Superbowl XL - It's Pittsburgh all the way!

by drew sagan 26 Replies latest jw friends

  • rocketman

    I've been listening to talk radio for the past two days, plus watching ESPN. Most commentators are somewhere in between Colin Cowherd (he's not recognizing the Steelers as champs) and Peter King from (he had a problem with only one call, the 'low block' call against Hasslebeck after he threw the INT). Most seem to agree that the officiating was poor, and that there were a couple of calls that were missed (Jeremy Stevens appeared to fumble after a reception; the officials should reviewed the out-of-bounds call on Jackson's reception near the goal-line pylon), but most aren't going so far as to say that the refs won the game for the Steelers or lost it for the Seahawks.

    Here's something I wrote on January 17th at my blog: ( "It seems to me that the playoffs each year are marred by some gaffe(s) on the part of the refs. The NFL had better start getting very concerned about it." I wrote that after the Divisional Playoff round, when Pittsburgh was the victim of that very poor call against Indy, the Polomalu INT that was ruled an incompletion. That weekend was marred by several instances of poor officiating.

    I won't go as far to say that games are "fixed", but everybody likes a happy ending, and the Super Bowl went according to script. It does make me wonder.

  • figureitout

    Good Points, but do you think the script got chnaged after Pittsburgh beat the world favorite Poster Boy Peyton Manning and the Colts. I mean the refs were as bad as I ever seen in that game. The literally did all they could to let Indy win. I think there is too much money involved in the NFL for it not be be fixed or Shady to a degree... Do they decide the NFL Champs before the game is played.. maybe but I am not willing to jump of that bridge.

  • figureitout

    I guess NFL coaches think the game was called correctly as well......

  • rocketman

    I'm not a conspiracy theorist (I think Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone), but I do at times throw stuff out there when it comes to sports, without actually saying there's some way the outcomes of games are manipulated.

    As for the Colts-Steelers game, I think that Joey Porter may have had a point when he said that 'everybody wanted the Colts to win'. The Colts were being touted as Super Bowl entrants ever since they beat the Patriots on that Monday Night game earlier in the season. People in general wanted to see Peyton Manning get to the big show.

    Once the Steelers managed to win that game and get to the Super Bowl, they then became everyman's choice to win. The storyline of Jerome Bettis going home to Detroit, winning, and then retiring is like a movie script. What could go wrong? - oh, that's right, the Seahawks were in the way, and almost ruined the script.

    I'm just throwing that out there as a possibilty; I'm not totally sold on games being manipulated. But I do wonder sometimes. I've watched football a long time, and this isn't the first postseason that's had me doubting my faith in the NFL. Almost every season, there's something that makes me wince - the Tom Brady fumble...oh, I mean "Tuck Rule" call. The phantom pass interference call against the 49ers when the Redskins won the NFC title game in 1983. The phantom blow to the head by Sugar Bear Hamilton to the helmet of Ken Satbler in 1976. The list goes on and on, and I just wonder sometimes.

  • Mulan

    This was on this morning, written by a Fox reporter.

    Since Roethlisberger admits he didn't make a touchdown, I thought I would bring this subject back up. Seahawks won everything but the game

    Kevin Hench / In case the football fans of the Pacific Northwest aren't sick enough in the aftermath of the big game, they may want to know that no Super Bowl loser has ever dominated a title game like the Seahawks did on Sunday.

    I was so sure that Seattle's edge in total yards, time of possession and takeaways in a losing effort was unprecedented that I scoured all 39 previous Super Bowl box scores to prove it. Yep, just as I suspected, no losing team had ever matched the Seahawks' trifecta. Quite a few teams had won the time of possession battle and lost. A handful had put up more total yards and lost. And a couple had even won the turnover battle and lost. But no team had ever done all three and come away with an L.

    Not until Sunday. Not until the Seahawks outplayed the Steelers on the vast majority of plays and still lost, thanks largely to two dubious penalty calls that cost Seattle a TD and a first-and-goal at the 1.

    This was a historic, first-of-its-kind Super Bowl loss. I don't want to take anything away from the Steelers, except, of course, the Lombardi Trophy.

    Seattle had the ball for over 33 minutes, building a large time of possession edge as Pittsburgh failed to get a first down in the game's opening 19 minutes. While 10 teams have won the time-of-possession battle and lost the Super Bowl, only four losers surpassed the Seahawks' 6:04 edge in possession. And only twice in the history of the big game had a team gained more yards and led in time of possession and lost. Brady's Patriots were not only outgained by the Rams, but Kurt Warner's quick-strike attack actually held the ball for seven more minutes than New England. The lone other time this statistical quirk occurred was when Pittsburgh lost to Dallas in Super Bowl XXX. So maybe Sunday was a kind of karmic payback for the Steelers, who outgained the Cowboys 310-254 and held the ball for 7:38 more than Dallas in 1996.

