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Steelers-Dolphins followup...

October 25, 2010 - Ray Eckenrode

Replaygate, the day after

> Why would the NFL put any referee (and Gene Steratore is one of the league’s best) in the position of working the game of their “hometown” team? You’re just asking for trouble. Interesting side note: Steratore is also a PIAA basketball official and has been known to work games as far east as Blairsville.

> We actually think linesman Jerry Bergman, also from Pittsburgh (you can’t make this stuff up), made an understandable call in signaling touchdown on Ben Roethlisberger’s run. From his angle (which was also the TV broadcast angle), it looked like the ball crossed the line before it came out. It was only from the overhead camera angle (which no referee has) that you could see the ball came out earlier, rolled back into Roethlisberger’s chest then bounced forward into the end zone.

> Many commentators are asking how the fact that the Dolphins’ Iraiki Alama-Francis came out of pile with ball couldn’t be construed as indisputable evidence Miami recovered. It’s simple: It was long after a TD was signaled and long after whistles blew. A second ball had already been thrown into the game and an official right beside Alama-Francis was holding that ball.

> We said it yesterday and we’re more convinced today: The Big Legursky’s belly flop into the middle of that dogpile was the reason a determination couldn’t be made on who recovered.

> It’s been interesting to see how the sports media interpreted the ruling. Yahoo! called it a “goof.” termed it “odd.” says it was “controversial.” Don Banks somehow interpreted Steratore’s postgame statement as an admission officials blew it. The Miami Herald termed it a “fumbled” call while the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said it was “bizarre.” P-G scribe Ed Bouchette said this morning he thought the ruling was correct and SI’s Peter King followed suit a few hours later.

Quick hits

> We were happy to see Mike Tomlin admitting he erred in not calling a timeout and going for a 56-yard field goal on the final play of the first half. Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. Now, we wish Tomlin would recognize the pattern of his gameday missteps and hire himself a game management assistant, whose sole job would be to present him with strategic options during the game with the coach still making the final call. Short of that, Tomlin looks destined to enter the Brad Childress/Andy Reid club. Tomlin is obviously much too emotional on the sideline to be as cerebral as he needs to be.

> A lot of people wanted the Steelers to go for the touchdown on the 4th-and-inches after replaygate and we certainly understand the sentiment. Up by two, kicking off with 1:50 on the clock and opponent with one timeout, the probabilities say you lose that game more than 50 percent of the time. However, there’s one HUGE mitigating factor. Ben Roethlisberger is the worst, and we mean WORST, quarterback sneaker of all time. We’re sure someone keeps statistics on such things, but #7 has to be well under 50-50 in his career on sneaks of less than a yard.

> There was a lot to like about Emmanuel Sanders’ performance after fumbling the opening kickoff. Of course, the long kick returns were evident, but if you see footage of Hines Ward’s TD again, check out the downfield blocking by Sanders. Very Ward-esque.

> The way the AFC is shaping up, several 10-6 teams are going to be home for the playoffs. The way the NFC is shaping up, at least one 7-9 team is going to make the playoffs. BTW, the Super Bowl line is still AFC -1.5, which seems a license to print money (for amusement only).

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