January 16, 2006

Official was wrong: The NFL actually admits a mistake by a referee. In a game marred by many bad calls against both sides this was the most flagrant. You know it had to be bad for the NFL to admit it publically.

posted by scottypup to football at 04:45 PM - 73 comments

Kind of like back in the 1980's when the Vatican admitted it was wrong to excommunicate Gallileo for claiming the Earth was round.

posted by texoma-slim at 05:00 PM on January 16, 2006

Wow, didn't think they would admit it. Maybe if the officials knew the rules they would do a better job on calls like this. Before anyone jumps me for what I just said, I know they have a tough job but, when you have a job that is scrutinized by millions on national television, I think you should get the call right when you have time to think it over (like they did in this instance).

posted by Steeler_Fan at 05:02 PM on January 16, 2006

It was more than bad, it was obviously the wrong call. The NFL outing the ref is unexpected, but I'd be more interested in what happens next. Do they just call up the ref and very slowly explain how to tell when someone has made a catch? Do they fine him? I'd hate to be too down on the guy, because we all make mistakes. It's just that this was such a basic mistake that you have to wonder if this particular ref is cut out for his chosen line of work.

posted by fxrival at 05:02 PM on January 16, 2006

Why the hell doesn't the NFL have the rulebook on its website? Instead they have a wimpy Digest of Rules.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 05:09 PM on January 16, 2006

How many believe that the NFL would have admitted their mistake if the Colts had won?

posted by Saxman at 05:10 PM on January 16, 2006

When a play goes to instant replay, instead of leaving it up to the officials, they should borrow an idea from Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and "Poll the Audience" All of us would have a better chance of getting it right (and of course we would vote objectively). Interactive NFL

posted by mayerkyl at 05:20 PM on January 16, 2006


posted by BEN2700 at 05:20 PM on January 16, 2006

Watch the replay very closely. When he catches the ball his hands are not under the ball and the ball hits the ground before he tries to get up. I saw the play and the challenge as I was leaving for a meeting at church. So when I watched the game later I ran it through the slow mo on the "TIVO", it was right to overrule the play but not the correct reason. Put yourself on the field with the stripped shirt and see if you don't wonder when you make a call if some announcer in the TV booth isn't watching the play over and over from different angles and wondering how you could have made the call.

posted by coach at 05:21 PM on January 16, 2006

IF THE COLTS HAD WON, THE NFL OFFICES IN NY WOULD HAVE BEEN QUIET Probably yeah...because how the hell would they deal with a call that affected the outcome of the game? Which makes me wonder why they said anything, because doesn't this potentially open up that same can of worms? Like, maybe the Pats staffers are saying, "Um, yeah, and what about..."?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 05:23 PM on January 16, 2006

Different play there coach learn what your talking about yes the first int he had was not one he did let the ball hit the ground they are talking about the second INT where he did catch the ball and roll over twice and went to get up and his knee knocked the ball out of his own hands that was a catch no ???????'s asked the ref was wrong and should be suspended and put back threw the school.......

posted by BigDogintheCity at 05:31 PM on January 16, 2006

The head ref looks into the replay machine. When charged with this responsibility in a playoff game, one assumes he's the best of the best. So he overturns a call based on replays he sees and the "irrefutable evidence" requirement. I'm sorry. I don't see a mistake here. I hope what I see is only incompetence. Giving the benefit of the doubt that it is incompetence, it's time for (a) full time refs, at least the head refs and (b) increased pay and hiring standards. Certainly the NFL can afford both.

posted by STLCardinalfan at 05:35 PM on January 16, 2006

coach.....u seeing things again? it was clearly a catch....get off the dope

posted by GregB at 05:38 PM on January 16, 2006

I was surprised by the call yesterday. If I were a Colts fan, I would so dam happy. It the call on the field stood, I don't think the colts wouldn't even had a chance of coming back to tie or even win. Just think, the colts came close to tying the game up. I'm happy the steelers won, even though I'm not a big Steelers fan.

