Lawyer ball

So it’s Steelers vs Cardinals in the Superbowl. Weird.

I just finished watching the game, again delayed 18 hours and again among the other patiently, voluntarily ignorant at Sunset Lounge. Of course I’m thrilled the Steelers are in, and I think it’s gonna be a stellar game. And I think the Steelers will win.

But that game, I’m sorry, was not fun at all to watch. I don’t want to come off as a sore winner when I should be reveling in victory, but that game was a perfect example of what’s wrong with the NFL. When the refs get too involved, it takes all the joy out of the sport. To my eyes the first half, and really most of the entire game, was a total Steelers domination. The Ravens could barely move the ball. The Steelers were moving the ball. And yet it was close because the only times the Ravens scored were when the refs gave them the opportunity. Their first touchdown came right after a really bad pass interference call. Their second touchdown came right after a proper pass interference call. But regardless if they were good or bad calls, the point is that the calls were not reflective of the way the opposing forces — the Steeler D, the Ravens O — were actually functioning on the field.

I know, I know, it’s lame and pointless to point out bad officiating. It’s not that I’m complaining about bad calls. I’m complaining about how badly the game suffers when the officials interject themselves into the storyline. I’ve never seen a game have its life sucked out of it so badly by having yet another head poking out of a striped jersey standing in front of the camera. Frankly, after seeing them so much in the first quarter, I just got bored. It wasn’t just me. The people in the bar stopped paying attention, they were talking about other things, people were slumping in their chairs. There was no life. A friend of mine said something that summed it all up: “This isn’t football, it’s lawyer-ball.” Even with the Ravens moving in the fourth quarter, down by two points… at that point no one cared anymore.

And then came Troy Polamalu’s interception. That was the game’s big moment. Someone made a big play. All heads turned to the screen. There were no flags getting in the way of the game, the refs had nothing to do with it. The bar came to life.

This isn’t the kind of post I should be posting when I should be celebrating a great victory. But this game wasn’t like the Chargers game. That game was fun, even when Pittsburgh was down 7-0. This game wasn’t fun. It was merely a process of surviving.

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