Steelers-Ravens: Paid Ref Says What?

Leo HayesCorrespondent IJanuary 19, 2009

To preface this article, I am a Steelers fan. I have and always will support my team.

With that being said, I have already, not even five hours after the game, heard Ravens fans complaining about bad officiating. If that is not you, this article is not intended for you.

If, on the other hand, that was you, I will have to ask when your brain transplant surgery is scheduled.

During this game, the Steelers were vastly outplaying the Ravens. By the end of the first half, the Ravens had only had one drive with any first downs. The Steelers, on the other hand, had several good drives.

The refs, however, weren't having any of that. I don't know why, but the NFL did not want the Steelers to win this game.

I will start this article with the obvious. Santonio Holmes scored a touchdown. If you do not think that is a catch, please provide me with a definition of a catch in which a defender contacting the receiver, taking three steps, and reaching the ball across the goal line does not qualify.

If you can find one, the Ravens probably would not have completed any passes and would have lost by even more.

Now, we will move to my favorite—the James Harrison holding no-calls. This song has been sung. I don't need to go into it.

What's interesting to me is that in a league which loves to protect the quarterback, no defender gets called for roughing Big Ben. Seeing as he is hit more than any other quarterback, you would think that someone would get there a little late.

Well, the Ravens did—several times. No penalties were called.

At one particular point in the game, Kemoeatu was called for a personal foul. The defender had pushed Kemoeatu's helmet up and forced his face mask into his face. Kemoeatu gave him a little push.

Meanwhile, Ray Lewis came in and gave Willie Parker who was on the ground at the time a late hit. That wasn't called. Kemoeatu's push was.

The roughing-the-kicker call against Berger was bad. However, as bad as it was, there were at least two other times it should have been called and wasn't. I figure Baltimore should be happy it wasn't worse for them.

On both of Baltimore's scoring drives, there were pass interference calls that kept the drive going.

The call against Ike Taylor can be justified but was wrong. The receiver could not have in any world (with our laws of physics) caught the pass. It hit Taylor in the back. Unless the receiver can phase his hands through solid objects, he wasn't catching the pass.

Ike, however, did not touch the receiver. He flailed his arms about in an attempt to bat the ball down. Okay, if that is pass interference, I can live with it.

On the other hand, the other call was, well, uhh, I cannot really think of a good adjective. Harrison was at least five yards from the receiver. Unless he is so good that he can telepathically prevent a receiver from catching a ball, he didn't commit a penalty.

Baltimore would, in all likelihood, have scored a field goal on this drive.

I have heard accusations that Ryan Clark's hit on Willis McGahee was helmet-to-helmet. If Clark put his helmet on his shoulder pad, then you are right. Otherwise, it was technically a shoulder-to-helmet, which is perfectly legal. This is because Clark lead with his shoulder and McGahee lowered his head to cause the helmets to collide.

I have also heard that the fumble by McGahee was not a fumble. The ball hit the ground before any part of McGahee's body other than his feet, but after he established possession. Unless we use the new definition of a catch, that three steps and reaching for the ball isn't possession.

Ladies and gentlemen, that is a fumble!

With all of these calls listed above, the score should have been at least a 27-3 blowout in Pittsburgh's favor—most likely even greater from the Steelers' perspective.

Now if you can prove to me that the refs somehow favored Pittsburgh in this contest, I will delete this article, leave this Web site, and mail you $100.

Alternatively, if you can prove that Baltimore somehow deserved to win this game, but was robbed, I will do all of the above and double the monetary amount.