Earlier this week, NFL referee Bill Leavy, who worked Super Bowl XL between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks, stated that he “kicked two calls in the fourth quarter and I impacted the game.” Based on Leavy’s announcement, I’m sure that the NFL is now going to declare the Seahawks the actual winner of Super Bowl XL. Start planning the victory parade through the Pike Place Fish Market!
Not so fast though. Mike Pereira was the NFL's Vice President of Officiating from 2004-09 and disagrees with Leavy’s assertion. According to Pereira, yes, Leavy made an incorrect call when he flagged Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck for a low block. But the hold should have been called. So I guess that the Vince Lombardi trophy isn’t moving from Pittsburgh after all. Besides, did that 15-yard penalty for a low block really cost Seattle the title in a game where the Seahawks lost by 11?
I think the bigger issue here is why after nearly four and a half years is this still a topic of conversation. The referees didn’t cost Seattle the Super Bowl; the Seahawks cost Seattle the Super Bowl. The Seahawks were unable to stop the Steelers from making three big plays, converted only 5 of 17 third downs (while Pittsburgh was 8 of 15), dropped several passes, missed two field goals, and couldn’t pin the Steelers inside the 10 yard line in the punting game. Sure, it’s easy for former Seattle coach Mike Holmgren to want to deflect any criticism from himself. Blame the refs and don’t notice that my team and I (meaning Holmgren) did a terrible job managing the clock.
While I’m happy that Leavy feels like a weight is off of his shoulders, I think it’s time for everyone to move on and enjoy the upcoming football season, while the Steelers and all of its fans should continue to celebrate their fifth of six Super Bowl championships.