"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)
Monday, February 06, 2006
Not to take anything away from the Steelers, who were clearly the better team yesterday, but it must be said that they did not play especially well. In fact, compared to their previous three games, they were at best mediocre. Any time the MVP is a receiver who racked up an uninspiring five catches for 143 yards and one TD, you know you haven't seen much of a game. Ben Roethlisberger had a miniscule 22.6 passer rating, and still managed to win.
Unfortunately, a mediocre Steelers team was more than good enough to beat the Seahawks, who turned in their worst performance of the year. You will recall that I identified Seahawks' tight end Jerramy Stevens as the key to the game - I said that if the Steelers could shut Stevens down, they would win. I was almost right: Stevens shut himself down, and that was enough to sink the lifeless Hawks.
But the terrible performances were not limited to those of the players. The officiating was amateurish, at best. I disagree with those who believe that Roethlisberger's touchdown run was stopped short of the goal line - I think the replays clearly showed that he broke the plane with the ball - but there is no excuse for the linesman calling the play dead and then signaling the score several seconds later. The offensive pass interference call against Stevens (on one of his few decent plays) was punk, and the illegal block call against Matt Hasselbeck was simply stupid. Blatant holds by both offenses went uncalled as a matter of course. It is hard to believe that this was the best officiating crew the NFL could offer.
Finally, in a game of terrible performances, special notice has to go out to the clowns mixing the live sound at Ford Field yesterday. From the pregame performance by Stevie Wonder, to the National Anthem, to the Rolling Stones' halftime show, to the post-game trophy ceremony, the sound was consistently awful. It sounded like it was mic'ed with telephone handsets (the old-fashioned carbon grain models), and mixed by lemurs.
All of that aside, congratulations to the Pittsburgh Steelers and their fans. It wasn't pretty, but it was convincing in its own pathetic way.
Update: On further review, it was Jackson, not Stevens, who got called for the bogus offensive pass interference. The reader will not be charged a time out.