How else can you explain the end of yesterday’s slugfest between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals?
With five seconds left, Pittsburgh got the benefit of a questionable call after linebacker LaMarr Woodley got his hand on the football as Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner was preparing to throw. The ball came loose, Pittsburgh recovered what was ruled a fumble, and on the next play kneeled down for the win.
What’s wrong with this picture?
First of all, I thought Warner had possession of the ball as his arm was moving forward in the throwing motion, which would have resulted in an incomplete pass rather than a fumble. Kurt Warner agrees with me.
“I was really surprised on that one because I was definitely moving my arm forward to throw the ball,” Warner said.
The stranger incident occurred after the play. There was no booth review on what was obviously a very close call – a very close call in the biggest game of the season.
Of course, the NFL dished out a steaming plate of bullshit after the game, saying that officials in the replay booth confirmed the fumble.
“We confirmed it was a fumble,” NFL VP of Officiating Mike Pereira told NBC. “The replay assistant in the replay booth saw it was clearly a fumble. The ball got knocked loose and was rolling in his hand before it started forward. He has to have total control.”
Total control? I didn’t know there was anything else besides having control and not having control. Can you have half control? 7/8 control?
It certainly looked to me as if Warner, despite having Woodley draped on his arm, was in the process of going forward in his passing motion. It may not have been the most picturesque throwing motion, due to Woodley, but Warner somehow seemed to maintain possession of the ball just long enough into said motion.
However, whether the call was right or wrong is moot in this case. The thing that makes my blood boil is there was no official review.
Did such a close call not deserve a little more scrutiny than it got? Did the officiating crew forget the concept of due diligence? Was it too inconvenient for the replay officials to do the job they get paid for to its full extent?
Why not take a look? It was a CLOSE call, and ultimately, decided the Super Bowl.
It was a night marred by questionable calls, but the game managed to make everyone forget about the disparity in penalties (106 yards for the Cardinals against just 56 for the Steelers) with its thrilling finish. And then came the unreviewed call. It’s especially interesting that the play went without a second look considering the Cardinals correctly challenged two plays during the game (both of which should have been easy calls on the field but were botched by the refs), Chris Chase wrote for Yahoo! Sports.
The officiating crew dropped the ball, and I really can think of only two explanations for such an egregious oversight.
1. Total out-and-out incompetence – in which case the entire crew should be fired.
2. The game was rigged.
I’m not much for “The NFL is Rigged” theories, but the Steelers clearly have a much larger fan base than the Arizona Cardinals. I wonder how many more Ben Roethlisberger jerseys the league will sell now that Pittsburgh has won the Super Bowl. I’m guessing a lot more than the number of Kurt “Jesus Boy” Warner jerseys they would have sold had Arizona won the game.
In the end, we’ll never know if the call would have been reversed or would have stood. We’ll never know what would have happened if Warner had one more shot at the end zone. We’ll never see a fantastic game get the ending that it should have.
A pathetic ending to what was an intriguing NFL season.