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Old 10-18-2009, 11:10 PM   #1
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Default Controversial call pays off big for Steelers

Controversial call pays off big for Steelers
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt...s_648719.html#
By Kevin Gorman
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, October 19, 2009

While the Cleveland Browns were celebrating a fourth-and-1 stop that even Steelers center Justin Hartwig said was "definitely short" of the first-down marker, the officiating crew saw otherwise.

It's just that the referee couldn't quite explain how.

Ben Roethlisberger's fourth-and-1 sneak at the Cleveland 14 with 35 seconds left in the second quarter was ruled a first down. It led to Jeff Reed's 32-yard field goal for a 10-point halftime cushion in the Steelers' 27-14 victory Sunday at Heinz Field.

If not for the field goal, Cleveland could have tied the score in the third quarter.

"I have no idea how they gave us a first down, but we'll take it," Hartwig said. "I'd say (it was short) by two chain links. It was obvious to everybody playing on the field. I don't know how they called it the way they did, but ... we're not going to complain about it."

The Steelers left that to the Browns. While it didn't take a lip reader to see the expletives spewing from defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's mouth, Browns coach Eric Mangini was left practically speechless.

"Um ... it's not my call ...," he said. "It's not my call."

The call belonged to referee Walt Anderson, whose convoluted explanation to a pool reporter did little to clear up the controversy. Anderson said "the ball has to penetrate the plane of the stake" and measurements are taken with the chains "set beside the football" instead of against the stake.

Thus, depending on the angle, it can create an optical illusion on television.

"It can be deceptive because there's a little bit of a distance, probably in the neighborhood of five or six inches between the actual point of the football and where the stake actually sets on the ground," Anderson said. "If you shot at an angle maybe from back behind the ball it might look like it's short. If you shot at angle from the other side, it might actually look like it's further in advance of the stake than what it actually is."

Afterward, Anderson reiterated that the correct call was made because the nose of the ball "touched the plane of the stake."

Roethlisberger first tried to lure the Browns offside. When that didn't work, he ran the play, but lost his footing in "a three-foot divot" and fell forward.

"We got lucky," he said.

Steelers left tackle Max Starks said he isn't familiar with how the call is defined by the NFL rule book, and doesn't particularly care.

"I didn't go to referee school," Starks said, "and I'm not interested in reading extra literature."

Kevin Gorman can be reached at kgorman@tribweb.com or 412-320-7812.
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Old 10-18-2009, 11:32 PM   #2
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Default Re: Controversial call pays off big for Steelers

Meh, who cares. Pittsburgh would have won anyway, even minus the three points from that drive. Maybe it was a bad call, but I guess it makes up for the missed hold when Cribbs ran in for a TD.
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Old 10-18-2009, 11:36 PM   #3
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Default Re: Controversial call pays off big for Steelers

This didnt have any affect on the outcome of the game what so ever. Move on to next week!.
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Old 10-19-2009, 12:57 AM   #4
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Default Re: Controversial call pays off big for Steelers

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Meh, who cares. Pittsburgh would have won anyway, even minus the three points from that drive. Maybe it was a bad call, but I guess it makes up for the missed hold when Cribbs ran in for a TD.
Yeah, that hold was SO obvious that I dont know how they missed it. Even ex Bengal Solomon Wilcotts could see it from the booth.
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Old 10-19-2009, 06:16 AM   #5
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Default Re: Controversial call pays off big for Steelers

I'm still not sure if it was bad or not. It looked to me as if the camera was on an angle, making it appear different than it was. I'm glad this article at least put the point into speculation. I kept wondering why the announcers didn't at least bring it up as a possibility. (OK, maybe I was yelling at them on the TV.)
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Old 10-19-2009, 06:24 AM   #6
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Default Re: Controversial call pays off big for Steelers

I couldn't tell from my vantage point in the stadium, but looking at the picture in the other thread, it certainly looks short, and I've seen it called short many times in the past. So yeah, the Browns got screwed. But they also benefited from the blatant hold on Cribbs' TD, so it came out in a wash.
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Old 10-19-2009, 07:01 AM   #7
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Default Re: Controversial call pays off big for Steelers

but but but...I thought there was a conspiracy by the refs to screw the Steelers? Now, I'm confused.
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Old 10-19-2009, 07:14 AM   #8
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Default Re: Controversial call pays off big for Steelers

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I couldn't tell from my vantage point in the stadium, but looking at the picture in the other thread, it certainly looks short, and I've seen it called short many times in the past. So yeah, the Browns got screwed. But they also benefited from the blatant hold on Cribbs' TD, so it came out in a wash.
Well - actually, the refs blew several calls which went against the Steelers, most notably in the 3Q when Anderson passed to Massaquoi on 2nd and 7 at the Browns 37 and he was clearly not in bounds when he made the catch. Tomlin challenged it and the refs upheld the ruling on the field. This drive eventually led to the Browns 2nd TD.
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Old 10-19-2009, 07:27 AM   #9
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Default Re: Controversial call pays off big for Steelers

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Well - actually, the refs blew several calls which went against the Steelers, most notably in the 3Q when Anderson passed to Massaquoi on 2nd and 7 at the Browns 37 and he was clearly not in bounds when he made the catch. Tomlin challenged it and the refs upheld the ruling on the field. This drive eventually led to the Browns 2nd TD.
No, no, no - they're only bad calls when WE benefit from them.
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Old 10-19-2009, 09:07 AM   #10
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Default Re: Controversial call pays off big for Steelers

I thought we got a shitttty spot on that play anyway and hoped Tomlin was going to challenge the spot of the ball, pretty sure Ben got the first.
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