NFL says Super Bowl 'properly officiated'
The NFL defended the officiating in the Super Bowl on Tuesday, two days after the Steelers beat the Seahawks 21-10 in the NFL title game. The league said Tuesday that no mistakes were made by the game officials, although Seattle coach Mike Holmgren might disagree.
The officiating has been a the major topic of discussion since Sunday night. Right after the game, Holmgren suggested that the first-quarter offensive interference call on the Seahawks' Darrell Jackson, negating what would have been the game's first touchdown, probably should have been "a no call."
Holmgren, a former chairman of the NFL's rule-making competition committee, fueled the debate Monday during a rally for the Seahawks at Qwest Field when he said, "We knew it was going to be tough going up against the Pittsburgh Steelers. I didn't know we were going to have to play the guys in the striped shirts as well."
The questionable calls:
• Replays on the offensive interference call showed that Jackson's arms made contact with Pittsburgh's Chris Hope and that they separated afterward. Under the rules, pass interference took place but sometimes the call isn't made.
• The first TD of the game scored on a third-down rollout by Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger late in the first half. Roethlisberger appeared to come down short of the goal line, but it was unclear on replay whether he had gotten the ball to the line before going down. Referee Bill Leavy upheld the call because there was not enough incontrovertible evidence to overturn it.
• Holding call on Sean Locklear in the fourth: Locklear's penalty erased an 18-yard completion from Matt Hasselbeck to Jerramy Stevens to the Pittsburgh 1 that would have put the Seahawks in position to go ahead 17-14 with around 12 minutes left. It was a close call that was difficult to see on replay.
• One call that clearly appeared erroneous came after that penalty, when Hasselbeck threw an interception to Pittsburgh's Ike Taylor, then made the tackle but was called for a block below the waist, giving the Steelers an extra 15 yards. They scored soon afterward on a pass from Antwaan Randle El to Hines Ward. Replays showed Hasselbeck never made contact with the player he was supposed to have hit illegally, instead going straight to Taylor to make the tackle.
The Super Bowl crew headed by Leavy was comprised of officials who were graded best at each position during the regular season.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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