Can We Please for Once Get Some Good Officials in the Super Bowl?

Ari HoringSenior Analyst IFebruary 2, 2009

Can we please for once get some good officials in the Super Bowl?

We concentrate so much on the idea that players playing in the Super Bowl are nervous, we forget the officials can also be nervous participating in such a big game as well.

The last time the Steelers played in the Super Bowl, the referees made some awful calls that cost the Seahawks the game.

This time, the job by the officials on Sunday was just as pathetic.

I’m going to start my rant by talking about the one bad call that benefited the Cardinals. Ben Roethlisberger clearly scored a touchdown on the play that was reviewed on the Steelers’ first drive.

The NBC cameras even zoomed in after the call (Not the NBCee it) was already made, and you could see that Roethlisberger’s knees didn't touch the ground.

After the game, ESPN also zoomed in and showed there was space between his knee and the ground.

How could the referee really believe he had conclusive evidence to overturn the call?

On the Steelers' first drive of the second half, there were three questionable calls that helped the Steelers.

On the first penalty of that drive, how could the officials call that facemask penalty on Rodgers-Cromartie when Santonio Holmes was also holding his facemask?

Not that it even matters. The new rule in the NFL is that there are no incidental facemask calls of five yards, it's only 15 yards now.

But to get the 15-yard facemask call, it's specifically stated that the player's whose mask has been grabbed must have his head twisted in some way. That didn't happen here. It was incidental, which is no longer a penalty.

On the second penalty, the refs had no business even thinking about throwing the flag unless they were giving a penalty to Roethlisberger for intentional grounding. There was just clearly no roughing the passer on that play.

Plays like that happen all the time in all football games and it wasn’t even questionable. The sad part about that play was that the referees missed the real penalty on Roethlisberger.

On the roughing-the-holder call that kept the drive alive, it technically should have been called. The rule is in there to protect the holder. However, did it need to be called?

Could the refs have instead called running into the holder?

If you look at it the play closely, the defender was looking at the ground and when he noticed he was going to run into the holder, he tried to hold himself up, but it was too late. He didn’t tackle the holder, but he essentially fell into him.

Even so, if the refs don’t call that, is anyone going to complain?

Probably not and that’s why I believe the call shouldn’t have been made. That call could have been crucial in such a big game if the Steelers had scored a touchdown.

If nobody would have complained, why call it at all?    

Another call that bothered me but had no real affect game was Warner’s “fumble” on the first drive of the second half.

How could a ref have made that call? What if the Cardinals didn’t have any challenges left? It was so obvious that it was a incomplete pass, and whoever made the call was clearly not watching.

There were other calls I could complain about, like Roderick hood’s ticky-tac hold on Hines Ward in the fourth quarter or Santonio Homles' celebration, but what’s really bothering me is what happened at the end of the game.

I just can’t believe the refs did not review the last play of the game. Seriously? The last play of the NFL season was questionable, and the refs didn’t review it?

If they reviewed it, there was a great chance it would have been overturned because of the empty-hand rule.

Not to mention due to the penalty called on Lamar Woodley for taking his helmet off, the Cardinals would have had a realistic last chance from around the 35-yard line had the call been overturned.

The strange thing about that penalty is it showed the refs cared more about calling a meaningless penalty on Woodley than reviewing a play which could have affected the game.

Would the Cardinals still have probably lost? Probably, but why not give them the chance they earned?

There was only a little more time left in the NFL season and the refs could have waited another two minutes.

The Cardinals should have had one more chance, and the refs who made bad calls all game dropped the ball once again at the end.

I know bad calls happen all the time in the NFL and referees aren't perfect. However, even if you don't agree with all my interpretations of what should have been called, you can't deny that the referees should have been better.

The Super Bowl is most watched television event every year, and it doesn't make sense to me why the refs constantly mess up.

Are the best refs not in the game? Do the refs want to steal some of the spotlight? Are all refs Steelers fans? Or do they just get nervous on such a big stage?

I don’t know what the problem is, but it is inexcusable and something has got to be done to make sure the officials are better prepared for the Super Bowl in the future.

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