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Thread: Zebra Report: Simmer, 'Stealer' Haters

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  1. #1
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    Zebra Report: Simmer, 'Stealer' Haters

    Zebra Report: Simmer, 'Stealer' Haters

    Posted Oct 28, 2009 9:00AM By Matt Snyder (RSS feed)
    Filed Under: Steelers, Vikings, NFL Referees


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    Zebra Report is FanHouse's analysis of actual NFL rules and how they are to be applied ... because most fans think they could do a better job than the NFL officials, yet definitely could not. Click here for an introduction as to how we do things.

    Of all the complaints about officiating, I think the most maddening is how people who hate the Pittsburgh Steelers -- so, a really, really large contingent -- like to label them the "Stealers" and proclaim they always get the calls. This past weekend was a great example, as the Steelers took down the Vikings fair-and-square, but some people just can't seem to grasp the concept.

    First of all, there are tons of complaints about the tripping call which negated a Vikings touchdown -- and was soon followed by a Steelers' defensive touchdown. Honestly, I'm not quite sure what the fuss is about. Tripping is defined as (Rule 3-40) "the use of the leg in obstructing any opponent." In rule 12-1-5, it clearly states that anyone can block an opponent as long as he's not tripping him. I keep seeing the word "phantom" used in conjunction with this call, but click here to watch the highlight (about the 2:20 mark) and keep the rule in mind. Try to be unbiased, consider the rule and see what you see.

    I really hate it when people say something along the lines of "the officials should let the players decide the game." They did! If Jeff Dugan could have blocked his man successfully instead of diving at toward the opponent's lower-half and whipping his legs up, the Vikings would have scored a touchdown. Instead, he committed a penalty and got caught. No touchdown. A rule was broken and a price was paid. That's elementary.

    Can anyone seriously make the argument that Dugan did not use his legs to obstruct the opponent he was trying to block? If so, please feel free to post your argument in the comments section. I would love to see it.

    Speaking of Dugan, him plowing over the official during the kickoff return was neither funny nor acceptable. Look, the officials are part of the field and they take on a certain risk when being out on the field. In fact, umpires (the ones who line up in the vicinity of the inside linebackers and watch the line play) may start wearing helmets next season. Regardless of the risk and the fact that people are miffed with the guys from time to time, they are still human beings -- ones who aren't wearing pads like the players. If Dugan didn't see the official, man, he really should have. He appeared to be running toward him for several steps and his helmet was facing the official. If he did -- and it's very suspicious, considering he was just flagged for tripping four plays earlier -- then he should be suspended. To blatantly run over a guy with a clear motive is easily grounds for punishment. I'd like to believe Dugan was trying to find someone to block and accidentally plowed over Richard Reels (the back judge), but we'll never know for sure. They are both lucky Reels wasn't seriously injured.

    In case anyone is curious, it is obviously illegal to contact an official intentionally during any part of the game, but there's no way to prove intent on this play, thus, they couldn't have called any sort of penalty on Dugan for the contact.

    There was also a delay of game called on the Vikings defense. The common misconception among casual fans is that there is no such thing as delay of game other than when the play clock strikes zero. There are several other ways to get a delay of game penalty. Here they are (Rule 4-6-5, page 22):

    Article 5 Other examples of action or inaction that are to be construed as delay of the game include, but are not limited to, the following:

    (a) a player unnecessarily remains on a dead ball or on a runner who has been downed;

    (b) the snapper repeatedly snaps the ball after the neutral zone is established and before the Referee can assume his position (see 7-3-3-c-2);

    (c) undue delay by either team in assembling after a timeout;

    (d) a defensive player aligned in a stationary position within one yard of the line of scrimmage makes quick and abrupt actions that are not a part of normal defensive player movement and are an obvious attempt to cause an offensive player(s) to foul
    (false start). (The Referee shall blow his whistle immediately.);

    (e) spiking or throwing the ball in the field of play after a down has ended, except after a score.

    I haven't been able to find a replay or explanation on this one, but I've heard the Vikings were accused of violating (d) on the play in question, which is why I bolded it. The game log shows the penalty on Cedric Griffin, a cornerback, so maybe he was trying to get a wide receiver to flinch. The bottom line is that it's definitely possible to have delay of game called on the defense.

    Finally, a collegiate note: the Pac-10 has suspended an official for not seeing one of the most blatant facemasks we ever will. I've often tried to educate the masses that each different official has different responsibilities on every individual play. Thus, in this case, every official would not have been looking at the receiver or had a good angle to see the facemask. How at least one person didn't see the helmet of the player catching a touchdown pass, though, is pretty egregious, which is obviously why the Pac-10 has taken action.

    Easy week, as I didn't see much in my inbox other than plays from the Steelers-Vikings game. I guess that's the result of having so many blowouts.

    I'm A "Champion"

  2. #2
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    From what I read around the net, we're the only team in the NFL that the refs always "give" us the games.

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    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    Well yeah, don't you know we have the refs in our back pockets? We get ALL the breaks cuz we're just that good

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    ejsteeler's Avatar
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    Just imagine if they called all the holding on Harrison alone! My God, what a conspiracy!

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    Starter Steel Trap86's Avatar
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    Ya and who could forget the Superbowl when the refs gave us that game too? Calling the safety with under 3 mins to play and then the "holding" penalty that put us at 1st & 25 on our own 15 on the game winning drive!!! ya they really wanted us to get it done!!

    LOL this **** makes me sick
    Last edited by Steel Trap86; 10-30-2009 at 11:49 AM.

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    lloydfan4life's Avatar
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    People will always try to find excuses as to why the Steelers are so GREAT!!

    "Here's an idea! Don't worry about sports and run the ****ing country!!!" - PsychoWard to Obama

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    Draft Pick Lunchbucket's Avatar
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    Classless losers always make excuses and at times fantasize they were robbed. Check the balance of bad calls,we come out about even.

  8. #8
    2nd String Moondog's Avatar
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    Nice read, there are a lot of haters out there, I guess when you are at the top like the Steelers are, people will always try to bring you down. I love how conspiracy theory lunatics think that the refs and somehow even the NFL itself want the Steelers to win. Actually it would be in the leaugue's best interest to have more parity so they could expand markets in the down and out franchises that are out there. Hell, win or lose, they already know they got the Steeler fans hooked.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steel Trap86 View Post
    Ya and who could forget the Superbowl when the refs gave us that game too? Calling the safety with under 3 mins to play and then the "holding" penalty that put us at 1st & 25 on our own 15 on the game winning drive!!! ya they really wanted us to get it done!!

    LOL this **** makes me sick
    also, what about the ref in our back pocket in the infamous Indianapolis game .. ? Yeah, that call on Troy Polamalu was fantastic! LOL

    We are whipping the Colts for 55 minutes and then the WORST call ever threatens that but we still managed to win anyway!

    I think the only thing we get where the refs are concerned is the biggest pile of apology letters from the league! LOL

  10. #10
    Veteran DanRooney's Avatar
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    Happens every year. People hype up the Colts, Patriots, Saints, and any other high powered offense while the Steelers fly under the radar. If a team like the Colts win, everyone is all over their nuts. When the Steelers only win, people complain about the officiating ro say we got lucky. Same excuses every year.

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