Diamonds and Ice

Refs take away Cards’ last Super Bowl gasp

Sitting in my sister’s living room, I was dumbfounded. The rest of my family was, too.

I just assumed the Arizona Cardinals would have one last Hail Mary attempt from the Pittsburgh 45. But all of a sudden, Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger took a snap, kneeled and Super Bowl 43 was over. Over? Did you say over?

I will never understand how NFL replay officials at the game didn’t review the supposed fumble from Kurt Warner, Cedar Rapids’ pride and joy, on the previous play. Warner was hit by a Steelers lineman just as he was about to throw the football downfield. The officials ruled it was a fumble, Pittsburgh recovered, game over.

Instant replays sure made it appear to be a close enough call to at least get a review. Especially this being the Super Bowl and all.

But no review, no overturned call. Curious. If you were a Cardinals fan, furious.

Here’s a replay. What did you think?

And let’s not forget that Pittsburgh wide receiver Santonio Holmes’ “celebration” in the end zone after his beautiful game-winning catch should have cost the Steelers 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Pittsburgh should have had to kickoff from its 15, which would have given Arizona a better chance to negotiate its way downfield.

In the end, it may not have mattered anyway. But it would have nice to find out.


9 Comments so far
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I was a little amazed there wasn’t a reversal. Even as he was hit the ball was still on his palm as he followed through. I would figure that’s an incomplete pass. Of course, my view is skewed by personal interest. I agree with you. Before Steelers fans get bent out of shape, it doesn’t mean Arizona would have scored on the next play or overturn the interception Warner threw that was returned for a TD. By the way, James Harrison’s performance should be tarnished by that ridiculous and ejectionable action during his unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Comment by kjpilcher

This is utterly easy to dissect, especially since even the Super Bowl is governed by the laws of physics. Watch the video one more time, put your Steelers or Cardinals bias aside and think like a pocket-protector-wearing-geek for a moment. How, exactly, does the ball end up going FORWARD? Watch closely. Please note the defender’s hit is from the side and the defenders arms go into and down across Warner. If you don’t think the ball was in Warner’s hand as his arm went forward, please enlighten me and the rest of the world as to EXACTLY how the ball is propelled forward almost 7 yards (5 on the fly). A second shooter? A grassy knoll? The only logical explanation is that the ball was in Warner’s hand for at least the start of his arm going forward. I contend, with both video proof and Newtonian physics on my side, this was not an “empty hand” scenario and, thus, not a fumble. Okay, ditch the nerd-gear mode. The refs blew the call, the replay officials are total dorks for not stopping things for a review and we will never know if the Steelers would have actually won this game on their own accord.

Comment by Mike Coleman

WOW! I never knew skipping all those science classes would come back to haunt me. 🙂 One other thing to note, had the play been an incompletion the Cardinals would have received a 15-yard penalty for Farrior (I believe) taking his helmet off on the field. Would have put Arizona a little closer to the end zone and making Fitzgerald, NBoldin and Breaston that much more dangerous for one more play.

Comment by kjpilcher

Was a fumble. Empty Hand rule. Booth did review according to the announcers and saw it the same. Steelers win.

Comment by swilson

Too close to call without a review to be sure, but, wow, really? Couldas, shouldas, wouldas. I expect more out of you, J.J.

Comment by pud'nhead

The Harrison non-ejection? I think that it was rough play, but when a guy is isolated one on one, the violence is magnified. Ask any current or former NFL or college player what life is in “the pit.” Anything goes, no quarter given or taken. Do I think he should’ve been ejected? No, but he quite possibly should’ve been given two personal fouls, one for the fist work, and second for the cheap, albeit legal, block.
Remember, as soon as the ball is kicked, Harrison becomes blocker, not rusher.

Comment by pud'nhead

We need to be factual here. The “empty hand” rule (actually called the Tuck Rule in NFL rules lingo) requires the hand to be empty from the time the arm STARTS forward. If the ball and hand separate anytime after the arm (ball in hand) has already started forward, it is a pass (incomplete or otherwise) and not a fumble.

Put team bias aside, watch the tape and explain how the ball can fly 5 yards forward if it was an empty hand situation and there is no video evidence showing a defender batting it forward.

My theory is out here publicly stated – still waiting on any other logical/plausible theories. Have at it, but so far…crickets.

Comment by Mike Coleman

Ok, physics guy. Here’s my shot. Suppose I weigh 205 pounds (Warner’s weight, I’m actually a buck-90). And, supposing you are about 260-270 and flying at me at approximately 20 mph with “Kill, Bubba, Kill” imprinted on my mind (you probably aren’t, but just sayin’). I realize that we aren’t operating in a vacuum, but I feel you could remove me from the ball, causing it to fly forward five yards, especially with a world championship on the line.

Comment by pud'nhead

Refs did take a way a win for the Cards with bad calls. If you review images of Santonio Holmes game winning touchdown, you’ll notice both feet we’re not down. Which would mean “out of bounds”. I’d venture to say the refs we’re either paid off or wearing Steelers jerseys under they’re zebra outfits!

Comment by Bad Call

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