Monday, February 02, 2009

Monday morning Quarterback: Asking the tough questions about the Superbowl...

Great Superbowl! Enjoyed all 30 minutes of the second half. I must say, Jennifer Hudson is now squarely in second place for all time renditions of the Star Bangled Banner, only being edged out by Whitney Houston. Anyone catch President Obama's short interview with Lauer before the game? That must be unprecedented, also pretty interesting that he wasn't trying to play the middle of the road on who he was picking to win, considering the entire Steelers organization basically canvassed and supported his election bid in the state of Pennsylvania, while the other team was the home state organization for his rival. No brainer, huh? Overall I thought the commercials weren't as good this year as previous years, although I thought there were some pretty notable ones, including the etrade babies with one of them singing "broken wing." 
Did anyone watch the final play? Warner hikes the ball, the pocket collapses, he scrambles to his right and up to get more protection, and is hit in his throwing motion. Here is the video clip, unfortunately the NFL doesn't have an official youtube video for the play. 

The biggest question on my mind and everyone I know is, why wasn't the play immediately review and the game halted?After the recovery by the Steelers, there is a 1 minute 48 second gap before the Steelers kneel the ball. According to Mike and Mike this morning and a USA Today quote from VP of Officiating Mike Pereira, “We confirmed it was a fumble,” said Pereira. “The replay assistant in the replay booth saw it was clearly a fumble. The ball got knocked loose and was rolling in his hand before it started forward. He has to have total control.” 
Two main things I have issue with here: Why weren't the officials on the field involved with the review of the play in the Superbowl?! The booth upstairs apparently can review a play without the ref's involvement? And secondly, why, if it was being reviewed, Why on earth did it take such a short period of time? A play like that, the game should be halted, and the network should at least have known or been notified what was going on so that the official review banner could have been put up on the score at the bottom of the screen so people would at least understand what was going on, it looked quite shaky. I have heard a lot of Steeler fans saying it wouldn't have mattered if they had ruled it incomplete, and I laugh at that statement. Ha Ha. After assessing the penalty for unsportsmanlike, it would have been 15 yards from where the ball landed, so the Cardinals would have had 5 seconds on the clock (stopped) to run a play from around the 30 yard line. What an opportunity! It would have set up to be either a superbowl preserving defensive stop or an all time game winning touchdown. From looking at the video I can't tell that Warner didn't have control of the ball as he was bringing it forward to throw it, the ball even squirted out of his hands during the hit from his arm's forward momentum. How was that not reviewed and called a fumble? The official NFL rule book states:

"Note 1: When a Team A player is holding the ball to pass it forward, any intentional movement forward of his hand starts a forward pass. If a Team B player contacts the passer or the ball after forward movement begins, and the ball leaves the passer’s hand, a forward pass is ruled, regardless of where the ball strikes the ground or a player."
Also, from Wikipedia:

A challenge can only be made on certain reviewable calls before the two minute warning and only when a team has at least one time-out remaining in the half. When a coach decides to challenge a call, he throws a red flag onto the field, indicating the challenge to the referees. Up until the 2005 season, coaches could also signal a challenge via an electronic pager, now used only by the replay assistant.[7]

The referee has 60 seconds to watch the instant replay of the play and decide if the original call was correct. The referee must see "incontrovertible visual evidence" for a call to be overturned. If the challenge fails, the original ruling stands and the challenging team is charged with a timeout. If the challenge overrules the previous call, the call is reversed with no loss of a timeout.

After the 2-minute warning of each half, and in overtime, reviews can only take place if the replay assistant, who sits in the press box and monitors the network broadcast of the game, determines that a play needs review; coaches may not challenge during these times. In those cases, the replay assistant will contact the referee by a specialized electronic pager with a vibrating alert.

Take another look at the video. Pretty close. DEFINITELY close enough that a full formal Official Review should have taken place!! Show it on the jumbotron, allow all the viewers to see it, and let the officials who were closest to the play help in the decision making. I realize the booth upstairs have 1080P monitors and can zoom in and such, but I have those capabilities too. And I zoomed in on all the network feed replays and looked, and it was very close. Just for review's sake, here is the video from the Tom Brady forward momentum tuck rule game. Look at his control of the ball and how the ball moves compared with Warners. I think Warner was actually hit sooner in his throwing motion, but I think his throwing motion had already started forward as contact from the defender was made. Therefore, a fumble. My point is that this game was so much better then it's ending. It should have been settled on a defensive stop or amazing catch on the final play with time running out, not a flag.I would love to know what you think. I will be updating this post as any new details emerge. EDIT: After reading a lot of people's feelings, I think that the tuck rule should be amended that once the ball is past the point of being thrown for a pass, that is, the front of the ball is pointing down at the ground, if it is popped out, it's a fumble.


