JohnFMurray.com – Feb 7, 2006 – Commentary – Were the Seattle Seahawks doomed by horrible officiating in this wackiest of wacky Super Bowls? I will not assert this as I prefer to carry the highest level of sportsmanship, and model this for my students and clients. Pittsburgh won and should be credited 100%.

On the other hand, JohnFMurray.com has become a popular website with thousands of daily visitors and I want to be fair and give both sides to my readers.

I am getting a ton of email saying that the zebras took this game. I’ve already stated that I do not believe this, but will present the other side here to be fair. If the officials did steal this game, it prevented the MPI forecast from being 4-0 against the spread.

I’ll let you the reader decide. Here are some post-game comments by leaders in the media consistent with the view that Seattle was robbed.

Dave Goldberg of Associated Press

-Darrell Jackson was called for offensive pass interference for pushing off Chris Hope on what would have been a 16-yard completion from Matt Hasselbeck. The call was a little ticky-tacky, but it was a penalty.

-A holding penalty on Chris Gray that negated an 18-yard completion from Hasselbeck to Jackson that would have given the Seahawks a first down at the Pittsburgh 23.

-A 34-yard punt return by Peter Warrick to the Pittsburgh 46 was called back by a holding penalty on Etric Pruitt. Although to be fair, there’s nothing unusual about a penalty on any punt or kick in any game?

-Finally, some dubious clock management and play calling that forced Josh Brown into trying a 54-yard field goal late in the half. It was wide right, so the Steelers led 7-3 at intermission despite being outplayed for most of the half.

Michael Wilborn of the Washington Post:

…The Seahawks should have had a touchdown on Darrell Jackson’s reception in the end zone, but the officials called an absurd offensive pass interference penalty on Jackson, wiping out the score.

Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City Star:

Bill Leavy and his crew ruined Super Bowl XL. Am I the only one who would like to hear them defend their incompetence? His column is entitled: “Throw a flag on these Super Bowl referees”.


Article “Fans Enraged Over Officials’ Calls”.

Toronto Star:

TV unveils zebras at their worst (Lousy officials simply hijacked The Big Game).

Bob George:

“Stealing a win? Is that why they’re called the Steelers?”

Gery Woelfel of the Journal Times:

“Not so Super officiating”.

ESPN’s SportsNation poll:

Vast majority of respondents said what they would remember most about Super Bowl XL was the poor officiating

The Chicago Sun Times:

“Bill Leavy and his crew (Umpire Garth DeFelice, line judge Mark Perlman, field judge Steve Zimmer, side judge Tom Hill and back judge Bob Waggoner) ought to be fired. Well, maybe not all of them. But certainly Leavy.”

Dr. John F. Murray is a sports psychologist and clinical psychologist providing sports psychology and counseling services based in Palm Beach, Florida.