    The only other time the turnover winner had lost was in Super Bowl XIV when the Steelers overcame three Terry Bradshaw interceptions and a -2 turnover deficit to beat the Rams and win their fourth championship (one for the pinkie?). Despite the three picks, Bradshaw was named MVP because he threw for 309 yards as Pittsburgh compiled a 393-301 edge in total yards.

    So the only two times a team had coughed the ball up more than its opponent and won the Super Bowl, it did so by handily outgaining the loser. But turning the ball over more while being outgained? Surely Roethlisberger's two interceptions to Matt Hasselbeck's one would sink the Steelers.

    Not on Sunday. Super Bowl XL was the perfect storm for stormy Seattle. The Seahawks moved the ball better than the Steelers. They kept the ball longer than the Steelers. They held onto the ball more securely than the Steelers. They had six more first downs than the Steelers (20-14), a feat surpassed only twice by losing teams in SB history.

    And yet the Seahawks lost.

    Seattle fans have a right to feel sick. Their team just suffered the most unjust loss in Super Bowl history.

    I'm guessing knowing that the previous 25 teams to gain more yards, keep the ball longer and not lose the turnover battle all won the Super Bowl won't make them feel any better.

  • LDH

    It was a boring game. The half time show sucked too.

  • rocketman

    Mulan, interesting article....and it confirms what I mentioned earlier in this thread :

    Interestingly, the Seahawks bettered them in every important statistical category - time of possession, total yards, and turnovers. Normally, the team that wins those battles wins the game.....normally.

    It should be noted that there is one pretty big factor that is being overlooked - the Seahawks lost three starting defensive players to injury during the course of the game. In my view, turnovers and injuries are the two biggest factors in football. And of course, penalties are a major factor as well.

    So if we include injuries and penalties, it's clear that Seattle lost those two battles within the game. But, as the article points out, their loss is still a big anomaly when it comes to norm in most games.

    Here's an article from Football Outsiders that breaks down all penalties in the game committed by offensive tackles from both teams:

    EPC: Sean Locklear and the 22 Uncalled Holds


    By Michael David Smith

    Hand(s) or arm(s) that encircle a defender — i.e., hook an opponent — are to be considered illegal and officials are to call a foul for holding. Blocker cannot use his hands or arms to push from behind, hang onto, or encircle an opponent in a manner that restricts his movement as the play develops.

    – Digest of rules, 2005 NFL Record & Fact Book, Page 770

    By the above definition of holding, Seattle Seahawks right tackle Sean Locklear committed holding on the controversial fifth play of the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XL. He hooked his right arm around the right shoulder of Pittsburgh linebacker Clark Haggans and restricted Haggans’ movement. The call negated a pass that would have given Seattle first-and-goal at the 1-yard line. By the letter of the rules, it was the right call.

    But if something is a penalty on one play, it should be a penalty on every play. And during the rest of the game, the officials didn’t enforce holding by the letter of the rules. To determine whether the holding call was justified, I studied the tape of Super Bowl XL, watching both offensive tackles on every passing play to see how often they committed the type of infraction for which Locklear was penalized. The results are bad news for the NFL: Using the standard that was applied to Locklear on the infamous play, the four offensive tackles committed 22 uncalled holding penalties on passing plays.

    By the letter of the rules, Locklear committed holding 10 times (he was flagged twice). Seattle left tackle Walter Jones should have been called six times. Pittsburgh tackles Marvel Smith and Max Starks should have been called four times each.

    Here we present each of the four tackles and the plays on which they should have been flagged for holding:

    Sean Locklear

    Third-and-9, 12:40, first quarter: As Haggans rushed to the inside, Locklear reached his left arm out and hooked Haggans’ left shoulder. Locklear was called for holding, and Haggans sacked Hasselbeck anyway.

    Third-and-16, 5:53, first quarter: As Haggans rushed to the outside, Locklear used his arm to hang onto Haggans.

    Third-and-23, 0:35, first quarter: At first Locklear engaged Haggans and seemed to get the better of the matchup, but as Haggans broke free and tried to rush to the outside, Locklear hooked him.

    Third-and-5, 14:11, second quarter: Locklear got an arm around Haggans as Hasselbeck completed a pass to Joe Jurevicius.

    Third-and-3, 8:47, second quarter: Haggans rushed to the inside and Locklear stuck his left arm out to restrict his rush.

