NFL official Bill Leavy, the referee who oversaw several controversial calls during Super Bowl XL, is scheduled to be the head official when Seattle travels to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers on Sunday.
During training camp last at an annual officials meeting that they hold with regular beat reporters of the team, Leavy admitted to getting two calls incorrect in Seattle’s Super Bowl appearance, a 21-10 loss to the Steelers. One of those calls was a clipping penalty called on Matt Hasselbeck on making a tackle after throwing an interception. Sean Locklear’s holding call as the Seahawks were going in for a score also has been questioned since the 2006 game.
“It was a tough thing for me,” Leavy said. “I kicked two calls in the fourth quarter and I impacted the game and as an official you never want to do that. It left me with a lot of sleepless nights and I think about it constantly.
“I’ll go to my grave wishing that I’d been better. I know that I did my best at that time, but it wasn’t good enough. When we make mistakes, you got to step up and own them. It’s something that all officials have to deal with, but unfortunately when you have to deal with it in the Super Bowl it’s difficult.”
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The league office is responsible for assigning officials for the week’s slate of games.
Leavy did not officiate a Seattle game for the rest of Mike Holmgren’s tenure in Seattle after the Super Bowl game. He finally was assigned a Seattle game in 2009 at San Francisco. Former Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said he talked to Leavy before that game. And he addressed the issue during training camp last year, taking ownership of the fact that the players lost the game on the field that day, and the officials didn’t have a role in that.
“We lost the game,” he said. “Like I said, Bill Leavy, like all of our officials, is a stand-up guy. It happened a long time ago. We lost the game.”
Only two players are left for Seattle from that Super Bowl team – cornerback Marcus Trufant and linebacker Leroy Hill
Trufant said the team ultimately wants to put what happened in the Super Bowl behind them and ultimately work their way back to another one.
“It’s tough,” he said. “Anytime you’re in the Super Bowl, that’s the highest of the high. When things go bad, they always tell you not to worry about the refs and stuff like that. Things do happen. Nobody’s perfect.
“It’s just one of those things. Everybody I think has moved on. I’ve tried to move on. But like I said, that’s in the past. We’re going to keep playing and we’re trying to get back. That’s the goal.”