posted by D-train at 05:45 PM on January 16, 2006


posted by BEN2700 at 05:46 PM on January 16, 2006

I don't think the officiating has been that great all season. Most of the problems are with receivers and dbs, receptions and interference calls being the majority of the bad calls. Thats one area that is consistent, consistently poor. If Steelers would have lost riots, mayhem madness. That was a bazaar ending. The official excuse: Troys hair blocked my line of sight.

posted by kosmicdebris at 05:49 PM on January 16, 2006

I'm not questioning the call. I would question the officials intent. If he honestly saw something that he actually felt was enough to reverse the call (in his opinion), then its not that big of a deal. On the other hand, if you have an official whos' mind is made up before he saw the replay, then of course there is a serious problem. The question then becomes, how do we prove it either way? The entire world of sports has become fixated on preventing cheating, drug tests, congressional hearings and so forth. Whats next? Polygraphs for officials? Some of us are so quick to react to a player cheating or otherwise changing the outcome of the game. Don't the officials have a say so in how the game turns out? They damn sure almost did in this game. Sure the ref is human and they will make mistakes, but if the refs make bad calls intentionally, say to win a bet, then we have a serious problem. Its time that all aspects of cheating be addressed.

posted by BlogZilla at 05:55 PM on January 16, 2006


posted by BEN2700 at 06:02 PM on January 16, 2006

Porter is correct, the NFL wanted Indy to win. No question. Manning is the golden boy and Dungy's family tragedy made the Indy story more compeling. Pittsburg gets no respect. The NFL is doesn't even try to hide it. Only the Raiders get less respect from the league. (I kind of like that)

posted by mikemora at 06:04 PM on January 16, 2006

The NFL’s decision to declare the official’s ruling incorrect is not unprecedented. In this other case (the only one I found) the beneficiary of the rulings also lost the game. I can’t conceive of the benefit, from the league’s perspective, that comes with making these admissions. I would think it only serves to damage the league’s relationship with the officials.

posted by BullpenPro at 06:07 PM on January 16, 2006


posted by BEN2700 at 06:10 PM on January 16, 2006

Us Steeler fans would like to thank the NFL for admitting their mistake, So now we can sleep well tonight knowing the real outcome was a pounding of the mighty 14 - 2 Colts, Way to keep it fair and even NFL !!

posted by tomthumb at 06:24 PM on January 16, 2006

oi... enough with the whining about not getting "respect." that makes as much sense as "they hate freedom," last cited by another genius.

posted by ninjavshippo at 06:36 PM on January 16, 2006

Believe me I was yelling the whole time, those damn Refs can either make or break a game. I would have protested if the Colts won. Like back three years when the official let the NE Patriots kick the field goal 3 times, on the third shot when the kicker finally made it, they didn't throw no more flags, but I am sure if the kicker on NE didn't make it another flag would have been thrown. Steelers should have been in that Superbowl, but due to the Refs. it didn't happen GO STEELERS

posted by steelers36 at 06:47 PM on January 16, 2006

enough with the whining about not getting "respect." I couldn't agree more. That whole "respect" thing is a bunch of crap. Win the damn games and respect yourselves. Only the Raiders get less respect from the league. Good God. What kind of comment is this, anyways? The Raiders get more respect than any horrible team ever should. When the idiotic fans of the team impact the game more than the team (?) they put on the field, you really shouldn't get any respect.

posted by dyams at 07:00 PM on January 16, 2006

Porter is correct, the NFL wanted Indy to win. No question. Manning is the golden boy and Dungy's family tragedy made the Indy story more compeling. Maybe the big brass of the NFL did, as it might lead to higher ratings, which is all the a certain percentage of upper execs of the NFL care about. Then again, the Steelers nation is legendary and large. There's a vested interest in Pittsburgh going all the way. Which would draw higher ratings (and therefore more ad revenue for the NFL)? I highly doubt even the execs know that. You can call me naive, but I very, very seriously doubt that anyone from the NFL would tamper with the game, much less enough people to (attempt to) throw a playoff game. In this information laden day and age, it would surely be discovered and the backlash of an even like that could render a league terminal. Nobody industry that large and lucrative would dare take such a risk. Until proven (with a capital P) otherwise, I'm just going to assume that this ref made a serious mistake. If it had decided the game, well....the league's reaction would be interesting, for sure, but fortunately we haven't gotten there yet. Oh, and BEN2700, please punch your caps lock key once and only once before commenting again. Yelling isn't polite. Thanks.