    Third-and-4, 13:45, third quarter: Locklear hooked defensive end Brett Keisel.

    Third-and-15, 4:30, third quarter: Locklear wrapped his right arm around Haggans.

    Third-and-5, 14:17, fourth quarter: Locklear hooked Haggans.

    First-and-10, 12:35, fourth quarter: The infamous penalty call. Locklear’s hold was no more flagrant here than on any of the previous seven uncalled holds. After he was flagged a second time, Seattle adjusted its offense to keep Locklear from having to block Haggans’ outside rush, giving him outside help from Mack Strong for the rest of the game.

    Second-and-10, 0:34, fourth quarter: One last time, Locklear hooked Haggans.

    Walter Jones

    Third-and-9, 12:40, first quarter: This was the first time Locklear was called for holding, and using the strict standard, Jones also should have been called. He hooked his left arm around Joey Porter.

    Third-and-16, 5:53, first quarter: Smith again tried to get past Jones to the outside, and Jones hooked him.

    First-and-10, 2:08, first quarter: This was the Darrell Jackson touchdown that was called back for offensive pass interference. If the officials had used the strict definition of holding all game, it also would have been called back for Jones getting his left arm around Porter as Porter rushed upfield.

    Second-and-6, 1:13, second quarter: Porter tried to beat Jones to the inside, and Jones stuck his right arm around Porter’s midsection.

    Third-and-4, 13:45, third quarter: Jones used his left arm around Porter on an outside rush.

    Third-and-15, 4:30, third quarter: Jones hooked Kimo von Oelhoffen with his left arm on an outside pass rush.

    Max Starks

    Third-and-19, 10:32, first quarter: Starks blatantly hooked Bryce Fisher — a much more egregious hold than the one for which Locklear was flagged.

    First-and-10, 4:53, second quarter: Craig Terrill looped to the outside and Starks hooked him with his right arm.

    Second-and-10, 4:47, second quarter: Fisher rushed to the outside and Starks hooked him.

    Third-and-4, 10:27, third quarter: Starks encircled Fisher with his right arm.

    Marvel Smith

    Third-and-19, 10:32, first quarter: Smith held Grant Wistrom.

    First-and-10, 0:17, first quarter: Smith hooked Wistrom, then encircled him with both arms.

    Second-and-20, 4:21, second quarter: Smith held Wistrom, Wistrom beat him for a sack anyway.

    Third-and-2, 2:58, third quarter: Smith hooked Wistrom.

    That’s 16 uncalled holding penalties on Seattle and eight on Pittsburgh. Because Seattle passed more than twice as often as Pittsburgh did, Pittsburgh’s tackles actually committed holding at a higher rate than Seattle’s, although the Steelers were never flagged.

    If the officials had called holding on two inconsequential plays and ignored it the rest of the time, no one would much care. But Locklear’s penalty negated an 18-yard Jerramy Stevens catch that would have given the Seahawks first-and-goal from the one-yard line, where they very likely would have scored and taken a 17-14 lead with less than 12 minutes remaining in the game. Instead they faced first-and-20 from the 29-yard line, Matt Hasselbeck threw an interception three plays later, and Pittsburgh’s subsequent touchdown effectively ended the game.

    These are my opinions. Someone else watching the same plays might come to different conclusions, thinking there were more or fewer than 22 uncalled holds on the offensive tackles. But no fair observer can say that given the way the rest of the game was called, Locklear should have been assessed that game-changing penalty. Just as in boxing, two judges can watch the same fights and see different things, but when a judge goes beyond the pale, impartial analysts need to call him on it.

    And if the NFL doesn’t like having its officials compared to boxing judges, a good way to start would be to improve the way it defines penalties. The NFL needs tighten the definition of holding. Change the rules so that the actions described above, which happen on every play, are legal. Then, whatever is contained within the new, more narrow definition, needs to be called consistently and always". - end of article, though more, including reader's comments, can be found here:

    It should noted that there may have been certain factors at play - since Locklear held so often, were the refs starting to look for it, perhaps in response to complaints by the Steelers? Since refs can't see everything on every play, was it simply a matter of which angle the official had on the holding call in question? Whatever the case, both teams got away with holding, as all teams do in every game.

    It should also be noted that even though Locklear's hold as called was a blow to Seattle, it was what happened on the next two plays that doomed that drive. A sack and an interception followed. Seattle still could have salvaged at least a Field Goal and thus could have drawn to within 14-13, had they not committed two errors of their own subsequent to the holding call. Great teams overcome adversity, and my argument all along has been that Seattle failed to play well in several important moments in this game, and that, in addition to some questionable officiating and a good opponent, is what what beat them.

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