Feb 3, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh talks to referee Jerome Boger (23) against the Baltimore Ravens during the first quarter in Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco 49ers vs. Baltimore Ravens: Why NFL Refs Were Super Bowl XLVII MVP

Feb 3, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Head linesman Steve Stelljes (22) holds back Baltimore Ravens cornerback Cary Williams (29) during a scuffle against the San Francisco 49ers during the second quarter in Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Super Bowl ended up being a great game after all. Two teams battling back and forth, ended up being a high scoring affair, with the Baltimore Ravens eventually beating the San Francisco 49ers 34-31. However, despite the great game, many fans are questioning the integrity of the Super Bowl, with their own inferior motives.

Throughout the game, numerous calls were blown. For starters, Ravens cornerback Cary Williams shoved a ref in the heat of battle, that should have constituted as an immediate ejection or at the very minimum, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. As the NFL rulebook clearly states, under Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1:

There shall be no unsportsmanslike conduct. This applies to any act which is contrary to the generally understood principles of sportsmanship. Such acts specifically include, among others:

(g)Unnecessary physical contact with a game official.

Note 1: Under no condition is an official to allow a player to shove, push, or strike him in an offensive, disrespectful, or unsportsmanlike manner.

Feb 3, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive back Chris Culliver (29) breaks up a pass to Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith (82) in the second quarter in Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

As if that call wasn’t bad enough, the refs blew yet another one, a few plays later, as Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco threw a deep ball to wide receiver Torrey Smith, that was clearly under-thrown. In an effort to make a play on the ball, 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver was immediately grabbed from behind by Smith, leading the ball to fall through his hands incomplete. A would be costly interception, led to a Jacoby Jones 56-yard touchdown on the very next play, a 7-point swing.

Feb 3, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree (15) is unable to catch a pass in the end zone while defended by Baltimore Ravens free safety Ed Reed (20) on a fourth down play in the fourth quarter in Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

You would think this so called “Super Bowl” officiating crew, would brush up their calls from that point on, right? Wrong. On the game’s deciding play, 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree, was violated two yards in the endzone, by Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith. One would think, a “holding penalty” or “defensive pass interference” would follow; not this crew. They let the players decide the game. I understand letting the players play, but when a player is blatantly grabbing, pulling, and holding another player, at some point something needs to be called. As the NFL rulebook clearly states, under Rule 12, Section 1, Article 6:

It is a foul for defensive holding if a defensive player:

(a) tackles or holds any opponent other than a runner

Penalty: For defensive holding: Loss of five yards and automatic first-down.

Rule 8, Section 5, Article 1: (Pass interference)

It is pass interference by either team when any act by a player more than one yard beyond the line of scrimmage significantly hinders the progress of an eligible receiver’s opportunity to catch the ball.

However, no penalty was called and as a result, the 49ers turned the ball over on downs, eventually costing them the Super Bowl.

Feb 3, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Baltimore Ravens punter Sam Koch (4) holds the ball in the end zone and takes a safety in the fourth quarter in Super Bowl XLVII against the San Francisco 49ers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

To make matters worse, as the Ravens were punting in their own end-zone, Ravens tight-end Ed Dickson was holding onto 49ers running back Anthony Dixon for dear life. Although the holding penalty would not have stopped the clock during play, the “hold” allowed for an 8-second run off, with no call being made. A lose-lose for the 49ers.

I’m not saying the Ravens should not have won the Super Bowl; they clearly played very well, and much respect to them. All I want to emphasize is the importance of a few calls that may have swayed the outcome of the game.

Was it by coincidence, that many calls were blown due to the officiating controversy, that made headlines days before the game? If you don’t know what I am talking about, there was great debate, on whether head of officiating, Jerome Boger, should have been selected for the Super Bowl, with many other quality refs to choose from, such as Ed Hochuli.

We will never know for sure, but the selection process was in fact, completely flawed, leaving the 49ers to wonder “what if.”

 

 

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