posted by Ufez Jones at 07:16 PM on January 16, 2006

u r completely right about that because they really sucked yesterday in the steeler game

posted by murphyhoc5 at 07:16 PM on January 16, 2006

god stepped in and made it right by having the "idiot kicker" miss the fg. done. no debate a aa zip it..............

posted by LSUMAN at 07:33 PM on January 16, 2006

It matters not, Broncos 28 Pittsburgh 17. Yes I bleed orange.

posted by mystical symbols at 07:57 PM on January 16, 2006

BEN2700: ALL CAPS COMMENTS are not allowed on SportsFilter. Porter's probably going to be fined for his comments, which is a shame. The NFL should not fine players for criticizing the officiating in a game where the league acknowledges a mistake of this magnitude. I have to think that the touchdown gods caused Vanderjagt to shank his kick as a make-good for the bad interception call.

posted by rcade at 07:58 PM on January 16, 2006

The NFL actually admits a mistake by a referee Could any point be anymore moot? How about the Colts last play TD in 1995? How about Mike Renfro 1979?

posted by gronir_ hitrops at 08:08 PM on January 16, 2006

even as a lifelong Pats fan, meaning I've seen them play everywhere including Fenway, and think that God just dislikes Al Davis more than New England know that the NFL refs make it up as they go along. Even with instant replay it'slike what freaking game are you watching buddy.

posted by thatch at 08:30 PM on January 16, 2006

Do the Colts have a stadium deal in the works? Here in San Diego Marty S had a whole pocket full of get out of jail free cards, I mean he won every challenge he made, and some Steeler fans will remember a call in that game when the Charger punt returner muffed the catch and the refs threw a late flag, calling inside the zone, which was not true. But then SD was playing for a stadium, which non-sports type realize means sky boxes for corrupt lobbyists to ply their trade. So when you think FIX, think big.

posted by Two Buck Chuck at 08:44 PM on January 16, 2006

I have a legit question..Where do the replays the refs see come from?> Are they the same as what the stations show? cause if they are....that ref was dumber than a box of rocks...and yes I bleed black and gold

posted by MNJ1193 at 10:10 PM on January 16, 2006

Let's face it, the referees have a very tough job. However, it appears that the game is getting too fast for some of the men. However, some of the not called pass interference calls in the last round of playoffs has been ridiculous. It isn't all the officials fault. The league is telling them that all the defender has to do is look around to try to see the ball and it is not pass interference. The mauling of a receiver is PI whether or not a defender looks around or not. As a former college referee I feel the game is getting too fast for a lot of officials. How about the bowl games. The worst was the Big Ten group in the Rose Bowl. The knee down when a lateral was made that resulted in a TD for Texas was the worst non-call that I have ever seen. No review--give me a break. There were several other bad calls by supposedly the best officials in each conference that are sent to the bowl games. BUT--one of the main problems is that this is a reward for serving the Commissioner. Each Commissioner has his favorite officials who get the choice assignments weather they are the best in the conference or not. The officials are not dishonest some are just incompetent.

posted by Coach88 at 10:28 PM on January 16, 2006

The problem is the NFL wont do anything about it. The refs on the field and in the booth should be fined and/or fired. Too much was at stake for both teams to have such horrible officiating. They admit making a mistake, BUT what if the bad calls would have cost a team the game? Gee, I'm sorry I ran over your dog, but... Something has to be done and done ASAP! The officiating is getting worse each year. Were these refs actually the umpires from the 2005 MLB postseason?

