February 06, 2006

Stupor Bowl

by psu

First things first. Steelers win! Woohoo!! Yeeeaaaahhhh!!!.

Now that that's out of the way, I think we all have to admit that this was, on balance, a sub-par performance by everyone involved. Let's catalog our collection of complaints.

The Refs

While the refs did not blow it on the scale of the NE-Denver or PGH-Indy games, overall it was a pretty sad showing. A lot of boring ticky-tack bullshit. I don't think there was enough there to turn the outcome, and if you are going to win a championship, you have to win despite bad calls. Still, one expects more.

The Ads

Who can remember even one decent one in the whole bunch? I was a bit mesmerized by how pretty everything looked in HD. But, from a content standpoint I can't remember even one ad that made me break out in even half a giggle. There were even multiple lame repeats from last year.

Finally, I think there should be a moratorium on go-daddy ads. The next network I see one of those on should be fined for the price of the ad slot. Jesus.

The Game

Neither team played close to as well as they are capable of playing. Watching this game, you'd have no idea that Pittsburgh was known for a punishing blitzing defense, or that Alexander was the league MVP, or that Seattle had one of the highest scoring and efficient offenses in the league. Pittsburgh managed to win because they got lucky and they showed their real selves a few more times than Seattle. That, and they had Hines Ward, my favorite Steeler by far, to throw the ball to whenever they needed a big play.

So, I'll take the win for my adopted favorite team (go Pats!), and I will feel happy for my adopted home town of lo these many years (I've been back here almost as long as Cowher has coached the team). But, I have to say that I've seen better football. Two weeks ago in the Championship games.



Posted by psu at February 6, 2006 06:49 PM | Bookmark This

Hmm. I know you guys are in Pittsburgh, so this probably won't even register, or sound sacreligious but still.

First - I am not a Seahawk fan. I don't know from the Seahawks. I like Seattle, it's a neat town, but I'm no fan. I'm not a Steeler hater - I admire them for their generally honorable behavior over the years. I like Bettis, I like Cowher. (I think Big Ben is sort of a young turd, but he might grow out of it.) Ok, just wanted to make it clear I have no axe to grind here.



They certainly should have, because there's no way they're winning without them.

21 pts essentially thrown Pittsburgh's way. (Your non-ref final score? Seattle 24 - Pitt 17.) Let's look:

1. The Darrell Jackson touchdown - if that's pushing off then every WR in the NFL does it on EVERY SINGLE PLAY.

2. The Roethlisberger TD - no, I think he got in. It was the scrambling pass that got them to the goaline I object to. It was a real John Elway Special - thrown after crossing the line of scrimmage, then praised to the skies.

3. The pass to Stevens (a rare one that he didn't drop) to the 1 yd line called back. Holding? Where? They say every NFL play has holding in it, and it might be true. Except for this one, there was no holding anywhere.

And now for the gratuitous Steeler aiding calls the refs threw in for fun:

1. They penalized Hasselbeck 15yds after the INT for what, exactly?

2. Everytime Seattle looked to develop a good runback on a kick my father-in-law would say - "here comes a flag" and every time he was right. Even John Madden puff a ticky-tack nothing into a penalty on some of them. There just wasn't anything there.

3. Horse collar tackle penalty? Not if you're a Steeler.

4. Leading with your head, helmet to helmet - not if you're a pro bowl Steeler LB.

It really got to be so that we could safely call a penalty ahead of time on any good Seahawk play that didn't go against the normal flow of the game. Well, they couldn't call the Stevens TD back because no-one was even vaguely nearby to have been pushed.

I'm a huge NFL fan, and that game left me sick, and wondering if the fix is in on ALL the games. Really.

So enjoy Pittsburgh! You "earned" it!

Posted by Will C at February 6, 2006 07:57 PM


Posted by at February 6, 2006 07:59 PM

Will, I think your #2 indicates that you were watching a different game.. or your TV is defective. See, in football, they have hash marks and bright white lines on the field that tell you where the ball started and where the players are. This is an easy way to tell whether or not Ben crossed the 40 yard line (the line of scrimmage at the time) before he passed the ball.

Posted by psu at February 6, 2006 10:42 PM

I've heard something to that effect regarding football. As I understand the rules it's penalty to throw a forward pass beyond the line of scrimmage (5ys, loss of down). (Unless you are John Elway. )

What I believe is that touching the line counts as over, though it may be allowable to cross the line and return back behind it to throw, but it may not. The NFL, helpfully, only offers a "digest" of it's rulebook online, not the whole thing. The digest is silent on crossing the line and then returning behind it to throw a pass.

I think if you use your uber-tv to look again, you'll see Ben-Ro put his foot onto the line of scrimmage, which is not always, by the way, exactly where the chalk lines are, sometimes it's in between them.

It's a little thing, and I'm not completely sure of it. Sure enough to argue on the internet, I guess, but I dirgress...

If Pittsburgh gets a TD call at the goal line for the ball crossing by the tiniest of margins, and I THINK it did, then they should have had this called. It's the same margin and they shouldn't get the call both ways.

