handoff right--away from the blockers. Because of that, Seattle defenders scrambled to get back to the right and stop Randle El, who simply pulled up and threw a beautiful pass. Key: Every man on the right side of the Pittsburgh line made a successful block. Every one. Nobody got close to Randle El when he was rolling out to pass.

11. Did Jeff Hartings hold Craig Terrill on Roethlisberger's third-down draw?
No. Terrill was double-teamed by Hartings and Faneca, and even when Faneca peeled off to block elsewhere, Hartings stayed in front of Terrill for the entire play. Both Hartings and Terrill were being grabby, but there was no hold that kept Terrill from getting past Hartings. It was a clean, solid block.

12. Was McFadden interfering on the late first-quarter pass to Hackett in the end zone?
Inconclusive. There was some contact, but it did not appear to affect Hackett's attempt on the ball--his path didn't change, and he wasn't pulled down; he just was too early with his jump and was falling downward as he tried to catch the ball. It hit him right in the hands. He should have caught it.

13. Was Ward holding on the Roethlisberger scramble to the right?
Yes. The defender got inside Ward and may have had a shot at Roethlisberger had Ward not grabbed him by the shoulder pad.

14. Does Ben Roethlisberger look better without that ridiculous beard?
Yes. I mean, if you couldn't tell that from the phrasing of the question, shame on you.

by Kal (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 3:09am

But not all the calls did go one way. If you whine about the Jackson PI being too technical, then what about the near fumble by Hasselbeck? Uh, that call did go against the Seahawks initially, and had to be challenged to be overturned. It was overturned because there was clear evidence - but the call initially went against the Seahawks.

The missed block in the back really wasn't. The blocker had one hand on the front of Ben's shoulder. By rule, that's enough to make it okay as long as that was the first contacting hand, and it was. That was one they got right. And by the way - poor Bernard, who was trying to run down the field with the convoy and ended up pulling his hamstring. It looked really painful.

How I knew it was a big deal - because before we got the media commentary, we got fan commentary. There was not a single message board I could go to where there was huge outrage. Not a one. At the party we were pissed about the calls, but we thought it was a Seattle thing - and then I got home and checked out the web. It's not just a story on the eve of 'not a lot of stories'. It's the capstone of a very poor season of refereeing, where if anything the calls became worse and worse as the season went on, culminating in this. Remember the screwjobs that NO got two weeks in a row? Things like that.

by jimmo (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 3:12am

468, yeah Pat, I didn't want to specifically mention the Eagles in deference to the many fans around here! But seriously, I'm not imagining anything totally derailing Seattle next year, even though history tells us to beware. What with the WR injuries, the Hamlin and Locklear off-field incidents, rookies playing key roles on D, Rhodes' stroke... man they played through a bunch of adversity this year and managed pretty well.

by Vash (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 3:13am

458: He asked Roethlisberger if he thought at the time he had gotten the ball over the plane, and Roethlisberger said no.
All that means is that Roethlisberger was unsure at the time of the play.

It certainly looked like the ball was several inches over. Upon replaying the slow-motion replay in slow-mo (double slowness!), it appears the ball makes it well over the goal line.
I did not use the screenshot in (450) to come to this conclusion, but in my opinion, he's right. That is the ball he has circled.

by Flagstaff (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 3:14am


The object that's circled is BR's arm. You can't see the ball is correct.

by Kal (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 3:15am

So Vash, I presume you were watching it in HD? I spent a few minutes checking out the Ben TD in HD over and over, and it was not even close to being clearly obvious to me. Certainly not by several inches. The only way I could decide for sure would be to cut open Ben's arm and see whether the part of the ball he's holding crosses the line.

The hold...sorry. It's not a hold, at least not in that game. You see Locklear and Faneca both doing that throughout the game.

Another great noncall that I missed was the play right before the Stevens TD pass. Stevens goes out into the pattern, gets bumped hard at 7 yards and then gets held by Polamalu at 8 yards. And then the ball richochets off his helmet.

Finally, on the PI call - so you reviewed it, right? From both angles? Did you see all the contact beforehand, the pattycake deal, and more importantly did you see the DB actually go into DJac first? It's not a question of whether it was technically OPI. It's a question of whether it gets called. As an example - the other OPI that got called this game was on Heath Miller, who actually went downfield 7 yards and started blocking someone. That's usually what OPI takes as far as being called.

by Vash (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 3:15am

473: Hm. He definitely puts one hand on the side of Roethlisberger's shoulder, so if that makes it a legal block, my mistake. Thanks for the clarification.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 3:20am

I thought the Quick Read threads was for the football discussion, and this thread was for the officiating discussion.

Re: 462
It's pretty unusual for the umpire to run with one hand in the air... then bring the other up to signal touchdown. Most of the time if they are not sure they will run out without making any signal at all.

There is some hypocrisy from the Steeler fans, in regards to the Roethelisberger TD and both Haggans offsides. One official is able to discern that the ball was over the plane of the goal for a short time, by slowing down the slowmotion while another official wasn't able to discern that Haggans was offside. The same thing with the timeout when the clock was 00.

They are very hard and very close calls to make... but I think there is some luck involved in making the correct call and I still have my doubts about all of them.

by Flagstaff (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 3:22am

#472 Vash

Good work. But #8 is off. Ben was blocked by #94, Bryce Fisher. In the back.

by Vash (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 3:25am

477: Yes, I was watching it in HD. It seemed like Ben had at least a few inches. "Several" in my post meant "about three".

Hm, consistency issues? I didn't have time to re-watch the entire game just to look at the offensive lines, so I can't really comment on that. But Locklear was clearly attempting to tackle Haggans, and he grabbed him around the shoulder from almost directly behind him.

I didn't see the Stevens play. Wasn't looking at it.

As far as the Jackson interference goes, there was some slight contact beforehand, but it seemed to be before the ball was in the air and neither player was really knocked off-course. What do you mean by Hope "go[ing] into" Jackson? I don't see anything other than some hand-slapping before the ball is thrown, and Hope leaning in as if to start going for the ball and then being pushed backward.

by Vash (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 3:28am

480: My bad, I transfered the number (56) from another of my notes by mistake.

By the way, of all my observations, the one thing I am completely, 100% sure about is that Haggans was not offsides on the Locklear play. Every other play, except the dumpoff to Strong, is to some extent open to interpretation by the officials.

by J (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 3:45am

Pushing 500 comments...400 or so on the officials.

To me, if after 400 comments have been debated (blow-up pictures, watching replays in ultra slow motion, stating different rules) and there still seems to be NO consensus - not on any of the questionalbe calls; how were the refs suppose to make any different calls?

Were there some questionalbe calls? YES

Did all these calls go against Seattle? YES

Were any of the questionable calls so clear the NFL will apologize (like Troy no-INT)? NO....we here, after 400 comments, have proven none of the calls were that clear.


by Jake Brake (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 3:47am

Vash, great job with #472 - I think you have a future as a replay official at minimum. You managed to explain how every major call or non-call that went against the Seahawks was the proper one (except for one relatively meaningless one at the end, so nobody could accuse you of, you know, complete bias.) You checked the plays yourself with a Tivo. That has to be the last word.

That post was a remarkably accurate portrayal of the joke that NFL officiating has become, only in convenient message board form. Please stop trying to pretend like you're being objective on this issue. It ruins the good points you make about the parts of the game that the officials weren't involved in.

by Jake (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 3:49am

It’s not a question of whether it was technically OPI. It’s a question of whether it gets called.
The refs were calling it tight in the first quarter; this was the fifth penalty of the game. It happened about five feet in front of the ref, to the point where he couldn't not see it. And before the incident, the receiver and the DB were standing next to each other, after the incident the DB was moving back one way, the receivers arm was fully extended, and he was moving the other way and catching the ball.
Maybe the DB did a good job of selling "being shoved" to the ref, but claiming "that happens on every play" or "9 times out of 10 that doesn't get called" is just wishful thinking.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 3:55am

The desperation with which people maintain that the call on Locklear was consistent with how the rule is normally called is fascinating. I would advise a click to the link above to Stillers.com for non-homer analysis by a Steelers fan. Still man writes:

"Holding on Clark Hagg by the RT, Sean Locklear, on a reception by Stevens that would have given Seattle 1st & goal at the Stiller 1 in the 4Q. An absolutely horrendous ghost of a call. There was absolutely no holding on this play whatsoever. This exact type of block is performed at least 29 times in every NFL game and is never flagged, as the arm of Locklear was not impeding Haggans in any way."

That pretty much sums it up. But whatever. As I wrote above it wasn't the key reason for the outcome; that honor has to be given to Boulware's miscues, with a nice assist from Stevens. The call just irritated me most because it wrongly deprived everybody watching of a far more enetertaining finish.

by Flagstaff (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 4:07am

#485 Jake,

I think this is my last entry. I have a theory about how to look at these close calls.

If it's a reviewable play, it's OK to consider the slo-motion replay when trying to decide if the refs blew it or not. Thus, the TDs, called or not, are fair game for Slo-mo. So are in- or out-of-bounds plays. And coaches should challenge if they feel like it.