posted by LiveWithIt at 10:50 PM on January 16, 2006

I read all thes statements and wonder in amazement. the referees flagged the steelers what 2 times in the whole game, movement on the offence and off sides 1 time.what was it 9 pent to 2 pent and you people think the steelers were screwed.I agree with the coach when he roled over the ball did hit the ground only for a split sec but is that control ? what about all the def interference calls that werent called against the steelers ? that sure made a difference in the out come of the game also. what about the flag that wasnt aflag the steelers off line clearly moved that would had made it 4th and 6 not 4th and 1 because they picked the flag. would the steelers still had went for the 1st down NO NO NO, ever play makes a big difference in the out come of a game

posted by badsport at 11:14 PM on January 16, 2006

The pass interference rule is just silly and needs to change. Minor pass interference (hand check, incidental bump) should be 5 yards and a first down. Major (tackling the guy b/c he beat you) should be spot of the foul. its just gotten silly where people chuck the ball up and hope for a flag.

posted by drjimmy11 at 11:51 PM on January 16, 2006

Watched the replay again last night. Still do not believe it was an int. He did not have control of the ball when the ball hit the ground. Maybe that is why I was a coach and not a ref. No stripped shirts for me in any sport. No coach no team. Who the Lions going to hire? One other thing, I have never used drugs or alchol so I'm not on anything except the love of God.

posted by coach at 05:57 AM on January 17, 2006

IT'S OK BEN I agree with the coach when he roled over the ball did hit the ground I quess you two saw something different then I did, everyone else on this site, everyone else watching around the world, and everyone in the NFL office.

posted by steelcityguy at 07:22 AM on January 17, 2006

It is a shame all of the comments here are about one bad call in a game that was lost by the Colts offensive line giving up a season high five sacks, and the defense so sluggish they could not stop a pass play in the first half. I am still a Colts fan, but the Steelers whipped our butt. Period.

posted by sam845 at 07:26 AM on January 17, 2006

Did NFL officials give any sort of explanation why they flagged either a false start or neutral zone infraction in that same game, only to discuss the matter amongst themselves and decide no penalty had been commited, despite Colts linemen making contact with Steelers before ball was snapped? NFL officiating this entire weekend was a piss-poor joke.

posted by the red terror at 08:19 AM on January 17, 2006

IT'S OK BEN It's not OK. The comments will be deleted.

posted by rcade at 08:24 AM on January 17, 2006


posted by steelcityguy at 08:55 AM on January 17, 2006

For the love of pete, I have never heard so much whining by a team and fans ... that won their game! I know the phantom intereception call could've had an impact on the game. And, I'm fine with calling for a serious review of specific referees or the overall organization and handling of the league's entire referee staff. And, if the ranting stopped at "what were they thinking?!" and "we need to look at the whole system", that would be one thing. But, this nonsense about these referees and the NFL cheating to get the Colts to win ... it's just that - nonsense. Although I didn't agree with the call during the game nor the explanation after, the explanation DID seem to be based on a logical decision by the referee (albeit wrong). Have all the experts sitting on couches been proven to be smarter than the referee regarding this call - Yes. But, leave the conspiracy theories out of it - it makes you and your team look petty and silly. And Joey Porter, although a great athlete and LB, is a fool (outside of executing football plays). He's proven it repeatedly. And, he SHOULD be fined heavily. I've always thought that a league stifling criticism of the officiating is censor-like and accusing the officials of mistakes or heat-of-the-moment poor judgement should be allowed to an extent - accusing the officials of out-and-out cheating is inexcusable. As a Browns fan, I consider the Steelers the enemy, but I have always respected them - their coaching, the majority of their players, and the majority of their fans - and I even occasionally pull for them, depending on the oppenent and situation (they deserved it and I slightly enjoyed that they beat the Colts). But, knuckleheads like Porter and many of the commenters here seriously hurt their own cause.

