As you might figure, February has been a pretty good month for me, if for no other reason that my Pittsburgh Steelers won their 6th Super Bowl, beating the Arizona Cardinals 27-23. There was much rejoicing throughout my family and Steeler-loving friends.
But as is always expected now, the whiners came out immediately.
“Oh, the refs favored the Steelers…”
“Why didn’t they call that penalty on Holmes?”
“Why wasn’t Harrison thrown out of the game?”
“The NFL had the fix in…”
Maybe this happens with every championship and I only notice it when the Steelers are involved. But it is tremendously pervasive whenever the Steelers beat the Baltimore Ravens. It’s always the refs, or the NFL hates the Ravens, or the Ravens “beat themselves.” As I mentioned in one of my last posts in the old Darwinfish, according to the Ravens and their fans, they’ve never been beaten. Oh the refs have stolen the game, and they’ve beaten themselves, but no other team has ever beaten them. It’s like it would kill them to actually admit that another team was better than them, on that day.
I’m not sure when it all started, but I remember it going back to Super Bowl XIII. The Cowboys have never stopped bitching about that one. I saw something on the NFL Network last year when they had a feature on SBXIII and current interviews with the old players. Cliff Harris and Charlie Waters are still complaining about the refs… This was the game that featured a deep pass where Lynn Swann tangled feet with the Dallas cornerback and drew a pass interference call. Also, Charlie Waters ran smack into a ref on his way to try to tackle Franco Harris, who was blasting up the middle for a key touchdown.
They also blame poor Jackie Smith, who was in the end zone when he dropped a pass that hit him right in the numbers.
After Super Bowl XL, the Seahawks and other haters brought their ref-whining to a squealing crescendo.
“The refs handed them the game… all the penalties… the fix is in…”
Same old shit. I guess it never dawned on anyone to blame the players for actually committing the penalties. I’ve seen the replays… in every case but 1 the refs got it right. They blew the illegal block call on Hasselbeck, who actually whiffed on his block attempt.
So, the Steelers beat the Cards, there were a lot of penalties called, so therefore the fix was in again. This, of course ignores any actual mitigating rational thought… Like if the fix were in for the Steelers, would the refs have taken a touchdown off the board in the 1st quarter like they did? Would they have called a suspect holding call in the end zone, replacing a first down pass to Santonio Holmes that got them out of a hole, with a call that resulted in a safety? Even though the refs broke with recent tradition and actually called it twice when they held James Harrison, they didn’t call it about a dozen other times. They didn’t call Larry Fitzgerald for running about 20 yards out of bounds while in pursuit after James Harrison’s goal line pick.
Anyway, the main reason I’m even going into all this is to highlight a great column by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette by Steelers beat writer Ed Bouchette. He provides a fact-based, well-reasoned case declaring that while the refereeing wasn’t good, it wasn’t biased. You can read that here.
Now, repeat after me… “The Undisputed 6-Time Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers!”