But for non-reviewable plays, just try to decide based on game-speed action. The OPI call against Jackson was non-reviewable, and at game speed it really did look like OPI, with all that went before looking like incidental contact.

Calling Ben's TD just that was fair in real life. Calling it short would have been OK, too. I still don't think the replay was conclusive, either way, because I've changed my mind twice on it.

TD or not TD, that is the question.

We all need to remember that replay challenges were created, not to get EVERYTHING exactly right, but to correct the egregious errors that everyone can see live in their living rooms.

by Kal (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 4:42am

In non-slo-mo, most of the plays don't even warrant a second look. But whatever.

Holmgren called out the refs at the homecoming thing, which means he's going to get fined for it. I suspect the Total Access on Wed will be the highest-rated TA ever.

by bob (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 5:38am

everyone knows the refs sucked, and jeremy stevens sucked. but we should also be paying attention to just how bad cheeseburger was. yah yah he scrambled, that doesn't overcome a 21 or whatever qb rating, he looked like jake plummer, completely incapable of completing passes from inside the pocket. Had seattles defense been more talented I imagine we woulda seen afc champ game 2.0.

by skins fan (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 6:35am

I CAN'T BELIEVE all the complaining about the officials when the real story was really Big Ben - Yes aaron - definite potential for the HOF. when steelers were lost at sea in the first half, BIG BEN was THE MAN and stood up. No other Steeler did - Big Ben DID!! and WHEN IT MATTERED, he took the game to the seahawkes with 4 or 5 3rd down conversions IN A ROW. The 3rd and 27 was HUGE!! yes folks he did ALL OF THESE BY HIMSELF and wrestled back momentum. sport is ALL ABOUT MOMENTUM.what about his other magnificent plays, the 10 yard underarm overhand flick for another crucial completion and more MOMENTUM, the run and shoulder drive that poleaxed that seahawkes linebacker for another first down - more MOMENTUM, even the 76 yard interception - he put his body on the line as the last defender. oh yeah, he's only 23 !!!! a true NATURAL BORN LEADER and WINNER, no matter how he played, he adapted his play that brought TEAM CONFIDENCE and THAT's WHAT WON THE SB!!

by Kal (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 7:42am

I like the lack of mention of Big Ben throwing his second interception and almost singlehandedly changing the momentum of the game after driving down to the 8 yard line. Yeah, Ben was certainly about momentum, but I'm not sure that this is the sort of momentum that you want a player to have.

After that second INT, was he even allowed to throw the ball much?

by Matt Weiner (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 8:01am

I can't tell if 490 is supposed to be a parody of the momentum-swagger-great man theory of football that this site is designed to overturn. Sign that it's meant seriously: It didn't use the zlionsfan format (MOMENTUM is way better than DVOA). Sign that it isn't meant seriously: The poster's handle.

Anyway, I wish we had more discussion of the game and less of the officiating, but Ben wasn't the story.

by Robert L. (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 10:01am

What really becomes obvious in reading posts blaming bad officiating or isolated bad breaks or big plays for winning and losing is this: the majority of sports fans don't watch a game. We watch only a game's highlights. We ignore the cumulative and focus only on the dramatic. We think the story of a game lies only in the touchdown plays, big penalties, and turnovers. We believe teams win or lose because of "those awful calls" or "that dumb interception". It seems to be too unsatisfying for us to accept that the nature of football, and all sports, is that a game is won or lost based on a mind-boggling number of factors, everything from the well-rehearsed execution of the running game to the precision of a 2nd quarter long snap to the random bounce of the ball on a fumble. I suppose it's far easier to believe that victory or defeat is caused by acts of God, biased referees, and dramatic plays that make up one or two percent of an entire game. It's just not very intelligent.

by I am the Walrus (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 10:16am

Holmgren (grinning)- "I didn't know we were going to have to play the guys in the striped shirts as well."
People of Seattle- "Yeeeeaaaah"

Well done Mike, forget all the people who'll criticize you for being a sore loser. Being a sore loser is fun!

by Bongo Bob (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 10:18am

After this ABORTION of a superbowl, i think you people who bitch about the patriots winning championships can now appreciate the pats a little more. At least with the pats in the big game, you're guaranteed an exciting game.

To sum up superbowl 40:

Horrible game
Horrible officiating
Horrible commercials
Horrible halftime show
Horrible Pittsburgh fans dominating ford field (thanks for the boos you classless jerks!)

A complete waste of time.

by Queequeg (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 10:32am

Concerning the actual football.
I think one way in which the FO analysis didn’t accurately predict the nature of the game was in the emphasis Seattle would have in passing to Tight Ends. I think Holmgren genuinely saw the Steelers defense in this area as a weakness they could exploit. According to FO the Steelers are quite good at defending TEs, 11th in the NFL with a DVOA of –10.2%. But Seattle wanted to attack them here by continuing to throw to Stevens, who was the 5th best rated TE with a DPAR of 16.6 and had caught 66% of passes thrown to him, and then by using blocking TE Hannam in the attack, who had managed only 89 yards all season (DPAR of 0.0 and DVOA of –12%), to get 12 yards in two receptions. If Stevens hadn’t of buttered up his hands before the game Holmgren’s tactic of attacking the Steelers in this area would have been quite successful and therefore I don’t think he deserves blame for being tactically poor in this specific area.

by Queequeg (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 10:34am

Sorry for writing, "hadn't of", it is a horrible turn of phrase.

by Thoreau (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 11:06am

Thanks for the insight, Bongo. The vitriol and occasional trollage (*even from normally intelligent posters) surrounding this SB suggest to me that the message boards on this site have reached the point where there should be some sort of registration process to minimize the idiots.

Forcing people to spend 5 minutes registering (and perhaps disclosing favourite team as part of that process)would likely prove sufficient to deter most of the Neanderthal fanboy posters. Requiring a modest donation to the site as part of the process is something I and I suspect many of the posters more regular than myself would be willing to live with, while simulatenously helping the FO lads to move the site forwards even more. Moreover, it would surely deter the fanboys attracted from Fox from 'pulling an Atlanta fans.'

The basball equivalent of this site, baseballprimer.com, was forced to move to a registration format a couple of years ago.

A modest majority of the posts on the SB thread and here have been thoughful and reasonable, it seems to me. However, there HAVE been accusations of a refereeing conspiracy (morganja being a prime example) as well as of blantant Steeler fan homerism (an overexuberant Adam comes to mind.)

I haven't seen many posters of reasonable intelligence and good will dispute that there were some questionable calls; rather, the dispute has been over the DEGREE to which they are questionable.

Steeler fans such as Vash have attempted in good faith to presernt their side of the argument; naturally, we must acknowledge that these views are coloured by the prism of Steeler homerism.

By the same token, the argument that 'most neutrals thought that calls x,y, and z were wrong, ergo they were', while carrrying some moral suasion, do not provide an airtight argument that the refs' judgement calls were definitely incorrect. I imagine that virtually all fans viewed the Locklear hold/phantom hold through the one replay angle that ABC deigned to provide. Perhaps another angle would provide justification for the flag; perhaps it would provide more compelling evidence that it was a boner. I'd suggest that in the absence of corroboratory evidence, it is impossible to say for sure.

It's a shame that this SB suffered from subpar performances from most of the participants, but I do find it interesting that it is now the second highest rated television show in American hisotry. No accounting foir taste, I suppose.

In any event, this was neither the worst referring display in history, nor was it the biggest sporting event of the year. If you really want a conspiracy theory, go back and look at the refereeing in (host nation) South Korea's 2002 World Cup matches with Italy and Spain. And don't be surprised if a poor Germany team receives a 'Victory' style refereeing escort to at least the WC semifinals this summer....

by JSG (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 11:20am

Seattle lost cause the Steelers were better. football is a game of ebb and flow. good teams overcome adversity and make plays. The Steelers did, Seattle could not.

Did the refs mismanage the clock at the end of the 1st an 2nd halves? Did the Steelers fold when an offensive PI call went against them in Seattle territoy (end of 2nd Qtr)? No, they came back and completed a 3rd & forever pass to Hines Ward to the 1. They overcame mistakes. That's what champions do.

Seattle did a great job moving the ball between the 20s, but last I checked this isn't fantasy football and points are scored by getting in the endzone. The Steelers found a way to do that in spite of penalties and errors - Seattle couldn't.

