After watching the NFL Replay version of the Dolphins-Steelers game, I'm convinced that if you looked up the word chutzpah in the dictionary, there would be a picture of the Miami Dolphins and their fans.
Start with the opening kickoff. Why is it that no one even mentioned that Sanders' fumble was caused when the Dolphins' Lex Hilliard aimed his helmet and gave Sanders a left cross to the face?
I realize that Oct. 17 must seem like a long time ago, but wasn't the NFL going to crack down on helmet-to-helmet hits? Especially if they are deliberate?
Then there was the second "fumble." Roethlisberger has one defender on his right leg, and a second defender wrapped around his body, pinning his upper arms. There is no whistle, because he's Big Ben, he can make something happen.
So he tries. He sees Isaac Redman standing a few feet away and tries to flip the ball to him. It falls short and a Dolphin jumps on it. Despite the fact that it was obvious what he was trying to do, this is ruled a fumble and not an incomplete pass.
Let's move on to the Dolphins' lone touchdown. On this particular play, Troy Polamalu came free on a blitz and has a clear path to the quarterback.
Fortunately for Miami, a nearby lineman reached out, grabbed him around the waist and tackled him. Then he sat on him for good measure. At this point, I'm thinking that the Dolphins have nothing to complain about regarding the officiating.
Now finally, the famous play at the end of the game. I kept waiting for the replay that showed conclusively that the ball was out before he broke the plane. I'm still waiting.
On the goal-line camera, you can't see the ball come free until after Roethlisberger hits the ground.
On the end-zone camera, there is a small space between the goal line and the ball, but from that angle, you can't tell the difference between horizontal space and vertical space.
They look the same. I can't believe that parallax is considered conclusive evidence. The fact is that there wasn't enough evidence to overturn the call on the field.
The problem is that without all the help that Miami got from the officials, the Steelers bury them. It seems to me based on this game and others (most notably SB XLIII), that the NFL goes out of its way to avoid showing favoritism to the league's most popular team.
They don't want to show favoritism, so they end up being harder on the Steelers than they are on everyone else. For example, I’ll wait to see if Lex Hilliard gets fined. But I won't hold my breath.
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