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Archive for Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Refs totally blew it this weekend

NFL officials undermined league’s credibility with blunders in victories by Steelers, Broncos

January 17, 2006

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I'm still in optic recovery after a weekend of visual OD'ing on NFL playoff football.

Talk about amazed, amused and, at times, stunned.

I saw it all on a 36-inch Sony in HD, and, obviously, I need an upgrade in screen size. I can't remember a worse playoff weekend for the zebras.

Not even replay could get it right, at least in the case of Pete Morelli, the referee in the Colts-Steelers game.

If Steelers safety Troy Polamalu didn't make that fourth-quarter interception, then I'll bankroll an all-you-can-eat hamburger binge.

The call was right on the field, but then Morelli overruled it on the review.

I haven't seen a call like that, or heard an explanation like that, since the infamous "tuck" play four years ago in Foxborough, Mass.

The NFL is the king of all sports, but something like this undermines the credibility of the entire process.

Steelers linebacker Joey Porter was speaking for me, a neutral observer, when he said, "Come on, man. Don't cheat us that bad. When they did that, I was like, they really want Peyton Manning and these guys to win the Super Bowl. They were just going to take it from us."

Other random views from Round Two of the playoffs:

l Since like early November, the entire focal point of the NFL season has been on the Colts. Was this a super team? Not Super Bowl. That was almost a given. But super, as in elite for the ages?

How could anyone not want the best for Tony Dungy?

But the Steelers, the sixth and final seed in the AFC, flat outplayed Indy.

Man, this performance was hard to explain, but quarterback Peyton Manning shouldn't have attempted to do so. His postgame reference about a lack of pass protection was classless.

If Manning is supposed to be the team leader, the Colts would probably be better off with another Indy jock. Ron Artest.

l Speaking of the Cowboys, did Bears head coach Lovie Smith and his defensive coordinator, Ron Rivera, decide not to review films of a Christmas Eve contest in Charlotte?

How do you contain Carolina receiver Steve Smith?

Well, the Cowboys did it in that game. Jam him at the line. Double-cover him always. Don't let this guy beat you.

But Sunday, Lovie and Ron decided they knew best. Give the guy single-coverage room, and play the safeties deep.

Steve Smith ate their lunch with one of the greatest shows in playoff history.

Lovie was voted NFL Coach of the Year. Rivera has been a hot name to become an NFL head coach next season.

Both just took a severe reputation hit.

l Did you ever think you'd see a Patriots team unravel like Saturday night in Denver?

It just goes to show that the Pats' dynasty run was not about the coach. It was about the quarterback.

Mr. Brady was finally human in that loss.

But again, strictly as a neutral observer, the zebras also were Denver's best friend in that win.

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