Finally, even though Seattle dominated the stats, again this isn't fantasy football and stats don't count. How many times is it said that football games come down to a handful of plays at crtitcal times. The Steelers made more plays at crucial times than Seattle. Period. They are deserving champions who just completed a historic post season. Congrats!!!

by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 11:52am

Why it is tough to repeat: Pittsburgh's schedule will have games against Denver, KC, SD, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Jacksonville, Miami, Atlanta, and, of course, two against Cincinnati and Baltimore. The Steelers could play very good football and still lose 6 or 8 of those games; of course, upsets by rival
Cleveland, unpredictable Oakland, etc. are also possible. This is listed on the SI website as the fifth toughest schedule based on this season's W-L records, and it looks pretty tough to me--of course, they just won the Super Bowl, they should face a tough schedule; I'm by no means whining. I'm just saying that this is a good illustration of how hard it is to repeat, and gives me an additional reason (as a Steeler fan) to give grudging admiration to the accomplishment of the Patriots over the past few years.

by vin (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 11:58am

JSG, I can't agree with you more. You play to win the game and at the end of the game, the only stat that matters is the number of points on the board. If it was about stats, we should have just given Peyton Manning the Lombardi trophy instead of wasting time with the playoffs. Heard Ron Jaworski say that the best team did not win the Super Bowl and that the Colts were the best team. What a shame, the best team didn't even show up in the conference championship. How about we do away with the playoffs and just go with the BCS to determine the best NFL team.

by Bowman (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 12:03pm

#500 - Are you saying that JAX amd MIA will be tougher games than IND and NE?

Usually the argument for "it's tough to repeat" comes from the 2 "float" games going to the #1 teams in the off division. As PIT finished 2nd in their division, they get to face the #2 teams.

However, I will be upset if PIT/JAX isn't on national television again - they are similar teams who play each other well (but one has a significantly better backup QB...)

by HowAboutThat (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 12:18pm

So, the back judge (Bob Wagner) who called the OPI is a Pittsburgh native.



by black (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 12:34pm

Ok, lets get something straight right now, the steelers "overcoming" one of the worst calls in history. If I remember correctly, the Steelers were winning right? What exactly did they overcome?

by JSG (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 12:39pm

504, That interception in the Colts game would have all but iced it for Pittsburgh. They would have had the ball in Colts territory with about 4 minutes left. Who knows what could have happened, but one of the best quotes in sprorts is "what could have happened, DID".

Anyway they didn't crumble when the refs blew the call they marched on the field and dealt with it. That is the mark of a champion football team. Never give up, stay tough, and keep fighting. They did that in the Super Bowl and it was enough to win the game.

by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 12:49pm

Re 503: And not only that, but the field judge is married to Bill Cowher's second cousin. And the head linesman is secretly in the employ of the Rooney family as a hit man in their struggles with the Gambinos and the Corleones for control of the western Pennsylvania rackets. And the referee is a practicing Druid who worships trees, and everyone knows that "Pennsylvania" is translated as "Penn's Woods" and woods are full of trees. And the umpire has a grassy knoll in his backyard from which much of the evidence shows that a second flag was thrown...

I mean, come on.

by The Other Vlad (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 12:55pm

Baseball Primer was better before registration.

The amount of whining over what are essentially flip-of-the-coin judgment calls is crazy to me.

by goathead (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 1:05pm

Shocked to look here & see this many posts! Guess people are all wound up since neither team played anything like superbowl champs (but either team could have). Seattle reminds me of Oakland in the tuck game - no call as egregiously bad as the tuck call, but they got the short end of several iffy ones. In the end they can't blame the officials, they still needed to fasten their chinsraps and go out onto the field and win the game - and they couldn't.

I do object a bit to people saying the officials robbed us of what could have been a good game. The players managed to accomplish that by themselves.

by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 1:13pm

I don't think this Super Bowl had that many questionable calls (was within the variance of past seasons), but the fact that all of them happened to fall in such decisive situations has highlighted them.

by Thoreau (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 1:33pm


The difference between this site and primer, of course, is that a) primer doesn't have a 'feeder site' directing fanboys to it, and b) at least all the marathon, irrational arguments are about football rather than politics. I suspect, therefore, that a registration/subscription strategy, particularly one wherein posters/members had to declare their allegiance upfront, would lead to a more informed and, dare I hope, more civil debate. If someone is willing to plunk down $10 just to post a troll comment; well, at least you know they put their money where their mouths are.

by mattfwood (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 1:36pm

Did Aaron ask way above in this thread how Steeler fans got all of those tickets? Here is a hint: THEY BOUGHT THEM.

Maybe people would prefer that the NFL enforce something like the Colts letter to their fans -- no tickets should be sold to Steeler fans willing pay the asking price for them, because it is just unfair to the other 31 teams for the Steelers to have such loyal, borderline crazy fans like me.

Or maybe Aaron is right -- not only the game was fixed, but the ticket pool was too!

by Monty (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 1:49pm

Re:451. We simply disagree. Where is the validation for your "rules of thumb"? What analysis supports these assertions, about timimg, yard length etc. other than a childish wish for the good fairy to make Seattle's boo-boos all better? I read this site to see analysis, not wishful thinking, at least from the FO guys.

Also, you wrote "However you are 100% wrong about whether any or all of the discussed penalties could have had a serious impact on the game." I never said that, I said there is no way of knowing if the calls would have changed the "ultimate outcome" i.e. Pitt winning, of the game. There is no way to know that, so all this boo-hooing is fruitless. Score might have been 76-77 in triple overtime if calls were different, who knows. Please get your analyst hat on straight, nothing is 100% certain, death and taxes aside.

And FO's predictions were off, you again misread my post. FO, for example, predicted no long runs -- Parker busted the longest in SB history. And the suggestions you do make, that Seattle had a balanced and effective offense are wrong, 10 points and they went heavy on passing. Pitt iced the game by running effectively in the 4th quarter, no shut-down there, so they blew it. All I'm asking is an examination of where DVOA/FO analysis fell short. I still think this site is the last, best hope for intelligent discussion of NFL stats, but the defensiveness exhibited makes me more pessimistic than I was before. I have seen some discussion of factoring penalties into DVOA, has there been any serious thought about this?

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 2:02pm

I'd like to put a post-script up on the pylon rule.

I caught Clayton's "Inside the Huddle" segment on Mike and Mike in the morning. When discussing the officiating Clayton mentioned in passing that perhaps it was a touchdown. If John Clayton is unsure of the rule, than I think none of us can positvely say one way or the other.

Regardless, both Hasselbeck and Jackson were begging for another look from the replay official, and this is the type of play that should've been reviewed.

Looking back, I think this was a good game, but we may have been robbed froma great game. From the time Roethelisberger was picked by Herndon up until the Ward TD it was a great game.

Had Seattle gotten the TD and went up by 3, it would've been a great game and we wouldn't be talking about the officiating. Had Roethelisberger converted points on the interception drive, we wouldn't be talked about the officiating.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 2:05pm

493, I think you underestimate the degree to which this game was an outlier, in terms of a playoff game which was decided on a very small number of plays. It is just a hunch on my part, and I haven't done the research, but I think it likely that the percentage of playoff games in which the winning team gained nearly 50% of their yardage on three plays is quite small. The percentage of playoff games in which this has happened, while the winning team also lost the turnover battle, and failed to score a touchdown on special teams, or have a long return into the opponent's territory on special teams, is even smaller. The percentage of playoff games in which all of the above has happened, while the losing team had a 75 yard interception return, is smaller still. The percentage of playoff games in which all of the above has occurred, while the final margin was 11 points, is likely so small that it isn't worth measuring.

It was a very, very, strange game, in many respects. Many of the people who layed the points and took the Steelers are no doubt congratulating themselves on their penetrating insights. Those with a clue know they were damned fortunate, even without the officiating largely going one way.

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 2:09pm

Regardless, both Hasselbeck and Jackson were begging for another look from the replay official, and this is the type of play that should’ve been reviewed.

Not if the officials know the rule better than Clayton. That's my point - if they know that "two feet down, no matter what" is the rule, then that play was cut and dried, no problem. The only ambiguity we have is because Clayton put that comment in there about that rule change which is echoed nowhere else.

This is an "Ask Jerry Markbreit" question: a place where the refs likely understand the rules perfectly fine.

by MRH (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 2:19pm

The pylon call: I'll go back to my point in #259:
The web sites of MLB, NBA, and NHL all provide links to their entire rulebooks. Only the NFL provides just a digest which it states:

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

Unfortunately, this is not provided. Why?

We're discussing what the rules are using rule extracts, a HS officials website, and a couple of year old article by John Clayton, waiting for clarification on Total Access. Why is it so damn hard for the NFL to put the complete rules up on their website?

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 2:20pm

Monty, I think you need to reflect on the difference between assertions related to probabilities, and assertions of 100% certainties. The fact that Boulware made a miserable play on one dive play does not mean that the DVOA method has fatal flaws.

No, it isn't perfected, but even if it ever is, or even ever comes close to perfection, the best it will ever be able to do is to allow the user to make the statement, "It can be stated with xx% confidence that Team A will beat Team B", or "There is a xx% probability that Team A will have a run of more than 25 yards." Randomness will never be eliminated, so statements of 100% certainty will be never be possible. That doesn't negate the value of a qunatitative method of analysis.

by mattfwood (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 2:20pm

Re: 495

What a joke you are too. (Nice abortion reference as well. Really classy. Really shows that "Bongo Bob" has his priorities straight.)

The Patriots guarantee exciting Super Bowls how exactly? By not winning by as large a margin? I know that Pats fans are thanking their lucky stars that they didn't get win those games by more points, because that would have robbed them of the field goal memories.

