Some are saying it was the best Super Bowl ever, and I’m saying it was the worst. As exciting as the fourth quarter was, the whole thing was ruined for me by the worst officiating I’ve ever seen in a Super Bowl. Pittsburgh had a lot of help. If this was an NBA game, I would’ve been convinced it was fixed. I have a little more confidence in the NFL, but that’s the only thing stopping me from saying that.
Exhibit A – there was a clear and obvious block in the back on James Harrison’s length-of-the-field touchdown return. There’s seven points off the board. Exhibit B – an awful roughing the passer call that gave the Steelers a first down and eventually led to a field goal. That would’ve been a bad call in a regular season game, but was truly terrible in the Super Bowl.
Exhibit C – same drive, roughing the kick….field goal holder??? I’m not quite sure when that became a penalty. It sounds vaguely familiar, but that can’t be in keeping with the spirit of the rule, can it? He hardly roughed him up. Exhibit D – the first Kurt Warner fumble, that was overturned after a review. They got the call right, but it was so obvious that the Cardinals shouldn’t have had to waste a challenge on it.
Every one of those bother me, but I’m able to look past them. To not review a questionable fumble call, with seconds remaining in the game, the game being the freaking Super Bowl, is inexcusable. Initially I thought it was a fumble, and I understand the call. But the replay looked different. I thought the ball may still have been in his hand (and I wasn’t the only one) and that there was a real good chance the call was overturned. Needless to say I was pretty surprised when they didn’t bother to look at it!
NFL Head of Officials Mike Pereira’s lame excuse was that “the booth” reviewed it and found it to be a fumble. Well fantastic, but their job isn’t to make the calls, it’s to tell the actual referees who are working the game whether a call is close enough to take a look at. Clearly this was, if only for the importance of the moment. Say the Cardinals get the ball back, plus the 15 yard penalty for taking of a helmet, you’re looking at a 29-yard toss into the endzone with Larry Fitzgerald on your side. It’s a long shot, sure, but it would’ve had a chance, and sure would’ve been fun.
In the interest of full disclosure, I was rooting for the Cardinals. But in general, I’m more of a Steelers fan. I just thought it was a better story if Arizona finally won a championship. (Side note: It also bothered me that the Super Bowl winning team had three different players throw punches in the game. Has that ever happened before? Stay classy, Pittsburgh.) I’m not saying the Steelers don’t deserve it. But that left a real bad taste in my mouth.