Monday, February 2, 2009

Controversial Ending


If you are a Seahawks fan, yesterday's Big Game brought back a lot of memories...and not many of them good. If this sounds like sour grapes...make no doubt about it -- it is. :-) But, it is also objective, because I think credit needs to be given where credit is due. I take nothing away from Ben Roethlisberger and Santonio Holmes and the game winning drive with two minutes left... it was excellent stuff. However, the final two minutes after the final two minutes created even more questions in other respects -- questions that have been the talk of high school, the town, and I am sure the country.

Many of the sports talking heads do not want to deal with these questions, so they just gloss over them. Thankfully, there are a few brave souls who have the integrity to ask. First, why was there not a flag for excessive celebration after Holmes touchdown? Most may not have even realized it, but Holmes displayed a flagrant excessive celebration. Yet, for some strange reason, there was no call. The flag certainly has been thrown for considerably less...and this would have made a 15 yard difference on the upcoming final kickoff to the Cardinals. Second, how on earth do the referees call the last play of the game a fumble? It was quite obvious that Warner's arm was pushing and moving the ball forward when it came out(?). An even more difficult question is...why did the referees not take the full two minute review as they had done at other critical junctures of the game when a big play had occurred? This is the Super have got to get it right! Instead, they quickly hand the ball to the Steelers and they take a knee -- game over. There was a kind of, sort of explanation offered that a quick review had been done and that it was ruled a fumble.

Pardon me for being the skeptic, but something does not seem quite right when it comes to the Steelers and the Super least in this decade. As Rick Reilly pointed out this morning...hmmm, the Steelers have a great history with great ownership who have given so much to the game. The Cardinals have no history worth mentioning (nor the Seahawks for that matter), and has to wonder. The New York Giants do have a history, so it would not be as alarming if they would pull off the major upset, which, of course, they did.

Now, most of us would say, it is silly to consider that there would be some sort of "a fix on"...and I would generally have to be in agreement. But, like so many other things in life, sports games are called by men (and women) who are human...and as much as referees/umpires are told that they have to be unbiased, it is simply impossible for there not to be a certain amount of subjectivity that enters into calls and decisions made on the field. I have been a (soccer) referee...and know this to be the case. When an umpire gets into it with a 1st baseman over balls and strikes, it certainly has some effect the next few times that ump sees that player come to the plate. Indeed...and if the ump has a long memory, that player may never get another questionable call from said ump. Even though I sincerely doubt that there is some head honcho of the NFL telling the refs..."okay, buddy, if there is a call that could go either way, let's be certain that we lean this direction...see," there still just seems to be much more to be gained from the Steel city having that 6th banner to hang up, and for the NFL to point to and, the first team to 6 Super Bowls! rather than for some historically pathetic team to win it.

All this to say...I would like to have seen that final play. It should have happened on the biggest football stage in the world. I would have loved to see Kurt Warner throw the 30 or so yard hail mary into the end zone to Larry Fitzgerald. I would have enjoyed seeing if Larry could pull off one more amazing play, or if Troy Polamalu would make a pick, or if the ball would have fallen to the ground. I just would have liked to have seen it. But, as with a number of questionable decisions made in SB XL, it all would have been interesting and wonderful...if so many big calls had not been missed in yesterday's game -- we'll never know. Maybe now, it is time for full time NFL refs. Nevertheless, it is time for yet another ref review by the NFL...or maybe not (if you know what I mean wink, wink ;-). Blessings,


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