Madden and the SuperBowl
This is one of the best articles
i've read on Madden's worse than mediocre performance at SB XL.
A few snippets on the two plays that drew the most post-game bloviation:
The fourth play of the series is the first of several that have dominated post-game conversation. On a play where the coverage of the Steelers’ secondary was every bit as good as the blocking of the Seahawks’ line, resulting in a seemingly endless downfield search and scramble by Hasselbeck, Darrell Jackson completed his route, then had to ad lib in an attempt to work himself free. In an end zone where he could have gone in any direction to try to elude Chris Hope, Jackson ran directly at Hope as though he was run blocking, forcing Hope to brace himself, then pushed Hope hard enough with his right hand to make the safety take a step backwards and propelled himself away in the opposite direction. Madden initially characterized the play as “When you think of push offs, that’s not the kind you think about.” Perhaps it would be easier to call if it looked more like a Seinfeld episode in which Elaine gives Jerry a double fisted pounding to the chest with an emphatic “Get out!”, but, short of that, it was a push off, as Madden would later confess. If it was a legal technique that Jackson used, then offensive coordinators around the league would be clamoring to teach their receivers the maneuver and had the official not called it, the league would undoubtedly be sending the Steelers another apology after the game. But Madden’s characterization of the play leaves many, particularly those with sympathetic to the Seahawks and officiating antagonists, believing it’s a call that should not have been made and that the referee who called it somehow doesn’t understand the spirit of the rule, when it was the analyst who was wrong.
Of course, another play that stirred controversy was the holding call that nullified a long Seahawks’ pass to Jeremy Stevens. Replays showed that Locklear did in fact grab Haggans’ jersey and pulled down to knock Haggans to his knees. Stating almost indifferently that he didn’t see any holding and that “you can call holding on any play” is simply not good enough, not in the Super Bowl, not on a play as critical as that. It was incumbent on Madden to study the play and make a declaration one way or the other, then support his argument. He was the expert.
Clark Haggans was a mismatch for Locklear. He provided the only consistent pressure the Steelers had all day. The fact that Haggans got a great jump on the holding play because he could anticipate the snap count since Hasselbeck hadn’t changed up the cadence was never mentioned. Had he been credited properly during the broadcast, it’s possible that it would be Haggans not Hines Ward going to Disney World.
Credit where due: Tunch Ilkin, the Steelers's radio analyst, pointed to Haggans as an “under the radar” guy who would come up big against Seatle.
Demurral: I don't share Pasek's confidence in Tony Kornheiser. For my money, Kornheiser has become lazy and over-extended and substitutes a third-rate Borscht-belt routine for real thought and reporting.
What i think is funny is how Pasek praises Kornheiser:
Had Tony Kornheiser believed that a call was bad, you can be sure he would not only say so, but he would say so in several different sarcastic ways, then he’d proceed to question the referee’s eyesight. One of the delicious inputs we all anticipate from Tony will be to belittle on our behalf those who deserve it. Bad referees and pompous players like Randy Moss whose effort often doesn’t match their paycheck are sure to hate Tony’s input, words that will undoubtedly polarize viewers into two categories: those who will laugh loudly at what he says, and those on the other side of his tongue who will think violent thoughts when informed of what he’s said.
Kornheiser may do all of that. I'll hold my applause, though, in light of this bit of Tony history
When Stephen Rodrick noted that "sports television turns [pundits'] columns into shrill, non-reported versions of their televised rants" in Slate earlier this year, Tony Kornheiser (who, in addition to his responsibilities as a Washington Post columnist, hosts a morning radio show and co-hosts Pardon the Interruption in the afternoon) had a conniption fit, calling on the Post (which had recently purchased Slate) to fire the writer.
It will be interesting to see how the thin-skinned Kornheiser handles the reviews when the season opens. Equally interesting will be Theisman's reaction when Kornheiser goes into his comedy routine to cover-up his lack of preparation.