Updated: August 8, 2010
Seahawks applaud ref's admission
ESPN.com news services
The Seattle Seahawks say they appreciate official Bill Leavy admitting he made two bad calls in their Super Bowl loss but are ready to move on. The Steelers, however, aren't ready to hand over their championship rings.
Nine players remain from the team's lone Super Bowl appearance in 2006, including quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. He was whistled for a low block on what appeared to be a legal tackle on an interception return in the fourth quarter of that loss to Pittsburgh.
The Steelers used the better field position from the penalty on Hasselbeck to score the clinching touchdown in Pittsburgh's 21-10 victory.
"It's a game. It's not a perfect science," Hasselbeck said Saturday, after Leavy again worked at the Seahawks' training camp practice. "There's a lot of human involvement there. I've played some games that I remember because I feel I did a good job and I remember some other games where I have regrets. That goes for any sport, any player. I'm sure coaching is no different. And I'm sure officiating is the same way."
Leavy and his crew have been at Seahawks camp the past several days as part of the NFL's summer tour of officials informing teams of new rules and interpretations.
Leavy told Seattle-area media Friday night that he "kicked two calls in the fourth quarter and I impacted the game." He said he will "go to my grave wishing I'd been better."
Steelers tackle Max Starks offered some advice to Leavy.
"He should go ahead and retire if he feels so bad about it," Starks said Saturday, according to the McKeesport (Pa.) Daily News. "Just do us all a favor and not referee anymore."
Steelers linebacker James Farrior was surprised to hear about Leavy's apology.
"We won a whole other Super Bowl after that, and they are still talking about the first one," he said according to the McKeesport (Pa.) Daily News.
Leavy also spoke to Seahawks players at a team meeting Friday with a similar message.
"I had a word with him and told him I really appreciated it," said defensive tackle Craig Terrill, a backup on that Super Bowl team. "I certainly don't have any hard feelings against him. There were plenty of things we did in that game that kept us from winning. He can't take responsibility for the mistakes we made, but I appreciated it."
I certainly don't have any hard feelings against him. There were plenty of things we did in that game that kept us from winning. He can't take responsibility for the mistakes we made, but I appreciated it.
-- Craig Terrill
Terrill said he has respect for Leavy, who became an NFL official in 1995.
"He's a good guy and good referee," Terrill said. "You have to think about his spot. You know if he's apologizing, he feels awful about it.
"Obviously it was something that was on his mind and on his heart. It was awesome of him as a person to come to Seattle and say that to us in an intimate place like a team meeting."
Jordan Babineaux, however, said Leavy waited too long to acknowledge his mistakes.
"To his credit he came out and did admit his faults, but it doesn't make me feel any better," Babineaux said, according to the Seattle Times. "You can't turn back the hands of time.
"I don't even wear my NFC championship ring. I appreciate it and I think we had a memorable season for the franchise, but I don't wear it because in my mind that season didn't end the way it was supposed to."
Cornerback Marcus Trufant said it's time for the Seahawks -- and all of Seattle, for that matter -- to put the game behind them.
"It's tough," Trufant 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. That's in the past. We're going to keep playing and we're trying to get back. That's the goal."
Leavy never worked another Seahawks game during the final three years of Mike Holmgren's coaching tenure, but was assigned Seattle's matchup last season at San Francisco, after Jim Mora had replaced Holmgren.
Hasselbeck said he spoke with Leavy during that game, but this week's extended camp session has been much better in allowing things to be said and issues to be buried.
"It was probably a good thing that we talked," Hasselbeck said. "Because I think just like Seahawk fans, I myself had to get to the point where I could kind of get past everything. And he's a great guy and actually a really, really good official."
But will the quarterback ever truly get over that game?
"I'm still a little upset about losing my high school state championship game," Hasselbeck said. "There are just some games you're never going to forget. Put it on the list."
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