Monday, February 06, 2006Super Bowl XL: Redux
Let's go to the videotape
Officials Officials: One of the worst officiated games ever. As bad as the Patriots-Rams Super Bowl when the Patriots raped, pillaged and sodomized the Rams' receivers without any sort of punishment. Sad thing is this wasn't even the worst officiated game in the playoffs, that dishonor goes to the Colts-Steelers game.
Nonetheless the officials were terrible and inconsistent. The offensive pass interference call was definitely shaky and god knows I've seen worst that wasn't called. Roethlisberger's touchdown I have less of a problem with because they looked at it on replay and that was inconclusive. Roethlisberger duped the line official but sneaking the ball in and it worked, but they reviewed it. And hey Seahawk fans, Jerramy Stevens FUMBLED and it wasn't called either so it's not all just one direction here.
Part of the problem (the interference/holding calls) appeared to stem from that Colts-Steelers game and the refs were really overcompensating. The bottom line is the NFL needs full-time officials and a lot of training. This problem will get a lot worse if it isn't solved quickly. The officials stunk, but they weren't the reason the outcome was what it was.
Ok Smartie, What Was the Reason: Big plays. The Steelers made them and the Seahawks didn't. Seattle gained 396 yards and drove into Pittsburgh territory seven times and got ten points out of it. Seattle's drives at the end of the half and end of the game were terrible. Where was Darrell Jackson after the first quarter? Last year Philadelphia left 21 points on the board in the first half because of turnovers and poor management, this year the Seahawks left 14 points on the board.
Roethlisberger was terrible except on one play on 3rd and 26 that led to a touchdown (albeit disputed). The best quarterback in the game was Antwaan Randle-El.
The 12th Man: Going back to Seattle's terrible clock management would they have that problem in Seattle? I doubt it. The massive Steeler crowd had a major mental effect on that team, Joey Porter had a major mental effect on Jerramy Stevens. The Seahawks players and coaches were not mentally prepared for this Super Bowl.
Speaking of Stevens: This could be a career breaker for the young guy. Joey Porter created this rivalry, it didn't exist, Porter just needed a target and Stevens was it. Good choice. Stevens backed down from a war of words and backed down in the game, a game that could've been huge for him. By my count, he left six balls and 89 yards on the field, that's an MVP performance right there and he didn't take advantage of it. The Steelers also laid the lumber on him and he didn't like it.
Speaking of Porter: Not much to say because Walter Jones, the BEST tackle in football, beat him like an egg and Porter didn't say much after the game because he knew he got embarassed and didn't want to take away from the moment that Bettis and Ward deserved.
Bye Bye Shaun: Yeah, he's not going to get what he's asking for from Seattle and frankly he shouldn't. He's a good running back running behind a super offensive line, there are a lot of good running backs in the league and potentially good running backs in the draft they can get for much cheaper. Matt Hasselbeck and Walter Jones are the leaders on the offensive. Make a trade for Thomas Jones and he'll run for 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns behind Jones and Hutchinson.
Seahawks Future: It's bright because the defense will only get better and the rest of the NFC West is so bad that they can use the regular season to prepare for the playoffs. I think Hasselbeck is close to the elite quarterbacks, the defense is young but tough and they will get better when Hamlin returns. The money they save on Alexander will pay dividends when those young defensive studs look for extensions. They need to get Stevens right though, that kid can put up Antonio Gates type numbers.
Steelers Future: They have a great chance at repeating because the team is so stable. Roethlisberger is 27-4 (!!) as a starter and two of the losses were against the Patriots. Hines Ward is the model for a team leader, I think Randle-El will walk, but they will continue to draft well. Willie Parker is young and getting better. Pittsburgh's secondary has improve tenfold in the last two months. Joey Porter is going to be back, Casey Hampton is just getting into his prime right now. Bill Cowher can return to Miami and win in his 15th year as coach and walk away with all the glory.