I figured something like this was coming after official Bill Leavy admitted that he missed a couple calls during Super Bowl 2006, Seattle’s 21-10 loss to Pittsburgh.
Writing for Fox Sports, Mike Pereira, the NFL’s Vice President of Officiating from 2004-09, who spent the five seasons previous to that as the league’s Director of Officiating, says Leavy was too hard on himself.
First, he didn't "kick" two calls in the fourth quarter. He was clearly incorrect when he called Matt Hasselbeck for a low block after the interception when Hasselbeck attempted to go low through a blocker in an attempt to make the tackle. It would only have been a foul if Matt would have made contact with the blocker, but he didn't, so it should not have been called.
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Leavy piled on himself by saying that his holding call on Sean Locklear was incorrect. That is not true. It was a hold and should have been called. If anything, you could have made a case that the Steelers were offside and, if the play had been officiated correctly, the penalties would have offset and the down replayed. In any case, the reception would not have been allowed to stand.
Did Leavy's calls and the officiating, in general, have an impact in that game? Sure they did. Officiating has an impact in every game that is played, whether calls are made or not made, whether they are correct or incorrect.Did Leavy's calls determine the winner of Super Bowl XL? Absolutely not! In truth, there were missed calls that went against both teams. Let's all put aside our allegiances and go back four years and look at the game objectively. If we do, we will see that the Seahawks did not play well and neither, actually, did the Steelers.
The officials also did not have a great game. In the end, however, the team that deserved to win won. That, in my opinion, is the bottom line.
Word around the NFL is the league was surprised and not pleased by Leavy's comments, so it makes sense that they are trying to do some damage control here.
Dan Graziano of the NFL Fanhouse reports that the Pittsburgh Steelers shrugged off Leavy’s comments. “I’m not giving my ring back” Hines Ward said.
Mike Silver of Yahoo Sports pens a must-read column on the struggles veteran wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh endured last season.
Houshmandzadeh talks about his frustrations with then-offensive coordinator Greg Knapp’s offense, including an incident during the first game at San Francisco where he threw the football toward the Seahawks sideline after a catch because he had not been involved in the offense for most of the first quarter. It’s definitely worth a read.
Dan Arkush of Pro Football Weekly writes that Seattle’s defensive end situation is suspect.
Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com writes that Justin Forsett is getting a better feel for the zone blocking scheme.
MJD of Yahoo Sports’ Shutdown Corner NFL football blog reviews the new Madden 11.
Joe Fortenbaugh of the National Football Post does the same thing here.
Alex Marvez of Fox Sports talks to Cleveland president Mike Holmgren about turning around the Browns. The article includes an interesting picture of Holmgren with his leg in a cast, propped up on a golf cart. Holmren just recently had foot surgery.