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Did poor officiating decide the Super Bowl?

DAN SHAUGHNESSY
The Seahawks hardly covered themselves with glory in XL, but there were a lot of borderline calls, and it seemed as if all of them went against Seattle. So just as New Englanders will forever moan about Ben Dreith's phantom roughing-the-passer call on Ray Hamilton, Seattle fans will always claim the refs took the Super Bowl away from them. And, as ever, bettors feel most strongly (wonder if Janet Jones took the Seahawks and the points). It was not a proud day for the NFL officiating team, but the bottom line is that the Seahawks didn't get the job done. Just as the Patriots didn't get the job done in Denver (despite the bogus pass interference on Asante Samuel).

RON BORGES
Absolutely not. What hurt the Seahawks was the fact that tight end Jerramy Stevens couldn't catch the ball when he most needed to. Of the calls in question, the right one was made when receiver Darrell Jackson was called for pass interference in the end zone. He clearly pushed off to gain an advantage. As for whether Ben Roethlisberger got the football over the goal line, no one knows. But replays proved nothing one way or the other. In the end, some of the calls may have been incorrect, but Seattle did not lose because of bad calls. And it might have helped if Mike Holmgren had been a little less fixated on the officials and a little more cognizant of the clock.

MIKE REISS
Nothing has been more overblown in the wake of the Super Bowl than the role of the officials in the final outcome. Guess that's what happens when both teams bring their C- game to an A-plus environment. Who can say whether Ben Roethlisberger did or didn't cross the goal line? Could have gone either way. How can someone watching on TV judge the level of contact Darrell Jackson made on the pass interference call? Doesn't matter; he created seperation and that's a penalty. Maybe one of the holding calls was questionable, and the illegal block on Matt Hasselbeck seemed like a missed call, but if the teams played better, we wouldn't be talking about the officiating.

NICK CAFARDO
To some degree, the officiating affected the outcome, but only after Jerramy Stevens dropped two long passes deep in Pittsburgh territory early in the game. Completing both of those passes would likely have turned the outcome in Seattle's favor. The drops had more to do with the outcome than any of the penalty calls, most of which technically were correct, as defined in the rule book. However, I felt they were unnecessary calls to make in a Super Bowl. Yes, Darrell Jackson pushed off in the end zone, and while it wasn't incidental contact, there wasn't enough impact to make the call, in my opinion. You have to let the players play in a big game.

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