The Game

Last night’s game had a finish reminiscent of last year’s match between the Pats and Giants. The only differences were the absolute lack of discipline or defense, and instead of ONE helmet-clutching play, we were rewarded for sticking through this penalty-ridden game with a number of unforgettable plays. You could say that the difference between victory and defeat for the underdog Cardinals was the difference between one yard and a hundred. In his three appearances, Kurt Warner has put up the greatest statistics at his position in SUPER BOWL HISTORY. He owns the records for most touchdowns and most yards, among records he set this year for a single postseason. He completed 31 of 43 passes, and threw three touchdowns for nearly 400 yards—an incredible, MVP-type performance…if you win. But his errant throw at the goal line was the difference between victory and defeat for his underdog team. You can’t even think to pour dirt on a guy who’s been such an incredible story, and had such a great season. But I can’t remember a single Super Bowl where anon-game-winning field goal or tackle at the one yard line—you know, a play at the END of the game—was ultimately what decided the outcome of the game.

Quite honestly, my gut told me that the Steelers would pull out that fourth quarter victory. It just proved to me even more that despite it not being a Christian principle, the concept of Karma is both real and prevalent in sports. It’s not ironic that after a century of bullying, the Yankees are the ONLY team to lose a 3-0 lead…or that they lost it to the Red Sox. It’s not ironic that every time Kobe Bryant loses an NBA Finals it’s because whoever he plays against has mastered the concept of “team basketball.” It’s not ironic that a team that was caught cheating for recording other teams’ plays illegally then went on an 18-0 season only to lose in the Super Bowl to a team that seemed to rise up solely to defeat them—as now the Giants…kind of suck.  It’s not ironic that Jose Canseco is still broke after writing a tell-all book that garnered millions.

And it’s not ironic that in a game where two teams ultimately deserved to win, the victory went to a team with a great coach, great ownership, and the fans who the majority of hadn’t just bought their first team jersey two weeks ago (yes, the bandwagon was enormous, especially IN Arizona). A Cardinals win would’ve been nice to see, but a Steelers victory…well let’s face it…we got to see Obama beat McCain in something else—it was awesome!

So congrats to everyone involved, especially Coach Tomlin/Omar Epps (a la Sports Guy), the youngest coach to ever win a Super Bowl. And if you’re a Kurt Warner fan, enjoy him in the next few weeks while you can, cuz on Sunday he sounded a biiiiit like this guy I used to like who plays for the Jets…


The Commercials

Because I know diddly-squat about marketing, my own personal test of commercial greatness is: “Which ones do I remember the next morning?” And I remember 3:

3. Dorito’s “Crystal Ball”

It wasn’t great, but it made me laugh because it was goofy, random, and unexpected. If you can’t be great, shoot for 2 or 3 of those, and I’ll be happy. After all, those are the reasons why Zoolander and Napoleon Dynamite are saved on my computer.

2. [Insert beer company’s name here]’s “I’m good.”

Every year, you’re gonna get at least ONE great beer commercial (personally, I find that few of them have Clydesdales in them…I hate those).

This one was mainly for guys. Bowling balls to heads, electrocution that shoots a man off the roof, and a double-golf swing to the face—you can’t ask for more. You want at least ONE commercial that makes you groan. This was the one. I still think it might’ve been funnier if one of those times a guy had burst into tears, seen his friend’s faces, sucked it up once and THEN tried to say “I’m good.” I mean, I needed someone to represent my demographic. But it was still really funny.

1. CareerBuilder’s “You might need a new job. As a rule.”

This commercial was funny…then it got funnier…and funnier, until by the end I was clapping. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I found it hilarious. Whoever they hire to do their commercials is extremely stupid, and I hope his/her marketing firm expands to do more commercials. In years past, they’ve waged war with office supplies, and performed all sorts of crazy feats. This year, they made a pseudo public service announcement. I think over time, this commercial will be less funny, but yesterday, it couldn’t have been better.


Many people would of course argue for the 3D stuff, but I wasn’t wearing the glasses at the time, so I didn’t care. And in 3D-less vision, watching Ray Lewis dance in a leotard is both disturbing and bizarre.


THE P.O.L.R exPRESS said...

I think its a tie for second place between her and Beyonce with Jordin Sparks in the NFC championship game RIGHT behind them!

Jason Davis said...

So i was not the only person in America that thought that should have at least received an official review. Also did you notice in the first half the the clock ran down 3 seconds to force the first half to reach the two minute warning.