If you have the game tivo-ed take another look, and try to look, as much as it's possible, where the ball is set up, and not the video line. I'm not being argumentative for the sake of it, truly.

Posted by Will C at February 7, 2006 12:11 AM

Will C wrote: "If you have the game tivo-ed take another look, and try to look, as much as it's possible, where the ball is set up, and not the video line. I'm not being argumentative for the sake of it, truly."

I reviewed the play in question. Before the snap the ball was centered on the 40-yard line. After the snap, Ben remained behind the 40. He never crossed or touched it. The closest he came was when he planted his foot for the pass, but if you single-frame through the footage, you can see grass between his toe and the line until the pass is away.

I'll email peterb the three video frames that represent the "decisive moments":
01 - Q2:04:01 - ball on the 40 before snap
02 - Q2:03:51 - Ben plants foot for pass
03 - Q2:03:51 - ball is away

About 0.1 second has elapsed between frames 02 and 03.


Posted by Tom Moertel at February 7, 2006 10:06 AM

I've seen a lot of whining on the web about how
the refs cost the Seahawks the game and it sickens
me. yes, some of the calls were ticky tack calls
but the naysayers seem to have selective memory.
They don't remember
- the false starts on Pittsburgh that knocked us
out of rythem in the 1st quarter
- the no flag on the helmet-to-helmet hit on ward
by a seahawk DB in the 2nd quarter. The seahawk DB
had to leave the game after that hit ironically
- The no fumble on stevens when he clearly caught
the ball and fumbled
- the ticky tack pass interference call on heath
miller in the 2nd quarter that pushed us out of
FG range
- the blatant holds by seattle that were *not* called

yes we got the benefit of a few calls and the
penalty on hasslebeck was ridiculous (the only call
I thought was completely bogus. the others were
ticky tack but you could call them), but we still made
the big plays when we needed to and won the game.
I thought the steelers might have also got away
with a few more false starts that were not called

I mean it must be the refs faults that seattle
- couldn't stop 3rd and ridiculous
- gave up a 75 yard rushing TD
- gave up a TD on the same trick play we used
against the browns
- hasslebeck threw 2 lame duck throws to Ike Taylor.
the media conveniently forgot the first throw
because Ike can't catch. Pittsburgh should have won
the turnover battle with those 2 picks and the fumble
or at least tied it.

Posted by Rajesh at February 7, 2006 10:42 AM

also forgot to add that the refs gave Ben a ridiculously
short spot on his run in the 4th quarter. luckily
he made the 1st down by at least a yard so even with
the bad spot, we still made the first down by inches.

seattle might have also had a bad spot in the 2nd quarter
on a short pass and run by mack strong on 3rd down

Posted by Rajesh at February 7, 2006 10:47 AM

Thanks, Tom. I've uploaded that video capture to flickr, with some minimal processing in Photoshop (edge detection/sharpening, nothing that should change what is "actually" there).

He is clearly very, very close to the line, but not touching it.

What does "ticky-tack" mean?

Posted by peterb at February 7, 2006 11:05 AM

Ticky-tack means what it sounds like. It means that the refs called something that normally would be thought of as allowable or incidental contact. It would be like getting a foul in soccer for nothing more than a light push.

Being happy about ticky-tack calls means you are gay.

Posted by psu at February 7, 2006 11:55 AM

Well, then, I retract my claim that Ben-Ro threw the pass from over the line of scrimmage. It sure looked like it to me, but with the photoshop doctored evidence before me, it looks like he juuuuust managed to not go over the line of scrimmage. Probably.

Now, for Rajesh - Pittsburgh at no time had 1 actual TD taken away, nor a completion to the 1 yd line, which I believe with Seattle's line and MVP back would most likely have resulted in a TD. This did not happen to Pittsburgh, despite whatever else may have occurred.

It did, in fact, happen to the Seahawks. I think it is pretty damn significant to the outcome of the game. The other incidents Rajesh mentions above are simply not on a comparable scale or are part of normal football play. Minus -14 points in a game decided by 11 seems important.

And a case can be made for a Darrell Jackson TD around the half, as touching the pylon while going out of bounds counts as "in the end zone" in all other NFL games. Perhaps that play should have been reviewed. Pittsburgh gets the close call on a TD, Seattle doesn't even get a review? Yikes.

That said, well, it's over. Pittsburgh is champion and for their middle two playoff games, they really impressed me. We'll never know what the Bengals game might have been like with Cincy's realy QB, and I think I've made my feelings known of the superbowl.

So that's that. But it may take a long while to get the taste of this one out of my mouth.

PS- Any team that fields Troy "The Spearingest Player Since Ronnie Lott, or maybe, Steve Atwater" Polamalu really shouldn't complain about helmet-to-helmet hits. He's an excellent player, but whenever possible, he leads with his helmet. This often results in unflagged helmet to helmet hits. I made this observation midway through the season to a friend, it doesn't have anything to do with superbowl bickering.

Posted by at February 8, 2006 04:21 AM

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