posted by littleLebowski at 09:10 AM on January 17, 2006

Yeah, they'll fine Joey Porter, all right-- a token $15,000 or so, which is the equivalent of what would be pocket-change for you and I. But the most atrocious call regarding this game was Pussy Peyton throwing his O-Line under the bus after the game. You don't do that in public after these guys have been busting ass for you all game. It just ain't cool.

posted by rockamora at 09:45 AM on January 17, 2006

I read all thes statements and wonder in amazement. the referees flagged the steelers what 2 times in the whole game, movement on the offence and off sides 1 time.what was it 9 pent to 2 pent and you people think the steelers were screwed. Maybe they didn't actually HAVE any other penalties? The point is, the ones that were missed against Pittsburgh were gamechangers (if Pouloumula's INT is ruled that, it's a 2 score game with 5 minutes left and Steelers with the ball in Colts territory, the missed PI would have set up at least a FG attempt instead of the punt which happened). I agree with the coach when he roled over the ball did hit the ground only for a split sec but is that control ? You're both high. The ball never touched the ground without both his hands under it. Hundreds of thousands of people saw the replay probably 50 times and you are the only 2 people I've heard who have see it otherwise. The NFL officials admit a mistake (which they've only done 1 other time that we're aware), yet you still think it hit the ground? That is why there was such an outrage and this thread is even being posted...because in no way does he NOT have control and the official ruled he did. Even the Officials office admits now that is not the case. what about all the def interference calls that werent called against the steelers ? there were none what about the flag that wasnt aflag the steelers off line clearly moved that would had made it 4th and 6 not 4th and 1 because they picked the flag Since they didn't see his movement, it actually should have been offsides...but they didn't call anything. Didn't affect the game anyways as the steelers punted that drive.

posted by bdaddy at 10:44 AM on January 17, 2006

For the record: Galileo didn't say that the earth was round, he said out loud what Copernicus stated in more muted tones: that the earth revolved around the sun, and not vice versa.

posted by L.N. Smithee at 11:00 AM on January 17, 2006

Thank you. I think Ptolemy figured out the Earth was round.

posted by yerfatma at 11:32 AM on January 17, 2006

I am a big fan of the replay challenge. I also believe it should be expanded to include an oversight judge in the booth with the ultimate power to overrule any call on the field, challenged or not, that he feels is missed by the officials on the field. Including pass interference, down by contact, holding, and personal fouls. But with that said, I am surprised that the field officials are so good. Most of the time the replay shows they are right. No amount of replay is going to catch everything, and on a rare occaision a bad call will get through. That is part of the game and a good reason why in boxing you try to end the fight without it going to the judges, and in football you need to finish off your opponents decisively enough, like the Steelers did to the Colts so that no one bad call or play can steal victory from you. Shit happens / no crybabies. It can never be perfect and the NFL deserves credit for doing as much as they do to try to alieviate mistakes. Heck how many sports even have a replay challenge?

posted by Atheist at 11:47 AM on January 17, 2006

I disagree that the NFL would have swept the bad call under the turf had the Colts pulled it out. In 2003's NFC Wild Card game between the 49ers and the Giants, a call that affected the outcome of a playoff game even more was criticized by the NFL. The league's director of officiating, Mike Pereira, said the 49ers should have been penalized for pass interference on the play that resulted from the Giants' botched 41-yard [go-ahead] field goal try with six seconds left. Because the Giants had been flagged for an ineligible receiver downfield and the clock had run out, the offsetting fouls would have allowed the Giants one more untimed snap from the previous spot — the San Francisco 23. Victorious then-Niner coach Steve Mariucci, when asked for comment, said, "Bummer..."

posted by L.N. Smithee at 11:56 AM on January 17, 2006

I am a huge Steelers fan and at first blush I was outraged about such a blatantly obvious blown call.......then I thought about it and like someone else on this site said.....It's like a prize fight and the better team wins by a knockout not a judge's decision. So the Steelers did and the rest is history! No one is infallible and in the end....the better team won! Quit the complaining....we have another game to focus on in Denver. GO STEELERS!

