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Monday, Feb. 06, 2006
Kudos to Steelers fans out there, you have yourselves a champion.

From a neutral observerís (thatís me) standpoint, since I had little interest in either of the two teams from a ROOT! ROOT! standpoint, I gotta tell ye one thing.

If I were a Seahawks fan, Iíd be calling for a Congressional inquiry. That was hands down the most poorly officiated playoff game Iíve ever seen. Phantom calls, calls that were actually dead wrong and calls that shouldnít have been made.

Referees as a whole have it rough, no question. The best a referee can hope for is to exist in the context of a game without much attention being directed their way, calling the obvious, enforcing the movement of the ball and keeping the game moving along. Bad things happen when they make calls that, right or wrong, make it appear that theyíre looking for something to do, which is what I feel happened last night.

Ally the Good Wife, after whipping up a superb Maryland crab dip for my snack happy hands, watched a fair portion of this game. Ally is most decidedly not a football fan, but has seen enough of it over the years to be a superbly impartial observer. After ten minutes, she rendered an opinion: ďDamn, this game must be fixed. Wonder who got the payoff?Ē

Well, nobody. It wasnít fixed. It may have been influenced by the tireless harping of a media intent on seeing The Bus kiss the trophy afterwards, or a decidedly partisan crowd of black and gold. Maybe. Kinda sorta, you know? Those little sub-conscious things, they do tend to make one think the worst. These officials are human.

In my mind it just cheapens the game when so much of the outcome was hinging on key plays that were poked and pickled by the lads in stripes. Cheapens the victory for the Steelers, who played just well enough to win and certainly took advantage of the opportunities. Cheapens the league for allowing the aura of ďsomethingís fishy hereĒ to fester in this and other games, because this certainly wasnít the only game this year to have a stigma of bad officiating hang over it.

Neutrality has itís moments. I totally donít mind seeing the Steelers win the thing, other than knowing that now, at the Official Local Watering Hole which just so Happens to be a Steelers Bar, I will suffer the nickering and swaggering of certain fans for weeks to come. That I could do without. I can only imagine how the 200 fans that packed the joint last night reacted, because I didnít go, just so to have my sensibilities intact for another day.

Eh, itís just football. And in the words of my weekend deprived wife, ďThank God, itís over.Ē

There are things more important, like I think Iíve still got a dab of crab dip left. Wonder how that would go with breakfast toast? Shall we go find out?

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