The Instigator
HmblySkTrth
Pro (for)
Winning
28 Points
The Contender
Crypto247
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Referees Ruined Superbowl 40

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Post Voting Period
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after 4 votes the winner is...
HmblySkTrth
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/19/2011 Category: Sports
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,148 times Debate No: 18882
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (0)
Votes (4)

 

HmblySkTrth

Pro

Superbowl 40, between the Seattle Seahawks and the Pittsburgh Steelers, will always be remembered more for the referees than anything else because the referees never gave Seattle a legitimate chance to win.

The officiating bias had a devastating effect on the game. The reason it had such a strong affect on the game was because it was completely one-sided. While we can expect an occasional mistake from officials, we cannot expect repeated mistakes going against the same team, and nothing harmful to the other team. We also cannot expect so many mistakes at critical times, like scoring opportunities and third down conversions.

The bias was amazingly subtle because many bad calls involved “judgment calls,” like holding and pass interference. There is some holding on every play, and usually some incidental contact that could be called passing interference on most pass plays. Numerous questionable calls on Seattle, as well as blatant fouls by Pittsburgh that were ignored, profoundly influenced the game.

Sometimes the refs have a “let them play” attitude and only call clear violations. Other times, they want to keep the game under control and make strict calls. They can be at either extreme, or somewhere in between. Nobody can argue as long as the calls are consistent for both teams, but we will see that the discrepancy in this game is self-evident when we thoroughly analyze the game.

There is some incidental holding between linemen battling on every play, which is okay when the players are engaging each other. But when the defensive player is no longer engaged, the offensive player must not hold. We will see several examples of Seattle players letting up when defensive players turn away and STILL get called for holding. On the other hand, Pittsburgh players continue to hold when the defensive player is no longer battling them and the referees ignored it. The more you analyze the game, the more you see the double standard.

One of the more famous bad calls was the offensive pass interference call on Darrell Jackson:

http://www.wordonly.net...

That was an inexcusable call! Now let's compare the "objectivity" of the officiating on that play with this play in the third quarter:

http://www.wordonly.net...


Because of this penalty, Seattle had to settle for a field goal, instead of a touchdown.

At this point, Pittsburgh had no first downs. Seattle kicks off to them, and they again cannot pick up a first down, and have to punt. On this punt, Seattle gets a good return, to the Pittsburgh 46. But again, there is a questionable penalty.

In fact, the camera crew does not even find the actual penalty. Notice that the referee says, "Ten yards from the spot of the foul." Yet when the replay tries to show holding, it is showing action at the Pittsburgh line of scrimmage, at their own 20 yard line. This took place immediately after the punt, while the ball was still in the air. This was a very nit-picky hold, that would only get called on Seattle this day by these refs. We will see several worse violations by Pittsburgh that are ignored by the refs.

If they mark the penalty from the spot of this foul(sic), Seattle would start at the Pittsburgh 30, in better shape than the actual return. So this was not the penalty called by the officials.

Since Seattle started near the 25 yard line, then the penalty must have occurred near the 35 yard line. There is some action near the 35 yard line, by Pruitt (35) who was called for the penalty. I have made annotations of the blocking, to try and spot a foul, but I don't see anything. Whatever happened on that play was much less than some ignored violations by Pittsburgh that I will show later. Here is the play:

http://www.wordonly.net...

This penalty cost Seattle 30 yards of field position. At this point, Seattle has completely dominated Pittsburgh, Seattle has moved the ball well. They scored a touchdown, but had to settle for a field goal because of a terrible call. Pittsburgh had not even picked up a first down in the game. After the touchdown, Seattle kicks off and Pittsburgh again fails to get a first down and they have to punt. Momentum is totally on Seattle's side, and they get a great return into Pittsburgh territory, and get another bad penalty.

Seattle should be way ahead by now, but the referees are keeping Pittsburgh in the game!

Finally, Pittsburgh gets going and scores a touchdown. However, Pittsburgh would not have scored if the refs had been as nit-picky with them as they had been with Seattle. Here is a holding violation that is usually called, but since the refs had a "let them play" attitude for Pittsburgh, they ignored it.

http://www.wordonly.net...

This enabled them to convert a critical third down on their touchdown drive. But an even more blatant hold was ignored on Ben's "touchdown." Leroy Hill (56) would have tackled Ben around the two, but got held by Fanaika (66). This was a blatant violation that should have been called even with a "let them play" approach. Hill was clearly by him and Faneca grabs him from behind with his left arm. This is NOT a "judgment" call; it is penalty no matter how liberal the officiating.

http://www.wordonly.net...