posted by Dolsnsens at 12:44 PM on January 17, 2006

Hey all you so called Steeler Fans....ya won the damn game.....even I agree on the interception call and took it like a man......hear me Again...you won the Game Quit your damn Boo-HOOOOOOOing. Indycoltsj.......GO BRONCOS!!!!

posted by Indycoltsj at 01:14 PM on January 17, 2006

I wonder if the NFL shuffles refs around like the catholic religion does pedophile priests? Make that guy work in Houston for the rest of his career!!

posted by GoBirds at 01:30 PM on January 17, 2006

The Earth is round? Next you'll be telling me there's no Tooth Fairy, or that Christmas is all about Jesus. Heard all that before, and I ain't buying it!

posted by Hugh Janus at 01:41 PM on January 17, 2006

I gotta wonder what city that ref lives in. Surely the league would not allow an Indy official to work the game. And I think that Porter had a good point -- most of America wanted to see golden boy win one and most did not want Dungy to go through more pain (me included) But that game was very poorly called. And Indycoltsj -- we are not boo-hooing. We want the games called well. Maybe with enough coverage the league will start full-time refs. If we only cared about one game we would have shut up already. But I don't want to see ANY team bounced out of the playoffs due to a bad call (even the Colts!)

posted by Claremore Rancher at 01:44 PM on January 17, 2006

Peyton SUX!!! He is just a regular season QB just like his baby brother and daddy. He needs to quit playing sign language with the team and run the plays that the coach calls in.

posted by Dallas at 02:04 PM on January 17, 2006

What do you all Steelers fans have to say about Number 66 (Faneca) on the offensive line moving before the snap on a 4th & inches? Didn't that affect the outcome of the game? I'm pretty sure that with a 4th & 6 the Steelers would have punted, don't you all think? I watched the whole game and there sure were bad calls against both sides of the football, but come on!!!, give the official a break he's as human as everyone of us. For me that wasn't an INT. When you see the replay on slow motion you can clearly see the ball touched the ground, ergo incomplete pass. Stop whining you Steelers fans, you won, you beat the best team on the NFL this year, you might as well be on your way to Superbowl XL, enjoy 'cause that may not come around again for a long time. Next year, the mighty Indianapolis Colts will be the Champions. Bye.

posted by sharpshooter007 at 02:19 PM on January 17, 2006


posted by Hugh Janus at 02:21 PM on January 17, 2006

So long...farewell

posted by willthrill72 at 02:43 PM on January 17, 2006

How is it that in the face of a million football fans AND the league's Vice President Of Officiating, people can still be arguing that it was an incomplete pass? Especially since the ball touching the ground was never in dispute during this whole brouhaha. First, during the game, the ref said some weirdness about Polamalu losing control before his second knee left the turf. Then, after the game he used the "act common to the game" argument. The ref never mentioned the ball touching the ground. Neither did the NFL when they reviewed it. You people are weird. It was an interception, and a horribly-blown call. Deal with it.

posted by fabulon7 at 02:50 PM on January 17, 2006

I think what sharpshooter007 and some others on here are missing is the fact that we Steelers fans are not saying that the officials should get every call right in a game. What we are saying is the officials made the right call but then reversed it because of poor knowledge of the rule book. It is high time the NFL hired full time officials and hold them acountable for the BIG blown calls.

posted by Steeler_Fan at 02:57 PM on January 17, 2006

Peyton is not a strong swimmer.

