Today being the day of the “big game” with so many websites posting top ten lists and so many fans leaving comments, I thought I would add my two cents worth.
About officials: A lot of talk is going around the internet about these much-maligned men who call the games. I am a die-hard Seattle Seahawks fan and there is many a complaint about the officiating in Super Bowl XL where we lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Heck one of the officiating crew admitted to making bad calls in that game just this year.
First let me say this. I perceived a certain trend throughout the playoffs of the powers that be liking the “story” of Jerome Bettis going home to Detroit and going out in a blaze of glory as a champion. If I saw one more clip with him saying “Just get me home.” I was going to hurl.
Pittsburgh did have a great run to get there especially the win in Indianapolis. They were and are a hard-nosed football team. I would truly hate to believe that the NFL is in any way like the WWE!
Seattle had it’s best season ever. Shaun Alexander, Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson were so dominant that even though the whole world knew they were going to run Shaun to the left side more often than not, they could still get it done. Seattle had some other good players. Matt Hasselbeck, Darrel Jackson, Bobby Engram, Joe Jurevicius and let me not forget the great fullback, Mack Strong on offense. Lofa Tatupu, Grant Wistrom and Rocky Bernard from the defense stand out in my mind. I hate to leave anyone on that team out. The entire roster contributed. I remember Steve Hutchinson pointing out a picture hanging in the hallway of the team offices snapped at the moment of the blocked field goal against the Giants. There was some serious effort shown there as Steve was pointing out during that interview. Seattle had a pretty good story going also. Steve will be the subject of his own post. We miss you!
The point I would really like to make in this post is that every team suffers from and benefits from questionable calls during the course of a season and playoff run. Every team also catches good and bad breaks. In 2005 The Dallas Cowboys defense shut Seattle’s running game down. Drew Bledsoe threw a very timely interception allowing Seattle a victory. Thanks for the gift homeboy. My younger brother sacked him in high school. The New York Giants played very well in Seattle that season and the Seahawks managed to eke out a victory.
In Super Bowl XL the Pittsburgh Steelers made some great plays. I seem to remember a flea flicker that burned the Seahawks for a touchdown or at least led to one. There were a few others at least. Seattle did not run the ball as well as they had been all year. In the divisional playoff against the Redskins, Shaun was knocked out of the game on the second or third play and it was up to Matt and the receivers to get it done. They did.
The point I am trying to make here is that great teams get it done no matter what. They do not give up until the next day or something. I was very concerned when the Seahawks had to face the defending champion New Orleans Saints in the wildcard round this season even though they were very fortunate that it was a home game. Drew Brees certainly had the fire in his eyes yet Charlie Whitehurst managed to win the game.
The Pittsburgh Steelers and their quarterback Ben Roethlisberger embody these traits. They play hard until the game is over. I admire them for this, as much as I am tempted to despise them. So many times I have seen Big Ben shake off a tackle with the merest sidestep and complete the pass downfield. He is obviously very strong and very determined to win.
Mike Holmgren was a great coach. I think he let the official situation get under his skin a little too much. When they were attempting to interview him on the way to the locker room at half time he was visibly upset over the officiating. He reminded me of an angry walrus. I think his focus should have been on overcoming the obstacle rather than worrying about what had already transpired. The Seattle Seahawks outperformed the Pittsburgh Steelers in every measured statistic except the most important one. The final score.