So many people argue about whether or not Ben crossed the goalline, but that is irrelevant. The play should have been moved back ten yards for holding. It was third and two, so this would have made it third and 12. But, as expected, the refs ignored it.

So far, Seattle has dominated Pittsburgh, but has had a touchdown called back because of a terrible penalty, and a punt return brought back 30 yards on a holding penalty that cannot be found on camera. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh has a scoring drive that was helped along by the refs ignoring violations.

It is interesting to listen to the commentary at halftime. There are two overriding themes to their discussion. One is how they all agreed that the offensive pass interference penalty was terrible. Another thing is how they were mystified at how much Seattle dominated Pittsburgh and yet they were behind.

http://www.wordonly.net...

So far, the refs are the MVPs for Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, it doesn't get any better in the second half, which I will show in the next round.

Now I await a response. Thank you.

Crypto247

Con

I accept!
Debate Round No. 1
HmblySkTrth

Pro

Thank you for accepting this debate. That was supposed to be your first round rebuttal. But that's okay, since you have four more rounds to respond.

Since you didn't respond to my arguments, I will reply to two common points made by Pittsburgh fans. Seattle lost because:

1. Seattle's defense gave up big plays.
2. Jeremy Stevens dropped passes.

Okay, Seattle did not play a perfect, flawless game. Is that the reason they lost the Superbowl? By that "logic," no team would ever win the Superbowl because no team has ever played a perfect game. But the bottom line is: Seattle played better than Pittsburgh.

Sure, Pittsburgh had a couple big plays. But as I showed in the first half, these plays were aided by the referees ignoring violations. Seattle made big plays, but the referees negated them with bad calls. I will also show more in the second half.

And yes, Jeremy Stevens dropped passes. But even if he caught everything thrown to him, Seattle still would have lost because the refs would call more bogus penalties to make up for it.

How do I know this? Because THE BETTER SEATTLE PLAYED, THE WORSE THE REFEREES TURNED AGAINST THEM.

Let me explain. Seattle dominated Pittsburgh in the first half, but got shafted many times by the refs, as I already demonstrated in Round One. Then, very early in the third quarter, Pittsburgh scores a touchdown to go ahead 14-3. At this point, it looked like Pittsburgh had the game under control. Amazingly, I could not see as many bad calls against Seattle.

Don't get me wrong. I am not saying the officiating was fair at this point; it was still against Seattle, just not as ridiculous as the first half. In Round One, I showed a comparison of a nitpicky pass interference penalty against Darrell Jackson that called back a touchdown to a blatant violation by Hines Ward in the third quarter that the refs ignored.

Some have tried to say it was less than five yards from the line of scrimmage, but this is not the case. They started at the 40 yard line, and Hines Ward was across the 35 when he committed the penalty. Besides, this was such a clear violation that it should have been a personal foul for hands to the face. Needless to say, if a Seattle player did this, it would have been called! Here is a better look at the play:

http://www.wordonly.net...

At this point, the refs are still favoring Pittsburgh, just not as blatantly as in the first half. However, when Seattle came back and threatened to take the lead, the referees responded with the ugliest officiating in NFL history.

Pittsburgh threatened again, but Ben threw an interception with a big return and Seattle scored a touchdown just a few plays later, narrowing the gap to 14-10. Then late in the third quarter, Pittsburgh punted the ball well and Seattle had to start from their own two yard line.

The next drive is a microcosm of the entire Superbowl. Seattle steamrolls up the field, then gets stopped by terrible officiating.

Seattle had the best offensive line in the league that year. In fact, you could make a legitimate case for the left side of the line (LT Walter Jones, LG Steve Hutchinson) as the best ever in the NFL. They took over the game!

If not for the refs, this would have gone down as the best drive in Superbowl history. Neither the Steelers defense nor the hostile crowd could stop them. They were near midfield at the end of the third quarter, and continued moving up the field in the fourth quarter. Here is the drive before the refs interfered:

http://www.wordonly.net...

As I stated earlier, the officiating wasn't as bad when Pittsburgh was ahead 14-3. But now Seattle's offensive line has taken over the game and the momentum is strongly in Seattle's favor. Pittsburgh's defense is unable to stop Seattle. Pittsburgh players were down, as I will show later in a video. But just when Seattle has taken over the game, the referees took the game away from Seattle.

