A Lousy Way To End The Super Bowl

It is an amazing aspect of football that so many millions of people can watch (108 million at last count) a Super Bowl game and have such a huge disagreement on the proper call of the San Francisco 49ers’ last offensive play of the game. Even after watching the play countless times from several angles in slow-motion, there is no consensus on whether or not the contact between Ravens corner Jimmy Smith and Niners receiver Michael Crabtree should have been called a penalty for defensive holding or pass interference, or should have been a no-call, which of course was the result on the field. Even more interesting were the different reasons cited by observers for their various points of view. Throw out the opinions of Ravens or Niner fans; they’re more partisan than Congress and just as unreasonable. But even those without a horse in this race were firm in their beliefs. The ones believing the no-call was proper followed one of the following arguments:

1) You shouldn’t decide a Super Bowl with a flag.

2) Michael Crabtree initiated the contact.

3) The officials had allowed a lot of contact throughout the game, and consistency demanded a no-call.

4) You can’t expect a call in the last two minutes of a game.

5) The pass was uncatchable anyway.

Of these arguments, I dismiss No.1 because, as I tell my children, I am not punishing you; you chose the punishment by your actions. Ergo, Jimmy Smith would have caused the game to be lost by the penalty, not the officials.

No. 2 implies that all contact is the same, and only the initiator should be penalized. No. 4 is irksome because it implies that somehow the rules change late in games. No. 5 only would apply to pass interference. Defensive holding does not depend on the ball being catchable.

Only No. 3 strikes me as a reasonable argument – consistency is an important element of good officiating. But you have probably guessed where I stand by now. When Smith grabbed a handful of Crabtree’s jersey, I would have called defensive holding on Smith and the result would have been half the distance (to the three-yard line) and an automatic first down (which would have set up the league’s shakiest kicker for a game-tying field goal). Regardless of previous jostling, grabbing a jersey to prevent separation is always a penalty in my corner of the football world.

* The recently signed recruiting class by University of Hawaii head football coach Norm Chow seems to have some of the size and speed necessary to run the schemes favored by Chow and his staff. Particularly noteworthy was the signing of some of the best homegrown talent, especially Waianae defensive tackle Kennedy Tulimaseali’i and Kahuku offensive tackle John Wa’a and running back Aofaga Wily.

You never can be exactly sure what you have until you see the players against the increased size and speed of other Division I players, but these three are the first indicator that Chow may well be successful in recruiting players that top Mainland programs want at home.