Sunday night, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens got together for their second meeting of the year. It was one hell of a game, to say the least. It was basically a playoff game, played by two very good teams, in a playoff atmosphere.
It was another prime example of why the Ravens-Steelers rivalry is the best that the NFL has to offer. It mixes old-time football, played with passion and grit, with great skilled and talented players on both sides of the ball.
Yet, the officials did their best to try to ruin the game. They missed a few big calls but none were a bigger miss on than the Heath Miller hit. In the third quarter, Miller attempted to catch a pass and was took a viscous hit by Ravens linebacker Jameel McClain. The hit was obviously against the rules as Miller was in a defenseless position and was stuck in the head, forcing his neck to bend back in an awkward position.
At the time of the hit, I thought that Miller was going to be severely injured. Thankfully, I was wrong, as the hit obviously looked a lot worse than it really was. Miller did suffer a concussion and was knocked out of the game. He looked lost and I don't expect him to be play in the Steelers' next game against the Cincinnati Benglas.
Despite it being on obvious penalty, there was no flag on the play. How could that be? Everyone in the stadium saw it. Everyone knew it was a penalty. I thought the NFL was supposed be cracking down on these type of plays?
As a Steelers fan, I have to ask myself, what if that were James Harrison that made that hit? I would have to expect a flag and maybe even an ejection. I'm also sure that Harrison would have been given a maximum fine and most likely would have faced a suspension.
There was even a shot of Harrison talking to James Farrior after the Miller hit took place and you could read his lips saying, "Could you imagine if that were me?"
Even thought that was the most egregious foul committed last night with a non-call by the refs, there was another blatant foul committed that went without a flag. In the first quarter, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was hit in the face by Ravens defensive lineman Haloti Ngata. Roethlisberger's nose was broken as a result of the play.
Not only are you not allowed to hit anyone in the head or face with your hands, the rules are even more strict for quarterbacks. In a day and age where the QB position is protected more than any other in pro sports, you would think that there would have been a flag. Well, there wasn't. Just some more ammo for the Steelers, their fans, and conspiracy theorists.
Imagine if it were Petyon Manning or Tom Brady getting hit in the face. Don't you think there would have been a flag? I'm sure there would have been. Is it because Roethlisberger is a big and tough quarterback, or does the NFL just have it out for him?
Big Ben and the Steelers did get the last laugh, pulling off a big win, but these missed calls are simply unacceptable. Whether there is a real conspiracy against the Steelers or it's just human error, the officiating has to better. There has to be more punishment for the refs when they do a poor job, whether it be a fine or suspension.
I just don't think it's fair to the fans or the players for a great game like last night's game to be ruined by horrible officiating.
You can read this article and much more of my work at the very popular Pittsburgh sports blog 412 sportstalk with Mad Chad