And "classless jerks" booing Tom Brady and Deion Branch? Imagine if at the Red Sox world series, they decided to bring out Derek Jeter to throw out the first pitch. I know what those classy Boston fans would have done -- politely applauded and shown the proper respect for Mr. October. In fact, I am sure of it.

by Steve Maloney (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 2:23pm

Re: Aaron's comment about the egregious officiating; among his list, he mentioned "Roethlisberger’s Delay of Game where they gave him a timeout after the clock hit zero." In the SB and many of the playoff games I watched this year, I saw several instances in which the playclock definitely appeared to hit double zero before the ball was snapped, but no penalty was called. I saw this happen twice in Seattle's favor on Sunday, when it was obvious that Hassleback didn't snap the ball in time. I'm not sure if the playclock they show on the tv screen is exactly in sync with the playfield clock the officials are viewing, but did anyone else notice this in the SB & playoffs?
PS re: #455. In England (or perhaps it's with FIFA?), they've successfully experimented with putting sensors in the balls and the goallines so that it can be determined electronically when the ball has crossed the line. Not sure if the same technology could be done in football. But having official cameras placed exactly along the goalline plane would seem a sensible thing to do.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 2:35pm

If it wasn't within 2:00 of the end of the half do you think Mike Holmgren is going to throw the challenge flag?

You never know what the replay could show, and the worst that happens is Leavy goes under the hood for 30 seconds, and the NFL gains credibility.

by The Other Vlad (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 2:39pm

I like this site, but not enough to pay for it. If TPTB decide to go to a subscription-based model (as is their right, if they so choose), FO will go right next to BPro and Rotowire on my list of sites I don't read anymore.

It'd be good for screening out trolls, but there would also be a tendency to create something of a walled garden, opinion-wise.

by Erik Heter (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 2:44pm

More people need to be aware of this regarding the official, Bob Waggoner, who threw the flag for the PI in the end zone:

"Only a fool would suggest that Waggoner, ***a Pittsburgh native***, was scoring one for the home team."


If this is true that Waggoner is a Pittsburgh native, it raises this whole issue of bad officiating to another level.

Please pass this info around.

by mawbrew (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 2:46pm

Re: 519

Yeah, it seems to me that enforcement of the play clock expiring isn't real tight. That is, it's uncommon for a the flag/whistle to occur the instant the clock hits zero (at least when a snap seems immenent).

Of course, it's also pretty uncommon, IMO, to see OPI called for the type of contact between Jackson and the Steeler DB.

by Phil (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 2:47pm

Re: #504
Not only did the Steelers overcome the worst replay overturn in the history of the NFL, but they also overcame an (almost) fatal foot shooting with the Bettis fumble. It's impossible to overemphasize how important the Roethlisberger tackle was (though I certainly didn't realize it at the time). McFadden breaking up the TD pass to Reggie Wayne in the end zone was huge. The fact that the Steelers D held Manning and Co. to a 47-48 yard field goal attempt was also huge. It's not our fault that Vanderchoke missed the attempt. If the Colts were the best NFL team this year (according to Jaws) they would have done more with their opportunities. But they weren't that good when it counted. Ditto for the Seahawks. If they want to impress me, they'll absorb this lesson and get back to the SB next year.

by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 2:53pm

Re 522--I'm reposting this: And not only that, but the field judge is married to Bill Cowher’s second cousin. And the head linesman is secretly in the employ of the Rooney family as a hit man in their struggles with the Gambinos and the Corleones for control of the western Pennsylvania rackets. And the referee is a practicing Druid who worships trees, and everyone knows that “Pennsylvania� is translated as “Penn’s Woods� and woods are full of trees. And the umpire has a grassy knoll in his backyard from which much of the evidence shows that a second flag was thrown…

I mean, come on.

by steve (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 2:53pm

ANYONE who honestly believes that the officiating didn't cost the Seahawks the game, was certainly under the influence of something a lot stronger than a few Buds!!

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 2:56pm

If it wasn’t within 2:00 of the end of the half do you think Mike Holmgren is going to throw the challenge flag?

Yes, but Bill Belichick once threw a challenge flag for no reason other than he was pissed off.

Coaches don't always challenge things because they're close - sometimes they just do because they can't believe that's what happened. Replay officials, however, only challenge things when they're close. And if the rule is "two feet, and that's it", that play wasn't even close.

If this is true that Waggoner is a Pittsburgh native, it raises this whole issue of bad officiating to another level.

Oh, for crying out loud. C'mon. The OPI in the end zone was real. Find a clip, watch it again. It's obvious. He pushed off. It's not little. He never would've been able to turn around without pushing off.

Yeah, it seems to me that enforcement of the play clock expiring isn’t real tight. That is, it’s uncommon for a the flag/whistle to occur the instant the clock hits zero (at least when a snap seems immenent).

That's because that's not the way it's supposed to be done. You watch the clock, when it hits zero, you look down to see if the ball's snapped. That means there's a heartbeat between the two. Teams know this. They use this. It's just the way the game works.

by Ian Durham (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 3:00pm

Here are some interesting statistics now that XL is concluded. They seem to contradict the opinion of a large segement of fans/pundits that there is no such thing as parity in the NFL (Tuesday Morning QB is one example of pundit with this opinion).

Number of first-time winners:
I-XXX: 12 (40%)
XXXI-XL: 5 (50%)

Note that the numbers for I-XXX are slightly biased because the 7 out of the first 10 winners were first-time winners.

Number of first-time participants:
I-XXX: 20 (67%)
XXXI-XL: 8 (80%)

See note above regarding first-time winners for I-XXX.

Clearly a wider variety of teams are making (and winning) the Super Bowl, particularly over the past ten years, than before.

The fact that the league has gotten larger is balanced by the fact that, with each new team making (and/or winning) the Super Bowl, the number of possible first-timers the following year decreases.

I'm sure the FO guys could put some real meat behind these statistics.

by mattfwood (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 3:04pm

Please do follow Erik Heter's suggestion and spread word that the back judge is a Pittsburgh guy. Because (1) it's obvious he was cheating, and (2) there's no telling how many lives this information can save.

by calig23 (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 3:07pm


I noticed at least one of the Seahawks' plays that might have been a delay of game. It was very close. They might have gotten the play off at the 1 second mark, but I couldn't tell for sure.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 3:20pm

Look, Pittsburgh won, and they are the champions. They also did so without having a playoff game at home, which is also impressive. Let's not go overboard, though. This wasn't the '85 Bears, or one of the great Cowboys, Redskins, or 49er teams, to name three since the '78 rules changes, who just physically dominated all competition, competition which was comprised of teams which had recent championship pedigrees themselves. With the salary cap, we may never see such champions ever again, or only extremely rarely.

The Steelers beat a Bengals team that didn't have their most important player. They got a quick jump on a dormant Colts defense which has glaring deficiencies, and, to their credit, knocked around a Colts' offensive line and overall protection scheme which did not adjust well. Yet, after a bad call on an interception, they nearly let the Colts win the game. The '85 Bears could have had three of those calls like that go against them in a game, and it would still be over by halftime.

They beat a Denver team decisively by forcing some turnovers, punishing a defense which kept insisting on blitzing, and having the good fortune to have the Denver dbs failing to make very makeable plays. Don't misundertand, however; the Denver win was very good, and their most impressive of the four playoff victories.

The Super Bowl victory was just strange, for the reasons outlined in #514, and if you put those two teams against each other three times, in identical circumstances, in terms of facing each other for the first time that year, I am not even close to certain which team would win two. That doesn't detract from Pittsburgh's victory, but Stiller homers should understand why a lot of people don't see them as an obviously superior team. Congratulations to the Steelers. They're the champs, and that's enough, or at least it ought to be.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 3:31pm

It's funny you bring up the McFadden breakup on the pass to Wayne, because McFadden could've been called for defensive pass interference on the play. If called it's as controversial as the pass interference on Jackson.

From ProTrade:
"Wayne almost made one of his signature acrobatic catches, as he was tangled up with CB Bryant McFadden. In fast motion it looked like pass interference could have been called on McFadden, but replays showed the referees got this one right."

From Boston Globe Online:
(Context is discussing the Samuel PI)
"Then you watch the end of the Steelers-Colts game and see an almost identical play in the end zone with Pittsburgh's Bryant McFadden and Indianapolis's Reggie Wayne -- and there is no flag. It's that type of inconsistency that must drive coaches batty."

by Wolff (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 3:33pm

On Roethlisberger's touchdown the ref that called the touchdown was initially signaling that the ball was short. And it wasn't until Ben pulled the ball from his stomach over the goal that the ref signaled touchdown knowing full well it would never be overturned.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 3:36pm

None of the Seahawks close play clock plays were as close to the one at the end of the game.

If they were at 00 then they are examples of plays where the officials give the offense the benefit of the doubt, not the one Roethelisberger should've been called for.

by putnamp (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 3:40pm

I don't think anyone's debating whether or not the OPI on Jackson was or was not real. The point is that it was so minute - so inconsequential - compared to what is typically called PI, that it felt inappropriate to most fans. The general mentality is that "Hey, why is Seattle being held to this abnormally high standard when Pittsburgh isn't?"

