Even the Edmonton Journal wrote about it:
Big Brother is watching, and he has a whistle
Font: * * * * John MacKinnon, The Edmonton Journal
Published: Monday, January 16, 2006
Okay, I'm willing to concede that referees should let the players decide the outcomes, particularly of playoff games.
But I'm not a fanatic on this. I'm sure you're not, either. Yes, it's a good policy, but a hard and fast rule? Too rigid.
What's more, I was heartened to learn the NFL isn't dogmatic on this matter, either. Case in point: that Pittsburgh-
Indianapolis playoff game on Sunday. That game was a boring, one-sided butt-whipping, right up until about the last five minutes -- 5:26 remaining, to be exact -- when Troy Polamalu dove to intercept a Peyton Manning pass. Picked it clean as you please, he did.
Game over. Or so millions of football fans thought, trapped as they are in their unoriginality. But not referee Pete Morelli. In a bit of "thinking-outside-the-box" brilliance, Morelli went under the hood, eyeballed the replays, examined his conscience and made a bold decision, all for the love of the game. Incomplete pass, he ruled.
Horrible call! Absolutely the worst possible call, 180 degrees wrong from head to toe, front and centre, inside and out, to the end of time as we know it. Not a whisper of a hint of a clue of a doubt about it. But there it was.
And suddenly, a football game broke out! It was end-to-end with reversals of fortune, goats becoming heroes, heroes turning to goats. The thrill of victory morphed into the agony of defeat and back again. And again. All in the space of the last five minutes.
And all because of the creative foresight of the referee Morelli. True, if fairness, adherence to the rules and common sense had prevailed, millions of people could have gotten on with their so-called lives a few minutes earlier.
But you have to figure the TV rating soared through the roof when things turned surreal. Which may have been on Morelli's mind. Or not. He certainly couldn't have been thinking he'd just make that call to give Ol' Peyton one more shot at the Super Bowl in the interests of TV ratings for that event? Could he?
I'm no conspiracy theorist, but that very thought certainly popped into my head as the extraordinary scene unfolded.
Either that or Morelli's brain was hooked up to an interactive computer game in which fans were voting electronically for the incomplete pass option on their consoles.
It was absolutely incredible! Video replay is meant to be a technological safety net, a pathway to the correct call, not a portal to fantasy. Thankfully,
Pittsburgh won and justice was served, and all Morelli's wrong call did was juice up the entertainment value, not hijack the final result.
No harm, no foul, eh?