The next four plays should go down as the biggest travesty in NFL history! The lengths the referees went to keep Seattle from scoring was incredible. Bill Leavy admitted to blowing two calls in this series. He is referring to the holding penalty on the first play and the illegal block penalty on the fourth play. However, all four plays had blatant errors, all going against Seattle.

1. Seattle is at the 19 yard line and completes a pass to the one yard line. Seattle has overcome adversity and absurd officiating, ready to score a touchdown and take a 17-14 lead. But wait! Once again, the referees call a ridiculous holding penalty. Not only was it a bad call, since Pittsburgh was getting away with more than this all game, but two Pittsburgh players jumped offside and the refs ignored it. Even the NFL executives, who were obviously attempting "damage control" because of Leavy publicly admitting to blowing calls, said the Pittsburgh player was offside.

The referees should not have called Seattle for the hold. It was a terrible call. If that is a legitimate holding call, then we will never get through a football game because the refs would call holding on every play. Seattle should have had first and goal at the one.

Even if the refs call this penalty, they should also call the obvious offside penalty. This would be offsetting penalties and Seattle would again face first and ten at the 19.

Instead of first and goal at the one, or even down over as first and ten at the 19, it is first and 20 at the 29. But, moving on . .

2. Hagans (53) jumps offside again and the refs ignore it again! This should be a five yard penalty, making it first and 15 at the 24. Instead, Pittsburgh gets a sack so it is second and 25 at the 34. But, moving on . .

3. Alexander (37) runs the ball to the 27. Joey Porter (55) horsecollared him, but, as usual, the refs ignore it. Horsecollar is a 15 yard penalty and an automatic first down. Or in this case, half the distance to the goal to the 13, facing first and ten. Seattle would be right back in business! Instead, it is third and 18 from the 27. But, moving on . .

4. Hasselbeck throws an interception, then makes the tackle. Now the refs call a low blocking penalty on Hasselbeck. Making the tackle is a penalty for a low block?

Here is the four play fiasco:

http://www.wordonly.net...

Instead of taking over at the 29, Pittsburgh takes over at the 44. After two plays, Pittsburgh faces third and two. On this play, there is holding by two different Pittsburgh players that were ignored. The most obvious was Hines Ward grabbing the defenders arm. It is one thing to hold while engaged in battle, but to reach out and grab a players arm when he is not even engaged in battle, is as obvious as it gets! This non-call is inexcusable.

http://www.wordonly.net...

In the above play, it was third and two. The holding penalty would have made it third and 12, which was much more difficult. But when the holding was ignored, and Pittsburgh picked up the first down, they ran their gadget play, essentially ending the game.

As the announcers kept saying, Pittsburgh likes to run their gadgets near midfield. The bogus illegal block penalty moved the ball from the 29 to the 44, getting them closer to midfield. Then the ignored holding penalty gave them what they needed to run the play that iced the victory.

Seattle took over the game with their drive from the two yard line, and Pittsburgh was demoralized because they were helpless to stop Seattle. In fact, Pittsburgh players jumping offside were signs of frustration because Hasselbeck had too long to throw and was picking them apart. When the refs took over the game, this gave Pittsburgh new life. This video expresses how important how important of a turnaround this officiating fiasco was:

http://www.wordonly.net...

The impact of the officiating could not be any more obvious.

Now I am running out of space so I turn it back to my opponent.

Crypto247

Con

Yes but do you have any proof?
Debate Round No. 2
HmblySkTrth

Pro

Well, my opponent's account has been closed. I hope to debate this subject with a knowledgeable football fan.
Crypto247

Con

Crypto247 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
HmblySkTrth

Pro

Since my opponent's account is closed, then Round Five will also be a forfeit. But I may as well post quickly so we can speed up this process.

I would love to debate this subject with a knowledgeable football fan who does not believe that the referees affected the game. You would have an advantage, since you already see two rounds of my case.
Crypto247

Con

Crypto247 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
HmblySkTrth

Pro

Don't forget to vote. Thanks.
Crypto247

Con

Crypto247 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by airmax1227 5 years ago
airmax1227
HmblySkTrthCrypto247Tied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: This is an interesting resolution that I would enjoy reading. Pro should try to debate it again.
Vote Placed by imabench 5 years ago
imabench
HmblySkTrthCrypto247Tied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: vote bomb the troll
Vote Placed by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
HmblySkTrthCrypto247Tied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit/troll
Vote Placed by Ore_Ele 5 years ago
Ore_Ele
HmblySkTrthCrypto247Tied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Con was trolling.