Still, I don't think "the fix was in"; it was just a piss-poor job by the officials. On the other hand, it was pretty clear that ESPN/ABC saw the Steelers as the highlight franchise, with the Lombardi Trophy montages and the constant focus on Pittsburgh. You hardly heard anything out of or about Seattle, and in a way, that may have been a part of the reason why they out-performed Pittsburgh in terms of DVOA - Pittsburgh got all this attention, and with it, heaps of pressure. Once they weren't the underdogs anymore, maybe they lost their edge. Of course, they were still good enough to win under the circumstances.

by Flagstaff (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 3:51pm


I said earlier that the comments were getting better at about #400.

You just proved me wrong.

by Erik Heter (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 3:57pm

yeah, say what you want, but if an official who was a Seattle native threw a flag to call back Willie Parker's run or the flea-flicker TD, you guys would be raising all kinds of stink about it, and you damn well know it.

by Phil (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 4:00pm

It's been a few weeks since I saw a replay of the McFadden/Wayne endzone play, but I don't think they were similar plays at all (except of course that they both happened in the end zone). The Manning pass was arched toward the back left corner of the end zone. Both Wayne and McFadden dove towards the back of the endzone and reached for the ball. McFadden got his arm in there and broke up the pass. Was there contact? Maybe, but both players were going for the ball, so a good non-call by the ref. The Jackson/Hope play was very different. It took place in the middle of the endzone, with Jackson CLEARLY pushing off Hope (to his right) in order to get to the ball (on his left). Remember, this is all happening at lightning speed. I think the contrast between two players both diving in the same direction for a pass versus one player pushing off another in order to create distance is the difference that makes a difference. Also, I don't recall any TV commentators making a big deal out of the McFadden/Wayne play after the game.

by Thoreau (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 4:04pm

The PI call was one wherein fans of the defensive team generally call for OPI but don't expect to get the call. I suspect that most Pittsburgh fans were pleasantly surprised when the flag was tossed. I also suspect that if OPI was always called that close, Metroplex newspapers wouldn't have an excuse to whinge about Mike Irvin not making the Hall, because he'd have 350 career receptions, rather than 750. Then again, Mike probably didn't make most of his 'nudges' 5 feet from an official.

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 4:13pm

I don’t think anyone’s debating whether or not the OPI on Jackson was or was not real. The point is that it was so minute - so inconsequential - compared to what is typically called PI, that it felt inappropriate to most fans.

That's my point, though. It wasn't inconsequential. It looked it, because Hope's feet were planted, and so he didn't move backwards, but watch Jackson at game speed, not Hope. He braces himself off of Hope - the reason he turned around so quickly is because he pushed off of Hope.

It's not a high standard. You don't see offensive pass interference that bad without being called frequently. Fans complaining about it seem to be calling it "ticky-tack" or "barely anything". It wasn't "barely anything". It's the entire reason Jackson got open!

by Mikey (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 4:15pm

"Did Aaron ask way above in this thread how Steeler fans got all of those tickets? Here is a hint: THEY BOUGHT THEM."

Ha-ha. Exactly. You beat me to making the very same point.

I guess the invisible hand of the market waives a terrible towel.

by putnamp (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 4:20pm


People do that sort of thing *all* *the* *time*. You don't get it. You said you did, but you don't. It's not an issue of whether or not it was a penalty by the letter. The issue is that if this is a penalty, WHY IS IT ONLY BEING CALLED IN THIS ONE SINGULAR INSTANCE?

Please, let's get off of this stupid hamster wheel.

by putnamp (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 4:26pm

The game is over. If the debate is going to continue, take it out of the context of the game, and make it about the officiating as a whole.

Pittsburgh fans cannot say they're satisfied with the officiating, because were it not for the Hand of God deflecting a Vanderjagt kick two weeks prior, they're sitting at home in the same fiery rage that so many neutral fans have gotten themselves into after the Super Bowl.

So again, take it out of the context of the game that is now over. The officiating sucked all playoffs long. Why?

Is it the tendency for a ref to sit on replay to save him, and to make a call that can be over-turned, rather than to call it like he sees it?

Is it that the recent rule changes haven't had enough cohesive force applied to them to ensure they're interpretted uniformly for each play of each game?

Is it the fact that refs are part-time? What would they be doing during the off-season, and what sort of productive use of their time could be applied to ensure a better product, not just additional, pointless hours? Would the security of having a year-round job be detrimental to the integrity of the position? (I don't think it would be, personally.)

by RowdyRoddyPiper (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 4:29pm

#537: If a penalty had occured, I wouldn't raise a stink. I can't say for certain what other fans would say, but often times a large play is a result of a penalty being commited.

"The Super Bowl victory was just strange, for the reasons outlined in #514, and if you put those two teams against each other three times, in identical circumstances, in terms of facing each other for the first time that year, I am not even close to certain which team would win two. "

This is my feeling exactly. I really don't think the Steelers are verifiably the superior team. I don't think the Seahawks are either. I think anti-climactic is the best way to describe the whole experience for an impartial observer. I'm obviously not an impartial observer, so it was a great ending from where I sit, but I can't expect everyone else to feel the same way.

by Monty (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 4:37pm

Will, regarding 517, you are only digging yourself a deeper hole. I'm not complaining FO was wrong in every particular, I'm asking for a second look at where the odds were defied or DVOA maybe missed something. It's a little odd to ask someone whose post notes that nothing is 100% to reflect on the difference between probabilities and certainties. I certainly wasn't calling for discarding DVOA, just a look at the analysis, a look that I'm worried won't happen while folks are busy arguing about pylons. Physician, heal thyself.

by Mikey (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 4:39pm

Sorry if this has been explained earlier.

A foot hitting the pylon establishes nothing. It's the same as the foot simply being in thin air. There is a huge difference between a foot hitting the pylon and the ball hitting the pylon.

The chronology of the play was that the first foot came down in bounds, then the second foot hit the pylon in mid-air - which in this case means nothing - then the second foot came down well out of bounds.

The rule does not state that a player hitting the pylon is in bounds. It states that a player hitting the pylon can not be ruled out of bounds. Big difference. Under the old rule, Jackson would have been ruled OOB at the instant his foot hit the pylon. In this case, it was still *possible* for him to come down in-bounds after hitting the pylon. He didn't.

There was no reason at all to review the play.

by Bob (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 4:43pm

#470 "Second, I can tell you in one sentence how I know the officiating was complete crap yesterday: Everyone is talking about it."

"everyone" knew the Earth was the center of the solar system once too. Didn't make it true. Could all the people complaining about the officiating be simultaneously wrong? Yes. How do I know? Because it is common for mass idiocy to take over. It's what humans do best.

by Thoreau (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 4:43pm

Attached link, unashamedly cribbed from post 77 in Quick Reads, presents King Kaufman's take. It seems a reasonable interpretation of events that may differ from other people's reasonable interpretations of events. Hence the phrase 'judgement call.' I can testify beyond a shadow of a doubt that full time officials are not a panacea. The English Premier League, in a similar hugg about deteriorating officiating standards, went to full time referees several years ago. If anything, the quality of the officiating has deteriorated since then. Making the rules transparent and incentivizing the refs to make the proper call on the field is the way to go. As things now stand, the rules are so arcane that not even the refs (e.g. Morelli) know how to apply them, and it seems as if many are willing to let the replay make the tough call for them. FWIW, Profootballtalk , after claiming that the pylon play was a TD, now asserts that it was not upon further review (pardon the pun.) Mr. Heter, perhaps you'd like to furnish us with the provenance of the entire officiating crew so we can see if Hasselbeck's third cousin once snubbed one of the officials' daughters at a junior prom, thus prompting the farcical personal foul call.

by trev (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 4:45pm

"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."

are you serious? because that might actually be the most loony thing I've ever read. what about the previous 59 minutes? his own O.C. couldn't trust him in the second half of that game.

through their playoff run, ben got away with low percentage throws and poor decisions -- even confirmed the gunslinger mentality with the yosemite sam dance in the championship game...then he got to the big game and -- like last year -- had trouble with the environment.

there's defensive interceptions and then there's the kind ben threw...with no pressure in his face...is there a rule that says you can't use the "c" word if the guy is 23?

ben won and marino didn't ...there's no justice. if he's going to canton like everyone says he better redeem himself in a future super bowl...plunkett played pretty well in two of them where he was an underdog...and he's still not in yet.

