They stuck it out and came away with another title over the Cardinals in perhaps the most exciting Super Bowl since, well, last year. Before that, it's hard to top the past two years.
Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner deserves a Hall of Fame spot after the performance he put on against the Steelers vaunted defense. 377 yards and three touchdowns against the best defense in the league?
Forget that he lost the game, and those all Hall of Fame clutch numbers. He had nothing to do with the final drive where the Cardinals basically fell flat.
That said, let's get to why this was the worst officiated Super Bowl in memory.
For starters,the 15-yard roughing the passer penalty on Roethlisberger was insane. Dansby did nothing wrong when going after Roethlisberger in the third quarter. His hand was still going in a downward motion at the moment of contact. Last time I checked, this does not constitute roughing the passer.
Secondly, Willie Parker's "phantom 1-yard run". With three minutes left in the game and the Steelers backed up as far as they can be, they do a run up the middle with Parker. His momentum is stopped in the yellow of the end zone. Replays showed his knee was down in the end zone before the entire ball came out of the end zone. That is called a safety in this league. Then, the referees screwed it up even more when they gave him a very generous spot about half a yard past where he put the ball.
Thirdly, the scuff James Harrison versus Aaron Francisco. With five minutes left in the game, the Cardinals are punting. James Harrison lines up against Aaron Francisco. Harrison then proceeds to punch him three times and shove Francisco to the ground. The referees were right in the call, but not the timing. First, the first punch was thrown before the kick was off, which would make it a first down for Arizona after a 15-yard penalty. The penalty didn't even hurt Pittsburgh because it only set them back about a foot. Second, I actually agree with John Madden that Harrison should have been thrown out of the game. You don't punch a guy three times, shove him to the ground, then stand over him gloating, and get a slap-on-the-wrist penalty. James, I love ya—we went to the same college, but come on. You're better than that.
Lastly, why wasn't the last play at least reviewed? The most important play of the game in the most important game of the season and a very questionable call and you don't even take a second look at it? Warner's arm looked like it could have been coming forward, but no review came.
Although I disagree very highly with conspiracies, look at the four plays I mentioned above. Each play favored Pittsburgh. Plain and simple, Arizona—you got screwed.
As a sidenote, look up December 16, 2001—Browns vs. Jaguars. Look at what happened and who was officiating that game.
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