Close But No Cigar

For about 2 minutes yesterday it looked like the improbable might happen - the Arizona Cardinals would be crowned Super Bowl champs and decades of angst for Cardinals fans would come to an end. I wonder how many Cardinals fans were like me as they cheered the Warner to Fitzgerald touchdown? I just couldn't manage to push the memory of the 1997 Rose Bowl out of the back of my mind.

I'm not going to use the officiating as an excuse. The fact of the matter is that if Arizona's drive at the end of the first half had not come to the horrid conclusion it did or if the Cardinals had been able to stop the Steelers in the last two and half minutes and the the rest of the game had played out exactly as it did, Cardinals players would be lifting the trophy today.

Having said that, I don't think anyone other than the most disingenuous among us would call yesterday's Super Bowl a well-officiated game. There is always just as much room for analysis of the officials' performance as there is of the players'. Both affect the quality of the game. I'll admit I'm not unbiased, but when a questionable call is made I do try and turn the tables and look at it from a different point of view: if the call had gone against the opponent instead of my team would I feel like I had been given a gift? In at least 5 instances the answer was yes.

1. The grounding non-call. If Big Ben was out of the pocket then that's a mighty small pocket the refs are looking at. I'd say the pants were a Petite Size 1.

2. Roughing the passer. Oh. My. God. I'm still speechless over this one.

3. Running over the holder. Say what? Seriously, it would have not been unreasonable to include intent as a consideration in this call. The only reason I bring this up (the drive still ended with a field goal) is because there were guys on the field that got away with literally punching and kicking other players while they were laying on the ground. I know that if you paid attention and watched the whole game then you saw it, too.

4. The chop block. A chop block occurs when one player takes another player's legs out from under him while he's otherwise engaged by another player. I'll just say they got it half right and leave it at that.

5. The non-review fumble. It might not have made any difference, but the play should have been reviewed by the booth just as the earlier similar play had.

I'm sure that Steelers fans might have some complaints of their own. I'll admit I wasn't as interested in their point of view as mine. The bottom line is that the officiating in the NFL has pretty much sucked all year - even with the benefit of instant replay. But the Steelers won the game on a brilliant final drive, and that accomplishment is no less amazing.

Congrats to the Champs.
2 Responses
  1. Cathi Says:

    We had a house full of people cheering for the Cardinals - I truly thought they would pull it off...I even caught a few questionable calls myself....It was a good game to watch especially the last quarter....XXOO

  2. Eileen Says:

    I am by no means a football expert but it did seem to me like there were an awful lot of personal fouls called. In a game like that, with all of the intensity, I would thing the refs would just let things play out unless there were injuries involved. Anyway it was a very fun game and I am glad I watched it. It is hard when you are so close to victory. Go Cards!!!!!

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