Refs made it an 'Extra Lame' bowl
By TED MILLER
GOT SCREWED, USA -- Complaining about officiating is a time-honored sports tradition. It's much easier to believe your team got screwed than it got whupped because anger is more manageable than sadness.
It's sour grapes, plain and simple.
But, America, please forgive Seahawks fans if they sound a little bitter and paranoid after the rest of the country got its sweet, little fairy tale with Jerome Bettis winning Super Bowl XL in his hometown of Detroit.
It just seems a bit too tidy, considering how things went down.
Here's the rub: No intelligent person, and that includes Pittsburgh fans, watched the Steelers 21-10 "victory" and believed it was well-officiated. Period.
And every -- EVERY -- call went against the Seahawks. Seahawks fans promise to stop being paranoid just as soon as the NFL proves it isn't out to get them.
The Seahawks, who were tied for second-fewest penalties in the NFL this year, were flagged seven times for 70 yards. Three were critical. Two were dubious. Another flag was so stupid the official explanation didn't actually make any sense.
As for head linesman Mark Hittner's oh-what-the-hell delayed touchdown call on Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's 1-yard touchdown dive? Think the officials want that tape taken to the FBI crime lab?
The Steelers, who were tied for sixth-fewest penalties this year, suffered just three horrible hankies for 20 yards. Two were false starts on their first possession. The third was offensive pass interference on rookie tight end Heath Miller deep in Seattle territory in the second quarter. That call will inspire no wringing of hands, even from Miller.
Thereafter, apparently, the Steelers felt guilty and decided not to break the rules for the next 35 minutes. Jerome probably wanted it that way.
Apoplectic Seahawks fans are not alone. ESPN.com's Michael Smith pointed this out Monday in a story ripping the officials: "The Seahawks lost 161 yards to penalties when you combine the penalty yards (70) and the plays the flags wiped out (91). By halftime alone, when it trailed 7-3, Seattle had had 73 hard-earned yards and a touchdown eliminated."
Matt Hasselbeck hits Darrell Jackson for a 16-yard touchdown pass for a 7-zip lead?
Nope. The incidental contact that occurs on nearly every NFL passing play was, actually, offensive interference -- at least the officials decided so after safety Chris Hope stomped and huffed and demanded a flag, perhaps insisting that Jerome wanted it that way.
Beleaguered tight end Jerramy Stevens makes a spectacular catch inside the Steelers 2-yard line setting up what surely would have been a Shaun Alexander touchdown run and 17-14 Seahawks lead early in the fourth quarter?
Nope. Seems that offensive tackle Sean Locklear's incidental hooking (which occurs on nearly every NFL play from scrimmage) on his block of Clark Haggans (who was offside) was too dastardly to ignore.
Maybe the officials were calling the game tightly.
Nope. Only two plays later, Steelers linebacker Joey Porter used an illegal "horse collar" tackle on Alexander, and the officials decided to let it slide, even though that would have transformed a third-and-18 on the Steelers 34 to a first down on their 19.
"Penalties, as much as anything, were the story of the game," Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said. "That's unfortunate. And that might be the first time I've said that in my life."
Here's the comic relief.
After the no-call on the horse collar, Hasselbeck tossed a critical interception to cornerback Ike Taylor. Hasselbeck then, apparently, forgot which team he plays for and tried to throw a block in order to spring Taylor. Only he threw a "low block," according to the game's official book.
So not only does he toss a pick and then try to block for an opposing player, but he also gets called for a 15-yard penalty.
Most folks would figure that Hasselbeck was trying to TACKLE Taylor. Seeing Hasselbeck is a quarterback lacking tackling skills, he went low. But the officials decided it was a block. Only Hasselbeck was credited with a tackle on the play.
(The official explanation is he went low on a guy trying to block him, which is against the rules on a change of possession. But the fact that he made the tackle erases, at least for a reasonable person, his potential motivation based on the result. It was a tackle.)
Like we said: Stupid.
Steelers fans should be angry, too. For one, they know how this feels, see their playoff game vs. Indianapolis, when they were the interlopers ruining the heartwarming tale.
Moreover, the execrable officiating cheapens their championship because it's what folks are talking about now, not the glory of Bettis.
Is all this an accusation -- J'Accuse! -- like Porter's ranting about the terrible officiating in the Indianapolis game?
Yes. No. Who knows?
It's just too bad -- for everyone -- that the officials made sure Super Bowl XL wasn't "Extra Large," as the joke went, but "Extremely Lame."
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
"Lame" Super Bowl Bitch Session
I know, I know, I didn't go on about the Seahawks loss to Pittsburgh, but I'm gonna spew about that now, it's been that kind of day and I'm sick of hearing about the damn Super Bowl, a time honored event that is all about money and not about sport. The Hawks received no national media respect whatsoever, that pissed me off a smidge, it was assumed that Pittsburgh would take it, hell they should have just gave them the fucking trophy and saved the Hawks the travel expense, what a load of shit. Vegas got some big-assed blue balls of anticipation favoring the Steelers, even with Seattle's excellent record and NFL MVP Shaun Alexander. Where the hell was the fucking respect? It was just rude, all of it, the ref's total fucking payola incompetence. I swear to God that Bush had a hand in this! LOL, I'm losing my mind, bad day, people suck, I'm done.
Spewed by Unknown at 2/07/2006 07:02:00 PM