Roger Goodell and Jerome Boger.
Unsurprisingly, Super Bowl XLVII ended with some officiating controversy.
As a result, many can argue for and against Ray Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens' victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
Was Michael Crabtree held by Jimmy Smith?
That's just one call/no-call we'll check out ahead. Jerome Boger and his crew only called seven penalties, so they definitely let the players play. Allowing a bit too much, though, has led to more questions in the early aftermath.
Therefore, we ask: How did the officials grade out? Well, let's examine some of the turning points and decipher this puzzle.
This was clearly a fumble by LaMichael James and a crucial punch to the gut of San Francisco.
Down 7-3 and with the ball, San Francisco was driving and sniffing the red zone.
Instead, James tries to do a little too much and fellow rookie Courtney Upshaw forces a fumble. Baltimore recovers and the Ravens drive down to extend their lead, 14-3.
And how about Upshaw?
He goes from winning a BCS national title with Alabama in 2011 to a Super Bowl as a rookie with the Ravens in 2012.
It went from bad to worse for the 49ers.
After the LaMichael James fumble, Baltimore scored and San Francisco's offense once again took the field.
On the first play of this drive, Colin Kaepernick gets intercepted by Ed Reed. Then a brawl unfolds on the field and Baltimore's Cary Williams can be seen shoving an official.
The incident happens at the 30-second mark on the right side of screen. No flag, though, is given to Williams.
This sums up pro football's 2012 campaign in a nutshell, as the referees lacked control of the game—just like the replacement refs.
So thereafter, Baltimore drives down once again and goes up 21-3. That was a bad no-call, because Williams should have been ejected.
Facing a must-score situation late in the first half, San Francisco needed a break.
Well, here, Colin Kaepernick drops back and connects with Delanie Walker for 14 yards.
Haloti Ngata also hits Kaepernick after the pass, which tacks on 15 for roughing the passer. The 49ers finish the drive with a field goal from David Akers to pull them within 15 at the half, 21-6.
The flag could have gone either way, but the concern lies with the official's inconsistency.
Cary Williams gets nothing after deliberately shoving a ref; however, a questionable hit on the quarterback gets called in favor of San Francisco on its ensuing possession. In short, that inconsistency is what has sparked controversy in the wake of Super Bowl XLVII.
Simple call here when a defender makes contact with the kicker.
Baltimore didn't make many mistakes on Sunday, but this was one of them.
49ers kicker David Akers is attempting a 39-yard field goal and hooks it left. Fortunately for him, he is knocked off his feet right after the attempt. It could have been called roughing the kicker, but that would have been too extreme, as Akers isn't leveled out of his cleats.
So, the five-yard call was the correct decision.
Akers then takes advantage of the second try, this time from 34 yards, and connects. The make pulls San Francisco within five, 28-23.
On this play, Baltimore faced a 2nd-and-8 roughly halfway through in the fourth quarter.
Anquan Boldin catches a pass and is ruled ahead of the line to gain.
Jim Harbaugh makes a bold coach's challenge and argues that Boldin was short. He was.
The officials make the correct call reversal and the Ravens face a 3rd-and-1. Unfortunately for the Niners, Boldin makes a spectacular reception in tight coverage over Carlos Rogers. The catch moves the chains and Baltimore gets a field goal to end the drive.
Still, let's say the 49ers fend off the Ravens on that particular third down. The complexion of the game would have immensely changed. At the same time, the officials getting the call correct provided San Francisco with that opportunity.
On the 49ers' two-point-conversion attempt, Ed Reed lines up offside.
It's clear his helmet is over the line and breaking the parallel plane of the ball. No flag is thrown prior to the snap and Reed remains in position.
Next, we see Reed as the snap occurs.
There are two differences between this photo and the previous one:
- Check out the center in each picture. Here, he's in the midst of the snap and no one on San Francisco's offense is moving.
- Ed Reed is almost one yard past the line and well ahead of anyone on Baltimore.
The rest of the Ravens are onside, but Reed gets a no-call and ultimately a free hit on Colin Kaepernick. San Francisco did not convert the two-point attempt in hopes of tying the game.
Michael Crabtree was held by Jimmy Smith on 4th-and-goal.
That, however, doesn't always draw a flag in pro football.
Smith was grabbing, but he did let go. The debate is when he let go. Obviously, it occurred in the end zone and could have drawn a flag.
We could also argue that the pass was uncatchable. Then again, would Crabtree have made the catch had he not been held?
Based on how close Crabtree came after being held, chances are he scores. Throughout the game, we saw a variety of inconsistencies with calls, particularly flags, and they impacted the outcome.
It is also important to remember that the 49ers had their fair share of blown opportunities on dropped passes, misjudged chances for an interception, converted only 2-of-9 third downs and failed previously in the red zone.
So, we looked at seven vital calls that impacted the game and determined that Jerome Boger's crew could certainly have done a better job.
The end result, though, was not a direct effect of the officials.
Each team was given plenty of opportunities to capitalize on miscues and field position. There were too many "what ifs" regarding play calls. Take, for example, Baltimore's fake field-goal attempt.
Had the Ravens chosen to kick there or gotten the first down, it could've totally changed the way the game played out.
|Call (Flag, Turnover, Challenge)||Good||Bad|
|LaMichael James Fumble||1|
|Cary Williams Shoves Official||1|
|Haloti Ngata Roughing the Passer||2|
|Running into the kicker, David Akers||2|
|Anquan Boldin 1st Down, Play Reversed||3|
|Ed Reed Offside||3|
|Michael Crabtree Gets Held||4|
As for Boger and his crew, some key calls were made, but most will only remember the missed calls. They did let the players decide the end result for 60 minutes, which factors into the grade. The human element also plays a role, because no one is perfect.
Although we expect the officials to get every call correct, that's asking to be unrealistic. Not to mention the only chance of that would be to implement challenges/instant replays regarding penalties.
If nothing else, we can't ignore the irony of how the 2012 season concluded.
It began with controversy surrounding the replacement refs throughout the preseason and early regular season, and now ends with debate over the regular officials in the Super Bowl.