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fordfixer
02-15-2009, 02:54 PM
On the Steelers: SB XLIII ... Truths, lies & misconceptions
Mike Tomlin, Santonio Holmes and things you thought you knew about the game

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09046/949103-66.stm

Sunday, February 15, 2009
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Bob Donaldson/Post-GazetteA lot ... but 350,000?
Gleaned from the NFL Network's abridged version of the Super Bowl was a telling one-way conversation between Mike Tomlin and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians on the sideline as the Steelers invaded the Arizona 1 for the second time in the game. They had to settle for a field goal after a first down at the 1 on their first series.

"Let's get this thing into the end zone," Tomlin said to Arians. "How about that? That would be good."

Indeed, Gary Russell scored from the 1 on third down.

One more comment from that NFL Network replay. Tackle Max Starks, as the Steelers' offense was about to take the field for the final time, trailing by three: "We got this. We are built for this. We are built for this."

Officially, it was a bad performance
Some observations on penalties called, penalties not called and other points of controversy after watching two replays of the game:

John Madden's call for James Harrison to be thrown out of the game for "punching" Arizona safety Aaron Francisco after a punt was over the top. First of all, Harrison did not punch him; he pushed him down with an open hand. Also, Harrison reacted because Francisco had tried to cut him by throwing a block below his knees. He's lucky Harrison responded in such a restrained manner.

Likewise, Ike Taylor did not just start throwing punches along the Arizona sideline because someone said something to him. Running back Tim Hightower, perched on the sideline, grabbed Taylor's facemask as the play entered the Cardinals' sideline, prompting Taylor to react.

Tomlin would say that it still does not excuse either player for his reaction because it cost penalties on each occasion, although Harrison's was just 1 yard.

More than a few bad calls
The officiating in the Super Bowl was as horrid as many in a long line of bad games by them in 2008. But not all the calls went against the Arizona Cardinals:

The holding call on center Justin Hartwig in the end zone for a safety was a joke. Hartwig was engaged with his right hand on a Cardinals defender to his right when he was run over. Hartwig did not pull the defender down.

Perhaps Kurt Warner's fumble on his last play was legitimate, perhaps they did do a quick review up in the booth, but on such a play in the Super Bowl, could they not have taken two minutes to look at it more closely? They took longer than that to overturn a meaningless touchdown by Troy Polamalu on the last play of a regular-season game against San Diego (only to get it wrong).

Yes, Santonio Holmes should have gotten flagged for whatever it was he did after catching the winning touchdown. Yes, the Steelers should have had to kick off from their 15, and, yes, it might have helped the Cardinals get 15 yards closer. But Warner fumbled on the Steelers' 44, not the 15, and he needed a touchdown, not a field goal. It's a stretch to assume Arizona would have scored a touchdown merely because the Cardinals would have been 15 yards closer.

If you're going to count the non-call on Holmes' excessive celebration, you have to count the non-calls on the two blocks in the back by the Cardinals on the subsequent kickoff.

Referee Terry McAulay overturned a Warner fumble on the first series of the second half, ruling it was an incomplete pass on a challenge by Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt. OK, but someone other than Whisenhunt should have thrown a flag on the play as it happened because if that was a forward pass, Warner, still in the pocket, was trying to shot-put it to one of his offensive linemen, which is illegal.

Holmes could just as easily been the goat
What was Holmes thinking? His little celebration could have turned him from Super Bowl hero to the greatest goat in Super Bowl history. All for what?

People still remember Leon Lett's bonehead play in Super Bowl XXVII, and his team won, 52-17! Had Holmes' showboating cost the Steelers 15 yards, had the Cardinals, with two timeouts left, raced to a touchdown to win, Holmes would never have lived it down.

Of course, if an elephant had wings it might fly, which is why Tomlin has not scolded Holmes, yet. But one day during OTAs in April or May, Tomlin will remind Holmes about it as only he can.

Math errors, at the least
Not to kill the buzz, but can those talking about a Steelers "dynasty" please put it to rest, and those estimating attendance at parades be a tad more realistic?

Two Super Bowl wins in the past four years does not make a dynasty. And six in 35 years does not cut it, either. Now, four in six years, that's a dynasty, and the Steelers had one in the 1970s, need I remind no one. They would have to win the next two Super Bowls to match it.

The New England Patriots won three in four years as did the Dallas Cowboys in the 1990s.

Now, that estimate of 350,000 who watched the Steelers parade celebration looks fine in print, and it likely makes everyone civically proud. They must be using the same estimator who badly overcounted those who turned up to watch the old Pittsburgh marathons. Either that or they included the television viewers.

Having 350,000 jam their way into the Golden Triangle would be the equivalent of 5 1/2 Heinz Fields emptying into downtown Pittsburgh. Oh, the parking spaces!

Ed Bouchette can be reached at ebouchette@post-gazette.com.
First published on February 15, 2009 at 12:00 am

Chachi
02-15-2009, 03:22 PM
Perhaps Kurt Warner's fumble on his last play was legitimate, perhaps they did do a quick review up in the booth, but on such a play in the Super Bowl, could they not have taken two minutes to look at it more closely? They took longer than that to overturn a meaningless touchdown by Troy Polamalu on the last play of a regular-season game against San Diego (only to get it wrong).

Yes, could we PLEASE have had the play reviewed under the hood just so the officials have ANOTHER chance to get the call WRONG and then.....who knows.

The point of instant replay is to get the call correct. It is not to go all Politically Correct and have a dog and pony show on the field when the correct call upstairs had already been made. Doing this, as was shown in the SD game, can only lead to a greater chance of the incorrect call being made.

The correct procedure was followed.

Now shut up.

DukieBoy
02-15-2009, 07:17 PM
Not mentioned was Kurt Warner's removal of his own helmet while on the field, I believe twice, arguing calls with the refs. Is that not a penalty? IF it is, it deserves mention along with Santonio's celebration.

BTW, seems to me that both the rules about helmet removal and celebrations are stupid. I imagine others may see it differently.

dirt
02-15-2009, 09:59 PM
Not mentioned was Kurt Warner's removal of his own helmet while on the field, I believe twice, arguing calls with the refs. Is that not a penalty? IF it is, it deserves mention along with Santonio's celebration.

BTW, seems to me that both the rules about helmet removal and celebrations are stupid. I imagine others may see it differently.

Thank you. Yes it is a penalty. Just ask James Farrior. He got flagged 15 yards for removing his helmet after Woodley caused that final fumble to seal the game.

feltdizz
02-16-2009, 12:29 PM
How can anyone expect a team to win 4 SB's in 6 years in this new NFL?