03 Mar

Stand up!


1 The Steelers 12th Man

So what is the point of “The Steelers 12th Man?”
First and foremost, hats off to the Steelers. They are a
great team and deserve recognition. After all, only two
teams made it to  Superbowl XL.
However, if you were watching the game, you noticed morethan one strange occurrence. And no, I’m not talking about
the use of a foreign rock band for our nations number one
most important sporting event of the year. I’m talking about
the strange calls made by the referees.Every game is going to have some questionable calls.

And after only a few minutes into this game we were already
seeing that. I don’t think anyone expected the calls to continue in the way they did though.   Constantly the Steelers were allowed to break rules without penalty. Bad tackles, penalties, even a touchdown that never happened. You know what I’m talking about. Ben Roethlisberger knows what we’re talking about. Diving for the TD he was
stuffed, the ball never crossed the white line, yet he managed to muster it up from under his gut and push it in long after being down. Maybe this would have been acceptable in a lower importance game. Roethlisberger knew his crime though, you could
see it in his eyes. Watch any replay of that moment and you’ll see the unmistakable ‘deer in the headlights’ look that is on Ben’s face. Not a good start to the game.
So of course everyone watching assumes an appeal will be made and the call reversed. Both Seahawk and Steeler fans alike know that this call was wrong. Both sit with sweaty palms waiting for the answer. The referee in question by the way, has the lowest record in the NFL for overturning his own calls. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 23% of complaints by coaches are actually overturned. What does this mean? Carpet Cleaning Pittsburgh. Does it mean that he’s a great ref who doesn’t make mistakes…. Or does it mean
that he simply won’t admit when he was wrong? In this case it was the 2nd answer.   3

And so the game continues like this. Bad call after bad call, the Seahawks
take a beating. The stomp the Steelers, but still come out of the first half
behind. Touchdowns were taken away from the Hawks and holding calls were
made that didn’t exist. The Steelers seemed to have some sort of immunity
from the refs. You’d see the ‘Hawks get penalized in one play, then a Steeler
would commit the same crime in the next, yet no call would be made. By the
end of the first half, the Seahawks had more possession time, more yardage,
more completions, more penalties called, and were losing.
Continuing the struggle through the 2nd half, the Steelers picked up their
game a bit and the bad calls kept coming. Slowly the Steelers started to gain
some breathing room between themselves and the ‘Hawks as more bad calls
were made and another Touchdown stolen.

Personally, the game left me feeling sick. Seeing your team go duke
it out with another great team and lose is one thing. But seeing them
get the crap beat out of them by a team they can’t even play back
against (black and white) is just sickening.
I may have been able to leave it all alone though.

I may not have needed to go any further… But that night I spoke to a good friend of
mine, F.H. He’s a sports journalist for a organization he asked me not
to mention.(he allowed the initials, but I know some fanatics out there
will recognize there favorite sports journalist in no time at all…) He
was at Superbowl Extra Large and I spoke with him that night after
the game. I called only to discuss the athletes, but he had much
more to share. Once I realized how important it was, I asked if I could
record the conversation to post in interview form on the web for all to
hear. He agreed, and this is his story.   4

Superbowl XL, The Scam of the Millennium.Me: FH, how was Superbowl XL different from any other ‘bowl?FH: It wasn’t, everything started out the same. The hype before the game, the coaches, the players, everything seemed pretty
normal. During the game I was on the field. Although I’m not able to speak with any of the officials, players or coaches, I am still
pretty close. Everything seemed pretty normal and nothing unusual caught my attention.

Me: Until?

FH: Like usual, I stayed way late. A couple hours after the game I was still on the field. I always look for opportunities to get
exclusive interviews. Staying late especially after a huge event like this has proven to be an opportunity to meet with some
amazing athletes after a game.  Sometimes they just like to come out and take one last look at the place before they head
home. Tonight was no different, I got some great interviews.

Me: Like who?

FH: HaHa, no names. You know better than that! Watch my column. You’ll be impressed by the 2006 season plans that some of our all stars have already. Should be a knock-out season!

Me: Okay, looking forward to it… But what about after that?

FH: Well… After it seemed like everyone was gone for the night I started packing up. I am my own camera man, coming from a smaller organization, so I had some gear to pack. As I was leaving two people from across the field caught my attention. I could
barely hear what they were saying, but they were friends. Or at least very friendly. I could only make out some things, like “Good game,” and “congratulations.” I think I heard someone say something about owing money. Limo rental Pittsburgh.

<he paused>

Me: And…..?

FH: Well… I pulled my camera out. Not to take any pictures, just to use the zoom so I could see who it was. At this point I had
no idea what was going down. I was hoping to get another exclusive and wanted to see if the person in question was worth
running across the field for.

Me: And who was it? Did you get a picture?

FH:  Yeah I did. You need to get it on your site asap. I’m uploading it now. Don’t tell anyone where you got it, but you’re going
to fall over when you see it. Tell everyone.

And this is what he sent me: