Sidelines: Seahawks' Super Bowl ref brings back memories

People keep telling me to be patient with the Seattle Seahawks. They tell me that Pete Carroll has a plan and there is a method to his roster turnover madness.

“It took a couple years for Carroll to get things going at USC,” they say. “He just needs to get ‘his’ type of player on the roster.”

It looks to me, that “his” type of player is very boring to watch and isn’t very good. Judging from last week’s regular season opener against the San Francisco 49ers, the Hawks seem primed to make a run at the first pick in the draft and not the Super Bowl.

Things don’t get any easier tomorrow. The Seahawks will travel to Pittsburgh to take on a very, very angry Steelers team that was boat-raced by the Baltimore Ravens in week one.

But the anger emitting from the Steeler locker room will pale in comparison from the venom being spewed in households all over Western Washington when referee Bill Leavy is shown on their television screen.

Five years ago, Leavy was the referee for Super Bowl XL in Detroit against the same Pittsburgh Steelers. Let’s just say the officiating of that game remains a sore spot for a lot of Seahawks fans.

Let me open up that wound again. Seattle was called for seven penalties during the game, which really isn’t a lot for an NFL game. But it was the timing of two of the calls in the fourth quarter that made Seattle’s blood boil.

Then-right tackle Sean Locklear was called for a phantom holding in the fourth quarter which negated a Jerramy Stevens (remember him?) catch that would have given the Seahawks a first-and-goal on the 1-yard line.

Then, after an interception, Matt Hasselbeck was flagged for an illegal hit below the waist when he actually made the tackle. Also a bogus call, obviously.

There was also a questionable pass interference in the first half that nullified a Darrell Jackson touchdown and a TD awarded to Ben Roethlisberger when he was stopped short.

Leavy attempted to make amends with us last year when he showed his face at the Seahawks’ training camp.

“It was a tough thing for me,” Leavy said in 2010. “I kicked two calls in the fourth quarter, and I impacted the game, and as an official you never want to do that. It left me with a lot of sleepless nights, and I think about it constantly. I’ll go to my grave wishing that I’d been better. I know that I did my best at that time, but it wasn’t good enough.

“When we make mistakes, you got to step up and own them. It’s something that all officials have to deal with, but unfortunately, when you have to deal with it in the Super Bowl, it’s difficult.”

Sarcastic clap, sarcastic clap, sarcastic clap, Mr. Leavy.

But that doesn’t make up for me losing “a lot” of money on the 2006 Super Bowl. I’m not going to tell you the exact amount that I left at an unnamed Las Vegas casino (yes, it was all legal) because I really don’t remember. The fourth quarter was kind of a blur, thanks to the adult beverages that had been flowing for two days straight. However, I will say it was more money than one of my paychecks, which come every two weeks. Ouch is right.

That’s how sure I was that the Seahawks were going to win that game. As a paycheck-to-paycheck survivor like most everybody in today’s economy, I couldn’t afford to lose one of them.

But, unlike a lot of Seahawks fans, I am not going to say that Leavy and the officials cost us the Super Bowl. That would be like saying Justin Bieber has a better voice than Nat King Cole.

The Steelers did win the game pretty handily, 21-10. The Seahawks defense didn’t touch “Fast” Willie Parker during a 75-yard, third-quarter touchdown run. Pittsburgh also put the game away after they fish-hooked the Seattle defense when Antwaan Randle El hit Hines Ward on a 43-yard flea flicker in the fourth quarter.

I think the 11 defenders were the only people fooled by Randle El (a receiver) throwing to Ward. Even in my inebriated state inside the Imperial Palace’s banquet room, I was yelling that Randle El was going to throw that ball.

But what upset me most was those calls by the officials never even gave Seattle a chance. Plus, the point spread was Pittsburgh by six, if I remember right? And so does my gambling debt.

Obviously, I won’t be putting any money on tomorrow’s game. The Seahawks aren’t good and the Steelers are upset. Plus, my wife wouldn’t be as forgiving this time around if I happened to throw down my paycheck on the Hawks.



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