I'm not saying he needs to drive 'em down in the final seconds without timeouts...heck with the defense, O-line, running game, passing targets he's got that shouldn't be necessary. the sad reality is that there were 31 other QBs that could've beaten seattle...demolished seattle. based on the hype he's getting and the playoff performances he's put up, i'd put a 3way trade together for Rivers...who was the guy cowher and pittsburgh wanted to begin with.

he's a nice guy, and yeah, he made some plays -- and he choked on all the others that Whisenhunt actually let him run. neil o'donnell had twice the passer rating of big ben. there are no free passes in the super bowl...not for that crap.

by Thoreau (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 4:45pm

Whoops. Hugg = huff, not some sort of collective embrace. Apologies.

by Thoreau (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 4:50pm


No one is claiming Roethlisberger played well. Bear in mind, though, that the horrible INT was virtually identical to the one that noted choker Tom Brady threw in the divisional game. What's next..a siz player swap in an 'all is forgiven' swoop for Drew Bledsoe? Sheesh.

by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 4:55pm

Re 531--Will, you are right. As a Pittsburgh fan, I cannot say that the Steelers are a superior or dominant team. They won when they had to, and they are the SB champions, and if that isn't enough to satisfy a fan, then that fan is too hard to satisfy. If the two teams played another game in the same (first time this season) circumstances, I would not be surprised to see Seattle win, nor would I be surprised to see Pittsburgh win. Most people thought it was pretty even match up before the game and I didn't see anything to change that during the game.

Re 537: Erik, you are one post like this away from making me feel sorry for you. If this is the kind of thing you need to cling to, so be it, but it is not a healthy attitude.

by Matt (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 5:00pm

Someone asked above how the crowd was 90% Pittsburgh fans. It's being reported in the Seattle papers today that the NFL's souvenir stands were selling yellow "Terrible Towels", but had no similar green/blue towels or souvenirs for sale.

Seems more than a bit underhanded to give the crowd a chance to root for just one team....

by Phil (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 5:02pm

It's not about compiling nice stats. It's about getting the "W". Big difference! Statistically, Neil O'Donnell was a very good quarterback. Career pass completion percentage and TD/Int ratio were excellent. The difference is O'Donnell could not make big plays when he absolutely needed to. Case in point, the '94 AFC championship game. Statistically O'Donnell had a great game. But what will he be remembered for? The 3 yard pass that got batted down in the end zone. I thought he got over the hump the next year, but then he threw two horrible picks to Larry Brown in the SB. By comparison, Rothlisberger had a poor SB statistically speaking, but made just enough big plays to help his team win the game. Very similar to how his idol John Elway won his first SB. You can keep Peyton Manning and all the other 'fantasy league' quarterbacks. Give me Big Ben any day of the week. The guy is a winner.

by Balaji (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 5:03pm


No justice because Marino didn't win a Super Bowl and Roethlisberger did? Last I checked, the Lombardi trophy goes to the best team, not the QB with the best numbers - otherwise Peyton would win it every year. Big Ben absolutely stunk in this game, but his team was able to overcome it (by having the refs tell Stevens to drop several big passes and Hasselbeck to throw a late-game INT, obviously). I think he choked a little, but remember, he choked bigtime in the playoffs last year and improved dramatically this year. If he gets to the Super Bowl again, you will see a different QB.

As for Marino, maybe if the Dolphins had ever had a running game or a great defense, Dan might not have had to win every single game with his arm.

by Jeremy (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 5:04pm

"No one is claiming Roethlisberger played well. Bear in mind, though, that the horrible INT was virtually identical to the one that noted choker Tom Brady threw in the divisional game. What’s next..a siz player swap in an ‘all is forgiven’ swoop for Drew Bledsoe? Sheesh."

Except that (a) Brady was under pressure, and Roethlisberger wasn't, and (b) Bailey made that interception right next to the intended receiver, not five yards in front of him.

by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 5:10pm

Re 549: Hello Trev, welcome to the hater's club. FO has plenty of members of the Brady Haters chapter, the Manning Haters chapter, and I guess you are a charter member of the Roethlisberger Haters chapter. Just remember the by-laws: no matter how much success the hated QB has, he still is terrible. Win three SB's--"has nothing to do with Brady, it's all Belichek's scheme." Set all kinds of passing records--"no matter, Manning is a punk who never wins." Be the qb of a team that wins 30 games over the course of two seasons and the youngest QB every to be occupying space on the field while his team wins--"he played lousy even though his team won, so he obviously choked." Remember, haters are never satisfied. If your point is that Roethlisberger played a crummy game, wow, stop the presses, without your astute observation, we wouldn't have noticed. If you object to the idea that a guy can play lousy for three quarters, then pull himself together for one good drive, I suggest you keep watching football games, cause it actually does happen from time to time. (Would it have happened here? I don't know and you don't either.) If you think that a bad performance in the SB means that a guy is a bad QB, somewhere in this thread the five worst SB performances by a QB were listed. Along with Roethlisberger's name, two of the others listed were Bob Greise and Johnny Unitas. I'll tell you right now, if Roethlisberger has a career comparable to either of those, I, as a Steeler fan, will find a way to be content with it.

by dutch (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 5:21pm

will allen

you have been anti pittsburgh on here for quite sometime. Just admit when your wrong and quit trying to make excuses.

by Brock (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 5:22pm

The Seahawks did hurt themselves with dropped passes, bad clock management, defensive breakdowns by Boulware that contributed to the Steelers big plays. Another important factor to that was the Manuel injury. The Seahawks were down to their 3rd string FS. That also contributed to the Steelers big plays especially the trick play. Having said that, the bad calls especially the Locklear hold did affect the game. I'm not saying the Seahawks definitely would have won, but their chances of winning would have increased.

by Erik Heter (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 5:23pm

Re 537: Erik, you are one post like this away from making me feel sorry for you. If this is the kind of thing you need to cling to, so be it, but it is not a healthy attitude.

No need to feel sorry for me - feel sorry for yourself and the rest of the Pittsburgh fans. Your title is has a big question mark attached to it. And you know the point I make is valid (hence your unwillingness to address it and instead try to redirect towards personal attacks).

Oh, and for the record, no I am not a Hawks fan and actually started out rooting against them - just as I rooted for the Steelers vs. the Colts after they nearly got screwed.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 5:31pm

No, Monty. You wrote....

"And FO’s predictions were off, you again misread my post. FO, for example, predicted no long runs — Parker busted the longest in SB history"

.. as an instance where "DVOA/FO analysis fell short". Unless FO/DVOA predicted a 0% chance of Pittsburgh getting a long run, one instance of a safety making a miserable play does not show that "DVOA/FO analysis fell short".

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 5:37pm

yes, dutch, you are the paragon of objective analysis. Thank you for the content-rich comment. Should I respond with the penetrating remark of, "I'm rubber and you're glue, what you say bounces of of me and sticks to you!"?

Your response is breathlessly anticipated!

by dutch (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 5:38pm

Pittsburgh Fans have nothing to feel sorry for. The real superbowl was in the AFC. Whoever won the AFC was going to win the Superbowl. If Seattle wanted to win, then they shouldn't have left willie run for 75. They should have looked at game film of the Cleveland game where Pitt ran the exact same play with El passing as they did in the Superbowl. If they wanted to win, Hassleback shouldn't have thrown the ball to taylor. All hassleback could do all game was throw the little safe out pass to jackson, when it came time for him to make a big play he failed miserably. If the hawks wanted to win, they should have taken advantage of a Pittsburgh penalty & sack that left the Steelers in 3rd and 32 or whatever it was. If your defense can't get off the field at that point, then there is no use of complaining about the touchdown that came a few plays later. Which by the way all the ball has to do is show forward progree to the white line, which it did. It does not need to go over the line. Do you some of you people know anything about football?

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 5:42pm

Mikey (546)
The whole point of the discussion is that no one knows what the rule is.

Clayton uses that specific example when he discusses the rule change. It's possible Clayton is wrong, but I heard Clayton this morning and he re-iterated that it may have been a TD, which tells me that John Clayton doesn't know what the rule is.

It might be possible that the NFL never envisioned a scenario like the one we are talking about, which is why they never clarified the rule. It might be that Clayton specifically asked a question about that type of play and the NFL asserted "Yes, the player is ruled in bounds by hitting a pylon".

Just because Steeler fans have asserted over and over that "hitting a pylon doesn't mean the second foot is in" doesn't mean that is the actual rule. Personally I don't think it makes sense that hitting a pylon would establish a second foot in bounds, so I would agree with the Steeler fans.

Is it too much to expect someone in the media to get clarification on the rule?

by Phil (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 5:43pm

Please do feel sorry for us Erik. We need all the pity we can get. It's going to be a tough year, what with all the celebrating and good cheer throughout SteelerNation. Just think how badly all those steeler fans felt at the parade in Pittsburgh today. What a sorry, pitiful lot. Why, judging from the celebration, you would think the Steelers not only WON the SB, but DESERVED to win it. The deluded fools! Didn't they get the memo from Ron Jaworski? Apparently the Colts were the best team in the NFL this year! Ah well, there's always next year. Even for haters like you Erik.

by JMM (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 5:44pm

Just imagine how much fun we would have discussing “the Immaculate Reception� had it happened when the internet existed.

by dutch (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 5:48pm

Erik and Will allen can there be 2 people who know less about football then these 2. I wish I could have them call my radio show saturday night so i could make an ass out of them.

by joeblow (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 5:53pm

Question for Steelers fans - if the Colts had somehow pulled that game out after the horrible call on the Polamalu INT, would you not say that the officiating of that game affected the outcome? No, I'm sure you'd all be sitting there taking the loss like good sports with the same "good teams overcome bad calls" mantra, now wouldn't you? Uh huh.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 5:59pm

I thought FO (or Aaron) predicted only that Parker would not get 2 long (40+) runs? This was in response to some video game that had Parker ripping off 2 long runs. Or am I just being delerious?

I thought Will Allen offered a fair assessment of the game, and agree with all of his points. I like this site because sometimes you can disagree with a poster one one item, and then find yourself agreeing in another thread.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 6:03pm

Of course, Dutch now demonstrates his illiteracy, in that he fails to note that two of the factors he just listed as primary to the outcome, the failure to make the play on Parker's run, and the failure to make the play on the third and 28, were exactly the primary factors I listed as being critical to the outcome. Can you possibly get any more obtuse dutch? Or is "obtuse" a word that is beyond the reading comprehension skills required for a half-wit with radio show?

Tell ya' what, Dutch; you take a remedial reading course at your local community college, designed to tackle the hideous problem of adult illiteracy, and then come back and try to have a dialogue with the grown-ups. Until then, why don't you stick to yammering into a microphone?

by mattfwood (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 6:03pm

Re: 560 - Erik - "You know the point I make is valid" because you won't address it? That is about as cheap a rhetorical statement as anyone can make. Your point is not valid. There. You suggest that because an official is from Pittsburgh, he is likely cheating for his home team. Can you take up someone else's offer to let us know where the other six officials hail from? Maybe we need not just full-time refs, but ones who were born only in states that have no NFL franchises in them. That would assure that there would be no more cheating back judges who call penalties that aren't real.... I mean that are real, but that normally wouldn't be called.... I mean that normally would be called if a non-call would give one team a gift touchdown, but shouldn't have been called here because obviously no official from Pittsburgh could do his job objectively in these circumstances.

Re: 549 - Trev - "There were 31 other QBs that could’ve beaten seattle…demolished seattle." You mean the way that Alex Smith demolished them in the regular season? You really want to stand by this? That every other starting QB in the NFL (plus one backup QB, apparently, unless you're saying that even Matt Hasselback woul have beaten his own team on this day) is better than Roethlisberger? As noted later, even Tom Brady threw a similar interception this year in the playoffs. Ben played bad, so he is a choker at 23? A winning choker, at that? I'll certainly accept that he is no Tom Brady at this point in his career, and he may never be as consistent and accurate as Brady, but I haven't seen anything to suggest that he's unlikely to keep developing. Marino was a gunslinger too. So is Farvre. And like Farvre and Brady, Ben got his team to a Super Bowl and they won. Ben had the third highest QB rating in the regular season, he played well enough to win three playoff games in the road, and he played very poorly in the Super Bowl but still contributed to the win in a few small ways. He can choke for my team any day, and you can have Aaron Brooks and Kyle Boller and Joey Harrington and all of the other 31 guys you would prefer to have.

Re: 531 - Will - The Steelers won, and that should be enough for fans? Well it would be, if this were not a "title with a big question mark next to it." We Stillers homers, as you so lovingly call us, aren't asking for people to recognize this as the most dominant team ever; but all of the conspiracy theorists and the "If this had happened" crap is a bit hard to take, don't you think? If the OPI hadn't been called, and if this, and if that. How about "If the Seahawks hadn't gained a whopping minus-3 yards on the three plays after the OPI call . . ."; or if we really want to engage in fantasy thinking "If Polamalu and Ward and Kreider (and Roethlisberger, while we're at it) had played at full strength instead of injured."

by dutch (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 6:04pm


There was not a call in that game that was anything like the overturned Polamalu interception. You are now the third person thaT I am adding ot my list that knows nothing about Football.

by JMM (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 6:07pm

Officiating ALWAYS affects the outcome. It has to, it is supposed to. Agreeing to play by the rules (as enforced according to rule) is part of the bargain any player makes when he steps onto any field. There will be mistakes made. For my part (I am a Steeler fan) I was disappointed with the call against Troy, but I have no problem with it standing and the outcome of the game win or lose (and posted to that at the time on other forums.)

There are two types of discussions going on here and elsewhere: where folks don't know the rules or the interpretation and where there is a judgment call involved.

Maybe it is just me, but I have more confidence in the official's understanding of the rules and their judgment than I do in folks watching on HD(or not)TV, drinking beer.

by dutch (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 6:08pm


I have read your comments the entire Post season play. And you were always against Pittsburgh. You never saw the Steelers winning the AFC let alone the SB. And now that they have, your making excuses. You know nothing about Football and you should sit back and do more research and learn the game a little more before you open your mouth.

by NFC Central Freak (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 6:09pm

What bothers me is that because of issue which shall not be named Mike Holmgren is getting a free pass on some poor strategic and tactical decisions.

Holmgren clearly went into the game thinking "pass" and even with the Pittsburgh defense getting woozy he refused to change his game approach.

And if DJ is your featured guy you keep feeding him the ball. Holmgren did that consistently with first Sharpe, then Robert Brooks, and then Freeman in Green Bay. Once Stevens dropped his 15th pass why not run plays designed to get the "X" factor into the game?

Holmgren is known as a fantastic play-caller and rightfully so. The guy knows offense. But in THIS game in THESE circumstances I think Holmgren deserves his share of the blame. He had a defense on the ropes and he kept going for the quick knockout instead of beating them up.

by joeblow (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 6:09pm

572: If I know nothing about football, then how am I smart enough to know that the overturned INT in the Indy game was such a bad call? Please explain.

by Steve Z (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 6:11pm

Re: #560
No need to feel sorry for me - feel sorry for yourself and the rest of the Pittsburgh fans. Your title is has a big question mark attached to it.
Heh. Question mark, you say? This is a bit of nonsense! Why? Here’s why: For all of eternity and for every stinking spot in the whole damn universe, there will not exist a time or place in which the Steelers will not also be the winners of Superbowl XL. And that’s a certain and immutable fact!

So, long after the stain-makers take leave of their mortal existence and when no living being knows of their very existence, it will remain the case that the Steelers were the winners of Superbowl XL. Not a day, a moment or a nanosecond; not a place, a planet or even a subatomic particle. Everywhere and for all time. Champions — the 2005 Steelers.

by NFC Central Freak (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 6:12pm

And to clarify my apparent contradiction I meant to write that IF you are so darn determined to PASS then throw it to the right guy.

Sorry for the confusion....

by Phil (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 6:13pm

You miss the point. The Steelers WERE the victims of a terrible call. And they DID overcome it by holding the Colts offense to a touchdown and a field goal attempt in their own stadium! The same team that scored 3 touchdowns in 2 minutes against the vaunted Bucs D a couple years ago on a Monday night game. By comparison, the Seahawks feel they didn't get a call in the 1st quarter and they totally cave. Talk about a lack of character! It's almost as if the Seahawk fans were making up their excuses at halftime. If you're looking for reasons why you lost, here they are: two missed field goals (which would have made the 4th quarter a one score game), two huge defensive lapses (on Parker run and Randle El throw), numerous dropped passes, horrible clock management, and a punter who kept kicking into the endzone. Once you fix all those problems, then you can start complaining about the refs. Until then, let it go.

by mattfwood (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 6:21pm

JoeBlow at 576 -- well, you could know that it was a horrible call on the Polamalu interception because the NFL came out and said as much on the day after the game. But I'm sure that wasn't the case, and you knew it was a wrong call long before that. Read Phil's post at 579 too, if you care to learn the difference between your hypothetical situation and what really happened this past Sunday. As I mentioned earlier, the Seahawks lost two or three yards total on their next three plays after the penalty overturned the touchdown. They get a first down penalty, and there's no way they could possibly overcome that, right?

by joeblow (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 6:28pm

579: Actually, Phil, I got the point completely. Nobody this side of Stevie Wonder doubts that the Steelers got screwed on the call in Indy. And yet that call had significant consequences, as overturning the INT allowed Indy to continue driving for a TD that put them within 3 points. Had Harper subsequently scored, Indy would have won the game - or if Vanderjagt had made the FG, the game would have went into OT. And we both know that **IT NEVER SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN TO THAT POINT**. But your response here makes my point - you most certainly would have complained about the officiating affecting the outcome had Pittsburgh ended up losing that game, and Joey Porter himself *DID* even after his team won.

I won't go so far as to say Seattle would have won had all or even some of those calls went the other way. But for everybody but a Steelers fan, it would have been nice to see what would have happened had the refs not killed the Seahawks momentum almost every time they did manage to make a decent play. Both teams made plenty of mistakes during the game. Both teams made plays too - but Seattle's plays were nullified by the officials on highly questionable calls. And for anyone else but a Steelers fan, that stinks and mars the game - hence the reason why we are debating this in the first place.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 6:33pm

Yes, dutch, I said Denver had a slight edge, based on home field advantage alone, so I couldn't see Pittsburgh winning at all. I also said that I really liked a wager on Seattle if I could get five points, liked them somewhat at 4 1/2 points, but wasn't all that excited at four points, while possibly liking the money line,
because it was at -120, but no, I really couldn't envision a Pittsburgh victory.

