Monday, February 06, 2006

Officiating, officiating, officiating

Living here in the, ahem, great Pacific northwest all I am hearing this morning is about how the officiating cost the Seahawks the game. That is just flat out wrong & is a component of seeing things through "blue" shaded glasses. Let's review:

1. The pass interference call on Darrell Jackson WAS, in fact, pass interference. That gets called 9 out of 10 times. The one time it doesn't get called is because the official is looking at something else or falls down.

2. The TD by Roethlisberger? He dove, had the ball in his right hand, it just has to cross the plane of the end zone, and the ball kind of disappears behind his arm. It's possible a millimeter of the ball grazed the plane of the end zone & you can't overturn a call without conclusive evidence. The rule of thumb here is, if it's so close you can't overturn it, it just can't be labeled as a bad call. The fact is, if they rule it down it's 4th and 1-inch and Pittsburgh goes for it & gets the TD anyway. And before you whine about how the Hawks would have stopped them on 4th down...I call BS. Teams score the TD 89% of the time when there is less than a yard to go for a TD. Better yet, Pittsburgh is one of the best at that particular situation. In fact, I would say the momentum would have been worse for the Seahawks had he been ruled down because Jerome Bettis would have come in and got a TD...the crowd, and the Steelers, would have really had momentum on their side if that happened. BTW, for the record, the still photos of an airborne Roethlisberger showed that the ball actually did break the plane of the goal line.

3. Seahawks punter Tom Rouen had 4 touchbacks. How about pinning the Steelers back deep once or twice, especially when the Steelers kept going 3-and-out in the 1st half?

4. The Seahawks messed up at the end of the first half, with terrible clock management, leading to a 54-yard field goal attempt that was missed. With the time they had and 2 timeouts, they should have gotten the ball closer. Later, they missed a 50-yard field goal. Again, they could have moved the ball closer.

5. The holding call on the Seahawks pass to the Steelers 1-yard-line looked like a bad call. Nothing you can do about that but hitch up your jock strap and move on.

6. Hasselbeck's interception a couple plays later. There was no Seahawk anywhere near that ball.

7. Hasselbeck blocking below the waist penalty. This was a 2nd bad call. It only cost the Seahawks 15 yards though. It certainly wasn't a game changing call. The interception was much bigger. I keep hearing how people are saying Rothlisberger did the same thing on the reverse a few plays later. That's just a joke. Rothlisberger hit his man above the waist. Hasselbeck hit his man at the knee cap. Hasselbeck's call was wrong because it was a tackle, not a block. Had it been a block, the call was correct. Rothlisberger's, under any definition, was a legal hit.

8. Pittsburgh had the big plays: a 3rd-and-28 completion in the 2nd quarter led to a TD. A 75-yard TD run by Parker. A flea-flicker from Randle El to Ward for the third TD.

9. The goat of the game: Big talker Jeramy Stevens had 4 drops. The two in the first half could have made this game totally different. With the exception of the one long run (which I explain next), Pittsburgh could not run the ball and Rothlisberger looked awful. If the Hawks jump out to a 14-0 or 14-7 lead & force Pittsburgh to try and pass, they win this game 34-7.

10. The 75 yard TD run. This is on the coaching staff of the Seahawks. Holmgren's team has been stopping the Steelers with a 7 man front the whole game. For some unknown reason, with his 3rd string Safety in due to injury, he switches to an 8 man front... turning what normally would have been a 7-15 yeard run into a 75 yard TD run (the longest in SB history). Boulware, the 8th man up, bites into the wrong gap and now Parker only has one man to beat...the third string safety...who takes the wrong route and gets burned by the fastest running back in the NFL.

11. Darrell Jackson disappeared after catching 5 passes in the 1st quarter (a SuperBowl record). He had no catches after the 1st quarter.

12. Down 21-10 with 8:48 to play, the Seahawks needed to get a score. They couldn't, with Hasselbeck getting sacked on 3rd-and-8 at the 47. For some unknown reason they decided to punt the ball away knowing they needed two scores. If they give up a first down or two, the game is over.

13. Speaking of which....down 21-10 with 6:15 left, they needed to make a defensive stop. They couldn't, allowing 2 first downs as Pittsburgh took over 4 minutes off the clock on 9 straight running plays...after the Hawks had stopped the run all day. It looked like the D had given up.

So, two plays I thought could be classified as bad calls. One was on Hasslebeck after the interception...which had nothing to do with the outcome of the game & the other a holding call after a pass down to the 1 yard line. This certainly did have something to do with the outcome of the game, but if you can't overcome a bad call or two, your not a Superbowl champ anyway. Not only do I agree with it, I wrote it all….lol.

Some articles have been written about how the Seahawks got jobbed. Here's a couple:

Buck Harvey from San Antonio

Michael Smith from ESPN

To that I say....Eh, journalists are just people. They get paid to do a job and make interesting points. You think their column would be more interesting to read if it said, the game was great and I agree with everything? No. They have to find an angle to write about. Of course the people here in Seattle want something to blame. If these teams played 10 times, the Hawks would win 7. The better team did not win on Sunday. That being said, they lost. The got beat. Don’t whine about it. Don;t be known as the "criers from the Pacific Northwest." take your lumps and move on.

look at it this way...all of the Seahawks's past demons were excercised yesterday:

1. Dropped passes - Check (Stevens)
2. Phanton TD by Testeverde - Check (Rothlisberger)
3. Injuries costing in crunch time - Check (3 D-men gone in 1st two quarters)
4. Officiating - Check (covered that)

The only stat that matters right now is that since we've slipped the calendars to the 2000's no team that lost the Superbowl has had a winning season the following year. It's called the hangover effect. How the Hawks respond next year is what counts.

Now, on to some random thoughts:

1. The National Anthem was absolutely horrible. Could be the worst NA I have ever heard sung outside of me in my car.

2. Halftime Show. I never was much of a Stones fan, but it sounded awful. I would never pay a penney to go see tham live. In fact, if they were playing a mile from my house for free and I was guaranteed a seat, I'd pass.

3. The only good commerical was the rotating refrigerator....and that wasn't even a brand new commercial.