If it wasn't bad enough that the Seattle Seahawks had to take on a Pittsburgh Steelers team that finished third in scoring defense and fifth in scoring differential in Super Bowl XL, they also had to take on an officiating unit that seemed to have it out for them.
There was not just one call that made a difference in Pittsburgh's 21-10 victory. No, there were at least three different questionable calls that went to the winning team.
Super Bowl XL was among the most controversially officiated games in Super Bowl history.
An early offensive pass interference call against Seattle took seven points off the board. Later in the game, a "phantom" holding call took another seven points off the board.
In addition, officials allowed a one-yard touchdown run by Ben Roethlisbeger when it wasn't even conclusive on replay.
Overall, there were three or four calls that handed Pittsburgh a minimum of 14 points, or so many skeptics of the officiating crew believed.
Outside of mistakes by the officials, it looks like Seattle outplayed its opponent in this one:
Super Bowl XL Box Score
|Team ||1st Downs ||Time of Possession ||Total Yards
|Seattle ||20 ||33:02 ||396
|Pittsburgh ||14 ||26:58 ||339
For his part, head official Bill Leavy came out in 2010 and admitted to missing some calls:
It was a tough thing for me. I kicked two calls in the fourth quarter and I impacted the game and as an official you never want to do that. It left me with a lot of sleepless nights and I think about it constantly. I'll go to my grave wishing that I'd been better. I know that I did my best at that time, but it wasn't good enough. When we make mistakes, you've got to step up and own them. It's something that all officials have to deal with, but unfortunately when you have to deal with it in the Super Bowl, it's difficult.
While it's great to see an official admit mistakes that might have cost a team the Super Bowl, I am pretty sure fans in the Pacific Northwest will not give him a mulligan anytime soon.