The Pulse: Unnecessary Officiating
Welcome to The Pulse, the place to find out what the sports world is thinking. Every day on ESPN.com, SportsNation registers its opinion on a wide range of topics by casting votes and chatting with experts in The Show. We collect the daily highlights and put them in The Pulse.
|Bill Leavy wasn't the only unhappy viewer.|
By beating the Seattle Seahawks 21-10, the Steelers gave Jerome Bettis the perfect parting gift as the burly running back heads into retirement. The Steelers also became just the third franchise to win a fifth Super Bowl, although SportsNation voters still rank them behind the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys for dominance during the Super Bowl era.
But while Pittsburgh fans can revel in the moment of Antwaan Randle El's strike to Hines Ward and savor the historical significance of Ben Roethlisberger's first title, most of SportsNation appears a little put out with Sunday's show (and not just the part involving the Rolling Stones). More than half of SportsNation voters didn't enjoy the game and nearly 62 percent think officiating mistakes affected the outcome.
Did you enjoy the Super Bowl this year? (18,231 votes)
Do you think officiating mistakes affected the outcome of Super Bowl XL? (103,167 votes)
Which is the best franchise of the Super Bowl era? (53,176 votes)
30.1% San Francisco 49ers
23.4% Dallas Cowboys
21.5% Pittsburgh Steelers
15.5% New England Patriots
9.2% Green Bay Packers
What was the biggest play of the game? (54,243 votes)
40.1% Antwaan Randle El's TD pass to Hines Ward
30.4% Willie Parker's 75-yard TD run
14.6% Ben Roethlisberger's disputed TD run
12.0% Matt Hasselbeck's interception in fourth quarter
2.3% Seahawks wasting time on final drive of first half
0.6% Hasselbeck's fumble in the fourth quarter
|Did Roethlisberger get in?|
So exactly what is the source of all this grumbling? Start with a pair of contested touchdowns.
With the game awaiting its first score, Seattle receiver Darrell Jackson appeared to haul in a touchdown to top off his active first quarter. But the points came off the board when Jackson was flagged for pushing off on the defender as Matt Hasselbeck scrambled away from pressure. Offensive pass interference? Not according to 74 percent of SportsNation voters.
Later in the first half, Ben Roethlisberger put the Steelers ahead to stay with a one-yard touchdown plunge. Or did he? The official who signaled for the score at first appeared to be spotting the ball short. And while 15 percent of voters admit they're still not sure if the ball ever broke the plane, 59 percent say the call, and the subsequent instant replay, got it wrong.
Which played the biggest role in determining the outcome of the game? (118,130 votes)
57.5% Officials missing calls
28.3% Seahawks not making plays
14.2% Steelers making plays
As for the overall officiating product, 87% of voters think making the zebras full-time would improve a group who 45% rated as either "bad" or "abysmal" this season.
What grade would you give referee Bill Leavy's officiating crew for Super Bowl XL? (118,130 votes)
Do you think the official made the right call on Darrell Jackson's offensive pass interference in the endzone, negating a Seattle touchdown in the first quarter? (118,130 votes)
5.7% I'm not sure
Do you think the football broke the plane of the goal line on Ben Roethlisberger's touchdown run in the second quarter? (118,130 votes)
14.8% I'm not sure
Do you think the official made the right call on Sean Locklear's holding penalty in the fourth quarter, negating an 18-yard reception to the one-yard line by Jerramy Stevens? (118,130 votes)
10.4% I'm not sure
So how about the commercials? Anheuser-Busch was the clear winner with voters, earning four of the top five spots for best commercial, including the top-rated ''Magic Fridge'' spot.
Let's rename the NFL the WW-NFL; that way we won't be surprised when the game is fixed. They REALLY need to do something about the officials; they've screwed up this whole year and topped it off with a Super (Let's Show Favorites) Bowl. I'm not a fan of either team, but I was hoping to see a good game, not one decided by the zebras. I was VERY disappointed.
Art (Frederick, Md.)
What kind of officiating was that? Absolutely terrible calls that killed Seattle's chances of winning. If those penalties were called against Pittsburgh, people would be screaming murder today.
I am not a Steelers or Seahawks fan, but I have to say that this was one of the worst-officiated Super Bowls I've seen in a long time. It was sad to see the refs have an impact on what would have been a great game.
The refs might have made some bad calls, but Seattle didn't exactly help their cause by dropping passes, missing field goals and awful two minute drills. They had their chances to win the game.
Wow, despite all the drinking at Super Bowl parties yesterday, there's apparently still plenty of whine left over!
Mike (Washington, D.C.)
Perception is reality. The calls the refs made were, by the rule book, not incorrect. But by all of them being called on Seattle, it is open to criticism and discussion.
Even if the Seahawks did not take advantage of their other opportunities, the officials should not be overly visible in a game. This is a problem that existed all year. The NFL has to do something about the bad officiating this season.
Jeremy Green: This might be one of the worst-officiated games in Super Bowl history. Every call they want to make, they should just go the opposite direction.
Gary Horton: From the replays I saw, I don't think [Roethlisberger] was in. I think he touched down before he crossed the plane. But the call that really confuses me is that they didn't review the potential Darrell Jackson TD catch. He was closer to being in than we thought.