Who wouldn't have loved to be inside official Bill Leavy's head when he received his Week 2 NFL assignment? The man at the center of controversy in Super Bowl XL will again officiate a critical Seahawks-Steelers showdown.
While the magnitude of the pending affair pales by comparison, the odd coincidence serves as a catalyst for good and bad memories alike to rush back into the minds of those whose feelings were at stake that fateful night.
Fans in Pittsburgh say to get over it. Loyal Seahawks backers cannot get past it. February 5, 2006 conjures a dichotomy of emotions, ranging from nostalgia to regret, depending on which side of the championship loyalties rested.
As the two teams prepare to face off this Sunday for the second time since that fateful evening, fans differ on their perspective. While many choose to focus on the matchups of a new contest, dissecting each team's current strengths and weaknesses, others can't (or won't) let Super Bowl XL completely rest on its page in history, arguing for or against an asterisk that will never stamp itself.
No matter which perspective you support, it cannot be argued that the rivalry amongst fans heading into this key battle of 0-1 squads largely stems from the events of that winter night over a half decade ago.
The rosters have changed, but the memories fuel the intensity of the affair. Pittsburgh passion tells a tale of tough but correct and fair calls against an opponent that came up short in the clutch. Seattle skepticism speaks to the terrible officiating of Bill Leavy, whose timely and controversial (if not altogether wrong) decisions turned the game in the Steelers' favor.
While both fan bases have waged a battle over the game's outcome, few recaps of these events have taken a fair and unbiased look at every debated moment in the NFL's pinnacle game of the 2005-06 season. Ahead is an examination of these controversies, followed by an overview of the end result.
In truth, tomorrow's game will not put to rest any Super Bowl demons, nor will it end the northwestern notion of a fix. Yet, just as a 21-0 shellacking of Seattle gave Steelers fans reason to respond with a boisterous "I told you so!," tomorrow's affair will ultimately be another chance for Seattle fans to strike back, albeit never so damagingly as at Ford Field on an equally cold (Seattle) and warm (Pittsburgh) Detroit night.
Hopefully, breaking down the events as they happen will at least appease those in the masses who desire for the truth, and perhaps even pacify those passionate cries of "Foul!" all these years later.