Monday, February 02, 2009

"Greatest Super Bowl Ever" Hyperbole Overshadowed By Overblown Officiating Controversy

If the early blog reports are any sort of indicator, then it appears that the biggest storyline of a very entertaining Super Bowl will once again be the lackluster officiating of the game. While MJD makes a very compelling plea for fans to rise above dwelling on any controversial calls, I'm sure he does so while realizing that diehard Cardinals fans (you know, the ones who just learned their head coach's name four weeks ago) and Steelers haters will find it difficult to let go of a few of the plays from that game. Cardinals fans would like you to think that had the final Cardinals' play been reviewed, and had it been ruled an incomplete pass (unlikely), then given one more shot, Warner would have chucked the ball into the endzone; and Larry Fitzgerald would have leapt up amongst five defenders and been the one to come down with the ball for a game winning score. Actually, that last part isn't so tough to believe afterall.

But The Hater Nation does bring up a good point. It does seem like historically, the Steelers do disproportionately benefit from the referees' decision making. (Perhaps that's what makes them the "model franchise in all of sports.") There certainly are some similiarities in the camera work between the Immaculate Reception and Santonio Holmes' game winning touchdown catch. It's amazing that with all of the cameras at that game, there wasn't a definitive shot of his right toe hitting the ground. Fortunately for NBC, much like in the Olympics when they couldn't get conclusive video of Michael Phelps winning the 100m butterfly, there are still photographs which verify that the correct call was made.

However my favorite diatribe about the officiating comes from Chris Chase of Yahoo Sports. What got my attention wasn't actually the enumeration of the controversial calls (and yes, the roughing the passer penalty was ridiculous, but not any moreso than 90% of all the other roughing calls made during the NFL season). No, what I found fascinating is that Chase took a screen grab from Warner's final play and then plastered a watermark onto it. Like this:

" DVR has a pause button. I better make sure nobody steals this image without giving me credit!" I know people want to protect their content, but is there really anything even remotely special about a screen grab from a play that was already seen by 300 billion (unofficial, logistically impossible estimate) people worldwide?

I'm not even sure what the picture is trying to prove. Since it's a frozen image, the viewer has no idea if Warner's arm is being cocked back or moving forward. I do think the shot of Santonio Holmes in the background is cool tho.

But Chase gave me an idea. Like everyone else on the planet, I was watching the Super Bowl too. And I happened to have a camera with me and took a few pictures during the game. Perhaps I could post some screen shots from the game with my website's name on them and see if anyone wants to use them on their blog to establish any points; and in the process, give me some free publicity (click for larger image).

For example, Sidebar: Why is Ben Roethlisberger wearing eye black for a night game?

Point: The Steelers are cheaters! Look at how the left tackle here is obviously lined up off of the line of scrimmage:

Observation: Look at the strange look in Ben Roethlisberger's eyes. Could it be that he was using nonverbal hypnosis to mesmerize the officials and compel them to call over 100 yards in penalties against the Cardinals?

Counterpoint: The officials weren't only throwing the flags against the Cardinals. Here's proof of a Holding call that went against the Steelers:

Lost Storyline: History tends to highlight the winners and bury the losers. There were quite a few great performances made by Cardinals players that will be forgotten in short time. For example, Darnell Dockett was in Ben Roethlisberger's face all night long.

As you can see, when you view game photos in isolation, you can make them say whatever you want. It's all a matter of perspective. For example, some of you may have been in such denial over the Cardinals' loss that you didn't even notice a football game being played in these photos at all. For those people, it's alright. The healing will come in time.

Special thanks to Madison Scott for being such a good sport. Be sure to check her out in all kinds of illicit content that I can't even consider linking to from here.

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At Mon Feb 02, 07:00:00 AM PST , Blogger FFJewbacca said...

See, that's how all officiating controversies should be covered from now on.

Or not covered judging by the last couple of pictures.

Welcome back.


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