posted by kafkaesque at 03:03 PM on January 17, 2006

I am a Steeler fan. I am a Tony Dungy fan, because of his Stiller (How 'bout dem Stillers?) days and his great integrity of which I have personal knowledge. Had the Colts been undefeated, I probably would have pulled for the Colts. As such, I was pullin for the Black and Gold. This thread is about the officiating. I am not whining about a darn thing. I am happy to go on, however, I will opine about the poor offciating and the poor officiating rules and setups of the game. Simply because regardless of the outcome of the game I think there could be positive changes made. Not by some of the lunkhead comments or emotional comments, but out of looking at the game honestly and with a true intent of "how could the system be better?" 1) I was unsure if the non-saftey call was a safety. It was a judgement call made on the field and was so close that many people still can't decide, so if that's what they saw, that's what they saw. I have no problem with that, especially when the replays were so inconclusive. 2) The non-interference call. This is where I agree with some who have talked about another official not tied to red flags, but as an overseer, or head referee in a replay booth. This is what I have referred to in past years as the OBC official, or Obviously Blown Call official. They would be able to radio down and stop play to tell the officials they got it wrong, how they got it wrong, and what to adjust to make it right. In addition, I think that there should be no limit to the number of red flags. If the official is wrong and you want to challenge it, you should be allowed as long as you have timeouts left. As they are tied to timeouts, you better be right. 3) Interception overturn. I can "understand" what happened by reviewing the replay and trying to follow the train of thought of the official. Technically the ball "came loose" while the player was "down" (his knee was still down) on the ground where he fell when making the Int. All season (and I didn't like the ruling on any of those!) they have been calling that an incomplete pass. However, after both feet hit the ground, then his butt, then both feet and it was on the action of "getting up" and not "falling to the ground" that the ball came loose, you would think that the official (like 99% of the people watching the replay) would have not seen "irrefutable evidence" to the contrary. I hope this call leads to a catch needing only establishing posession with two feet in and not completely through an encounter with the ground. After all, the ground "can't" cause a fumble. (One of these two rules should be removed, and I don't think the ground should be able to cause a fumble, or an incomplete pass.) 4) Non-offsides/Illegal procedure call - Or as many have called it, the "do-over" play. Just as the colts had a slight movement earlier in the game for procedure, the Steelers should have been called for the lineman's ill-timed fart (which I'm sure that's what it was...). But the non-call infuriated us as Steeler fans watching the game, where we said, call it against one team or the other, but call something. At that point in the game, I am not sure how anything was NOT called. When the whistle blew there had to be: a) Delay of game (but that clock didn't run out) b) False Start - (This is probably the right answer, but it was not called.) c) Defensive Offsides. If False start was not called, this has to be the alternative. d) Inadvertant whistle. At an inadvertant whistle, play stops. Period. Just like in hockey or football, the play is over at that point. But where are we at that point if they claim it to be an inadvertant whistle? Defense was offsides when the whistle blew. Has to be called. Otherwise, and offical seeing a massive blitz coming could blow the whistle just before a snap and say OOPS. Do-over. 5) Officials timeout? Still the defense was offsides at this point. I don't see any alternatives and as of yet have heard no official explanation in the press, on the NFL site, or even on any of the fan sites as to what the explanation is. What happened on that play and how is it possible to stop play with a whistle, in this situation, with no flag? I am not saying this to whine, as I stated, the call probably should have gone against the Steelers, I'd just love to know. These events also lead me to the first time in my life that I felt bad for Big Ten refs, being a Penn State Fan as well. Somebody during the game said these refs were as bad as Big Ten Refs thinking he had made a degrading remark to him, but I just had to say it: "The Big Ten ref's aren't THAT bad..." As an instructional level coach I do not argue referee calls in any of the sports I coach. I use the opportunity with my kids to show them that you have to play better than the other team, and better than a few bad calls if you really want to win. If Bettis puts the ball in the end zone, none of the "bad calls" would have made a difference. I tell them that bad calls happen at all levels of sports and they will continue to happen. They also happen in life. Get used to it. Get used to overcoming them. I am absolutey amazed at the number of split-second calls that officials get right the first time and without any replay. However, that being said, I don't think that business as usual should cut it. I think there are a few more improvements in the officiating and replay area can be made to ensure the fairness of the game and accuracy of the officials, which USUALLY is impeccable. Even a rating system to ensure the best are rewarded. Yes, the official was wrong. The system needs to be changed to help prevent it in the future, but as we are human, there will ALWAYS be errors.

