Even Vince McMahon Turned His Head in Shame
Steelers Fever Exclusive Editorial
|Friday, November 9th, 2012
By Tiger Rowan
Steelers Fever Columnist
NOTICE: This editorial was sent in for publishing earlier this week. However, due to server issues, publishing was delayed.
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Right around half-time of the Steelers-Giants game, my brother walked out of the room… and did not return. My eighteen-month old daughter sought out her uncle, calling down the hallway, “Uncle… where are you?” When she found him, her cheers of “Touchdown!!!” brought a momentary smile to his face. I followed suit, by asking him if he was going to return to watch the game. After a considerable amount of time, he replied, “I just do not know.”
Mr. Goodell, you may not know my brother, but he is the most patient, calm, and soft-spoken person in the world. I takes a lot, and I mean a LOT, to get his feathers ruffled; Gandhi is more of a hot head than he is. But, to put it simply, the abomination that he witnessed during the Steelers-Giants game was enough to evoke a reaction from him (albeit, a calm & passive one).
For those of you who missed it, it appeared to many (not just Steelers fans) that the referees were overtly trying to give some sort of advantage to the Giants. Sure, we all feel sorry for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Absolutely, a small part of all of us (even Steelers fans) would have liked to have seen the New York fans have a three-hour break from their misery. And, positively, a win would have been a story-book ending to their week. But, not at the expense of the integrity of the game.
Any fan hates for their team to lose, but losses happen. Sometimes, an opponent simply outplays your team, and we can all accept those types of losses. But, when the referees are making calls that are blatantly one-sided, it calls into question whether any of what we are seeing is truly “real”… or if it is all merely scripted. And, once those types of “questions of doubt” creep into a fan-base’s heads, it is very difficult to get those thoughts back out. Just ask David Stern.
Before anyone starts to tell me to stop whining and/or that “every team gets bad calls”, I will readily agree: usually the bad calls even out. But, in this game, this was not the case in the least; the calls were obviously being called in New York’s favor. Allow me to describe the most glaring of them.
After batting away two prior passes, Keenan Lewis apparently bats away a third pass… only to be called for pass interference. I will cut to the chase: the replay clearly showed that Lewis never touch the receiver. Regardless, after that 41-yard penalty, the Giants had first down inside of the red-zone. Similarly, a few series later, the Giant receiver was running full speed down the field, with Lewis in perfect coverage. Then, the receiver stops, and turns into Lewis, drawing a 46-yard pass interference call. I know, I know: the defender can not touch the receiver, no matter what… but what was Lewis supposed to do!?! It was an impossible task for Lewis to avoid contact, and simply, the receiver played it well. Simply, those two penalties gave New York eighty-seven “free” yards and/or those penalties created two moments when the field-position battle was flip-flopped.
Likewise, on a critical third down, Ryan Clark is flagged for helmet-to-helmet contact… which gave the Giants first down & goal, at the one-yard line. Please, allow me to outline the many, many things wrong with this penalty. First of all, Ryan Clark put his shoulder into Victor Cruz’s rib cage, which is not only nowhere near Cruz’s helmet, it was a textbook tackle. For those of you who said that the hit was violent, I will repeat: the NFL teaches players to hit the torso. Furthermore, if Ike Taylor does not get his hands on the ball, Cruz might have caught it… unless, of course, Clark dislodges the ball. Was Clark supposed to just “allow” Cruz to score a touchdown!?! Lastly, as I just mentioned, Ike Taylor almost intercepted that ball; hence, technically, for the half of a second that Ike had the ball in his hands (which was the exact moment when Clark hit Cruz), Clark was “allowed” to block the receiver (so that Ike could return it). Make sense? Regardless of any of these facts, Clark was flagged… essentially giving the Giants a touchdown (instead of a field goal).
Wait… some of you are still belly-aching about Clark’s hit being too rough. Allow me to ask you this: was Clark’s hit more severe that the hit that a defensive back put on Mike Wallace? …even though Mike Wallace was on the ground, in a defenseless position? …and Wallace was hit in the helmet by the defensive back’s helmet? Yes, you say. Hmmm. How about this one: Chris Rainey is laying defenseless, on the ground, and a linebacker, who outweighs Rainey by 70 pounds, plants his shoulder into Rainey’s ribs… and Rainey leaves the game on a stretcher. Was Clark’s hit more severe that that? Yes… really??? Well, I guess that you must be an NFL official, because neither of those plays were flagged (while Clark’s hit was).
Lastly, there was the Ben Roethlisberger fumble/incomplete pass. At this point, it does not even matter if it was a fumble or if it was an incomplete pass, because after the barrage of glaringly one-sided penalties, Steelers fans (and most of the people watching this game) had already checked out. Just ask my brother, who commented, “It doesn’t matter… the refs will just give the Giants the ball on the next play.” Again, Mr. Goodell, it is not just the fact that bad calls were made; it was the fact that the integrity of the game is coming into question. In turn, by the time that a truly questionable play occurred, the jaded fans watching replied, “Of course the refs were going to give the Giants the ball.” In fact, even Phil Simms was in a lather about how bad of a call that this was. Then, mysteriously, after the commercial break, he made a complete one-eighty… and said that it was a fumble. Interesting. In turn, many fans were asking themselves the following: since a certain commissioner was in attendance, might that certain commissioner have made a visit to the booth, and told Simms to change his plight? Hmmm… interesting. Of course this is merely just rumor, speculation, & fabrication… but, Mr. Goodell, it is indeed what many people are asking.
Anyway, despite the referees valiant attempts at stopping the Steelers, the Giants were held to a measly three-yards per offensive play… which is down-right amazing. Sorry, Mr. Goodell, the Steelers did not lay down for your referees. Maybe, next time, try “fixing” a game against a team with less moxie.