Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Oh, grow up already

Mike Holmgren - your Seattle Seahawks lost the Super Bowl! You're not going to Disney World! What are you going to do? Blame the refs!

"We knew it was going to be tough going up against the Pittsburgh Steelers," Holmgren said. "I didn't know we were going to have to play the guys in the striped shirts as well."

Bad form, Mike. For fun, let's go over the calls -

1st quarter - offensive interference in end zone. Touchy. Let's give you the seven instead of the three you settled for.

2nd quarter - touchdown, Pittsburgh. The ball barely barely crossed the line. To Seattle, this must have seemed a replay of the infamous "touchdown" by Vinnie Testaverde that helped keep the Seahawks out of the 1998 playoffs.* But this was much closer, and given the evidence, the ref could not overturn the call. (My first impression at full-speed was that he didn't get in, which left the ball a midget's whisker from the touchdown. But it's a matter of a centimeter. You need to let this go.)

4th quarter - holding erases a first down at the 1-yard line. It wasn't as bad as the 3rd-quarter hold that similarly erased a big play, but it was definitely a hold. The guy was parallel to the ground and couldn't fall because the lineman had him tied up. That's not blocking.

4th quarter - the low block on the INT return - that was a bad call. Hasselbeck took down the ballcarrier legally. But that's still Pittsburgh's ball, right? And on the option pass from Randle El to Ward, nobody was near catching him. All that means is that Ward has to run an extra fifteen yards before scoring.

All that still leaves the Seahawks short at the end. But, no, it was the refs, right, Mike?

Apparently, a ref kidnapped Jerramy Stevens and wore his uniform, dropping all of those passes. Officials subbed for both your kickers, missing two field goal tries and punting into the end zone four times. A ref butchered the clock at the end of each half, costing your team 14 possible points. Somehow they commandeered your headset and called 55 pass plays, not including plays erased by penalty. (Hasselbeck scrambled three times and was sacked three others.) A ref limited the league's leading rusher and MVP to 20 carries behind your dominant offensive line. Then with 6:30 left in the game, trailing by two scores, a ref ordered you to punt from near midfield instead of trying for first down. (One of those other refs promptly knocked it into the end zone and gave Pittsburgh the ball at the 20.)

Complaining afterwards isn't a better plan that the one you had during the game. But maybe you agree with fans at the rally:

Teenagers Malissa Dunn, Nickey Horgan and Gena Copley took a parents-sanctioned day off from school to paint their faces blue and green and score front-row seats. "We won in our hearts," said Horgan, 15. "We're still No. 1." [emphasis mine]

Are you sure? The scoreboard kinda says something different. "We won in our hearts." That and 3 bucks gets you a decaf latte.

*Wow, '98? That seemed more recent. I remember it mostly because the "tackle" was made by Rutgers alum Jay Bellamy, who is still in the league.

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