posted by HereWeGoSteelers at 04:43 PM on January 17, 2006

So, your saying it was the butler in the den with the candlestick?

posted by BlogZilla at 05:14 PM on January 17, 2006

This weekend was marred by horrible calls in every game, obviously the Steelers game and also noteably the Pats game. It is true that officials make mistakes, but the amount of game changing mistakes this weekend was appaling. I agree with CardinalFan that the NFL needs full time refs and I also think that after the season is over the NFL needs to review and revamp their officials policy, starting with an identifying pass interference clinic. Also, what is the point in free speech if everytime you speak your mind about a contreversial issue you get fined? I understand there are some times that guys should be fined by the NFL for what they say, but in instances like Joey Porter's (while he hasn't been fined yet) these guys provide very good (and sometimes true) points and I don't think it is the NFL's place to fine them.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 05:36 PM on January 17, 2006

On the plus side, Bill Polian is still racking his brain for something to bitch at the Competition Committee about.

posted by yerfatma at 05:42 PM on January 17, 2006

"I agree with CardinalFan that the NFL needs full time refs." Sports Illustrated Dr. Z writes: "One final note about this bizarre contest. Everywhere around the country, sportswriters are dusting off their old columns about the need for fulltime officials, after Pete Morelli messed up the call on Polamalu's interception. I've said it before and I'll repeat it: Tell me exactly what these guys would do during the week that would make them better? "It isn't like hockey or basketball or baseball, in which they're working every other day. Football officials have a week between games, but the thought of them going back to their normal occupations for three or four days, drives some people absolutely wild. "According to NFL Supervisor of Officials Mike Pereira, they go through a three-day clinic in Dallas during the preseason. Then each official spends another three days in an NFL training camp. During the season they arrive at the site early on Saturday, spend the day and Saturday night in the hotel looking at films and brushing up on the rules, go through the same stuff again on Sunday morning and then go to the game. "Now tell me, please, what would they do if they got there, say, on a Tuesday? Sit in the hotel looking at more films for five days a week -- for five months -- read more rulebooks, memorize college fight songs, what? There's such a thing as paralysis by analysis, or mental overload. Anyone who's ever crammed for an exam knows that. Sorry, but I think all those people hollering for full time officials haven't really thought it through well enough." Link.

posted by the red terror at 09:38 AM on January 18, 2006

There's such a thing as paralysis by analysis, or mental overload. There's also such a thing as full-time devotion and commitment to your trade so that you become the best you can be at your craft. If it's not practical to have full time refs (and I don't necessarily agree) then increase the pay to a point where the best and brightest will apply. Whatever the ultimate solution might be, the discussion around the country after these games should NOT be about the officiating.

posted by STLCardinalfan at 10:14 AM on January 18, 2006

Tell me exactly what these guys would do during the week that would make them better? Well, maybe something. Maybe watch film, read rules, hang out at the league office and discuss calls from the previous week, ask questions, etc. What are they doing during the week now that is making them better?

posted by fabulon7 at 12:24 PM on January 18, 2006

Isn't the NFL the only American professional league to not have full-time refs?

posted by scully at 03:01 PM on January 18, 2006

I never bought the full time refs thing for the reasons cribbed from Dr. Z. Terrapin, there are 17 weeks in the season plus five or so pre-season and then only a small number of the officials work the playoffs. So even if the NFL is the only American pro league that doesn't have full timers, they're also the league with the fewest games and spaced the widest apart. You ask me, the answer is technology. Put (extremely low power) transmitters, like RFID, in the balls and somewhere on the players (say their pads) and sensors in the ground. That will remove a lot of the vagueries like foot in bounds and spotting.

posted by billsaysthis at 06:19 PM on January 18, 2006

Long live the lousy refs, the Steelers are in the SB. That's it, no more comments.

posted by sharpshooter007 at 06:17 PM on January 22, 2006

That's it, no more comments. What about this one?

posted by billsaysthis at 12:18 AM on January 23, 2006

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