Gee whiz, can you read beyond a fifth grade level? Are you innumerate as well as illiterate? Do you know the meaning of innumerate? Or isn't that required for radio yappers?

I'm quite serious; just how stupid are you?

by Andrew H (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 6:37pm

For the record I am a seahawks fan all the way. Steelers won superbowl 40, no question about that. In ref to #577, you are very right, and the replays that go on espn classic in 20 years won't show the bad calls. BUT I hope you know there were bad calls that may've changed the outcome. How much so we'll never know. We had our chance to score no doubt, but anytime we got a big/lucky play it was called back, anytime steelers got one (which is where they scored two of their touchdowns) it was not called back. Neither team played a good game, I have to say, if yesterday were in seattle or closer to seattle we win. Did you see the first 19 minutes of play? Not one first down from steelers. The gadget play you ran was a very amazing legitimate touchdown, kudos for that one. But were they to play this coming sunday, I say seahawks win. Anyway, good game and congrats on your title, enjoy it this year cause we will be back, hopefully you will to!

by the K (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 6:38pm

Re: dutch: Yes, I'm sure your Allentown PA radio station will be very fair and impartial to callers suggesting the Steelers got some gifts.

Re: Complaining about complaining about officiating: I'd like to offer one small reason that there's so much more complaining about officiating than discussion of the game taking place. Because twenty years from now, when I'm settling down for SB LX, I'm going to remember one thing about XL. The officiating was horrible, and I truly felt the Seahawks got ripped off. Many, many, many other people are going to remember it this way as well. Thus, most discussion about the game is about the horrendously bad officiating that occured in it.

by mattfwood (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 6:38pm

Boy Will -- I'll admit that Dutch is not very articulate, but innumerate and illiterate? It's nice to see that you don't take this too personally. You better watch out, or Erik Heter will throw a flag on you for ad hominem attacks. And then we'll have to find out if Dutch and Erik are from the same hometown, and it'll just open another can of worms.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 6:42pm

mattwood, why would you possibly care about what the conspiracy theorists say? Ya' might as well be concerned about the whack-jobs who bark about The Illuminati.

by dutch (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 6:43pm

DUTCH IS 11-0 su in the playoffs

by mattfwood (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 6:50pm

Hey K -- Allentown is on the other side of the state; probably mostly Eagles fans and Giant fans, if I had to guess. Contrary to popular opinion, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are nowhere near each other (at least in East Coast terms).

Will -- why would I care about the conspiracy theorists? I don't know. Maybe the same reason that all of these self-declared "fans of the other 30 teams" are so pissed off about "being robbed" of a good game in a Super Bowl in which they had no rooting interest. Apparently, people care about some pretty strange stuff. As I said, I don't think any smart Steeler fan (and yes, there are some who are not so smart -- just ask Bill Simmons, who just knows that every Steeler fan is a condiment-stained troglodyte) thinks this was the greatest team ever. It would just be nice to get a congratulations that wasn't followed by a huge BUT.

Wow, what a golden opportunity -- if The Sports Guy were here right now, he could score with one of his timeless fat jokes about Bettis's "huge butt." That irascible Sports Guy -- so clever, so urbane, so original!

by Kal (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 6:50pm

#569: Matthew, you're not. The game claimed that Parker would gain a bunch of yards - like 140+ - on 16 carries, including two runs of 40 and two runs of 16. FO was saying that's unlikely because Seattle doesn't tend to allow long runs.

And they don't. The longest run from scrimmage other than the 75 yarder was a 7 yarder by Bettis.

And boy - being put on the list of people who don't know anything about football by dutch. Yikes. That's scary.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 6:52pm

mattwood, if dutch would like a civil dialogue, he would be well advised to refrain from claiming he would "make an ass" out of someone in a radio conversation. This is a fairly basic aspect to human relations, which, unsurprisingly, dutch is also unfamiliar with.

Since he can't read very well, nor is he familiar with the implications of making wagers based upon odds and projected margins of victory, speculating as to his illiteracy or innumeracy is not unwarranted.

by mattfwood (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 6:55pm

Will -- didn't say your speculation about Dutch was unwarranted -- just wondered, to paraphrase something you once said, "why would you possibly care" about him.

by joeblow (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 6:56pm

"It would just be nice to get a congratulations that wasn’t followed by a huge BUT."

Yes, it would be, wouldn't it? And had the officiating not been so terrible, you probably would have gotten just that. Lamenting the lack of unqualified congratulations seems to reinforce the point others were making above - in the end, even Steelers fans got robbed by bad officiating.

However, I'll give you credit for your points on Simmons, which are right on target.

by RowdyRoddyPiper (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 7:00pm


#584: He's actually in Uniontown, not Allentown. Uniontown is actually more depressing than Allentown. Allentown would be Eagles fans, for the record.

Dutch, you honestly sound like a total jagoff. I don't agree with a lot of Will Allen's points, in fact I think some of them are quite ridiculous. No matter, he at least trys to incorporate some analysis, insight and information into them.

I was getting a little depressed with not having any certainty as to who would win if the Seahawks and Steelers squared off for best of 3. I'm pretty sure it would end up 2 to 1 but I have no idea who would have 2 and who would have 1. Upon further reflection, I think that could be said for at least 5 of the past 10 superbowls. Not all together abnormal.

by hrudey (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 7:00pm

Wow. And it's still going....

I deleted the game, so I can't confirm this, but didn't Heath Miller hold at least as much as Locklear on the gadget touchdown play?

I'd personally argue the officiating was pretty one-sided, but that's all in interpretation. People have gone to great lengths on both sides to point out minute details that, frankly, make it pointless to try to pursue that. However, what is *blatant*, is that the officiating was inconsistent, and that is what most fans are truly upset with.

Watching the PI call, I thought: "Wow, they're going to call a tight game." But it wasn't at all. The problem is that it looked like, at stretches, the officials were looking for reasons to call a penalty (which, perhaps coincidentally, aligned with Seattle's big plays), while ignoring the same penalties at other times.

The difference between this and most official whingefests is that, usually, the complaints are about calls that weren't made, or maybe one questionable call. When there are several calls made on penalties that either never occurred at all, or are best categorized as trifling, the officials should be lambasted. When the calls that are bombed are predominantly in favor of one team, that's another issue (though, conspiracy is a strong and wrong word in this case).

In any event, the officiating inhaled vehemently. Fans of 31 NFL teams are almost unanimous in this, whilst the 32nd team is maybe 2 to 1 saying that it's not bad in this case -- but they're unanimous that the calls against Indy were horrible. The officiating must be fixed, period.

How? Fulltime officials -- in the replay booth, who have the authority to override penalty calls as well as the standard issues now, and can buzz down to stop play when a mistake is made.

by RowdyRoddyPiper (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 7:04pm

Inre: #593, sorry if this bit:

"I don’t agree with a lot of Will Allen’s points, in fact I think some of them are quite ridiculous. No matter, he at least trys to incorporate some analysis, insight and information into them."

sounds like a backhanded compliment. What I meant to say is that you do incorporate analysis, insight and information into your views. Which I disagree with...the views, not the incorporation of insight, information and analysis. EOM.

by dutch (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 7:04pm

Dutch is 11-0 su in the Playoffs

He is also 10-1 ATS

sEnd me your email Will, i'll send you some links. Your learnig curve can begin today.

by Smeghead (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 7:07pm

So much heat ...

All light fading ...

"Hope not ever to see Heaven! I come to carry you to the other bank, into eternal darkness, to heat and frost."

FO, please, please, front-page a new thread.

by RowdyRoddyPiper (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 7:11pm

Further evidence that the superbowl outcome was scripted!!

(link in my name)

by hrudey (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 7:13pm

Oh, and off the officiating topic: I'm amazed Roethlithburger'th thtatline was as good as it was... he had to be tired after rushing back from the ceremony where they awarded the Lombardi to Pittsburgh in time to play the opening drive. ;)

by Steve Z (not verified) :: Tue, 02/07/2006 - 7:17pm

Re: Andrew H, #583

I would say that there were a few bad calls and a few controversial calls in this Superbowl. I believe Seahawks fans have a right to be miffed at the officials, Steeler fans far less so. I also believe Steeler fans have no reason to doubt the outcome. The reason: The controversial calls in the game were such that both sides of this debate can lay claim to having plausible arguments with which to defend their positions. For instance, I believe Roethlisberger scored, the pass interference call was correct as was the Haggans holding call. But I also believe that these calls could have gone the other way. Had the officials made these calls instead of the one’s they actually made, we would witness a different but related set of arguments, with, perhaps, differing antagonists. I doubt that most Steeler fans who post on this site think much differently than I. For Steeler fans, there is no contradiction involved in believing that these calls were controversial (there are differing opinions on what happened) but were correctly made by the officials. Likewise, Seahawk fans also avoid contradicting themselves when they believe the calls were controversial and were incorrectly made by the officials. The lack of contradiction issues from the fact that it is unrealistic to expect pro football games to be perfectly and transparently officiated.

I realize that my argument probably won’t make you feel better about the game’s outcome. I wouldn’t if I were in your place. Good luck next season.