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Source: FOXSports
Refs were far from Super in this one
Kevin Nench / FOXSports.com

The Seahawks were on the verge of taking a 17-14 lead early in the fourth quarter when officiating disaster struck. Hasselbeck had drilled a pass down the seam to Jerramy Stevens to set up first-and-goal at the one when suddenly Leavy appeared in the middle of the screen to call the play back on account of holding on Sean Locklear. No less a source than newly minted Hall of Famer John Madden came right out and said it was a bad call. This penalty was beyond ticky-tack. Baldinger called it "another terrible call" and added that the Steelers were offsides on the play. It was yet another official searching for a call, desperate to throw his flag, yearning to impact the action. Why, why, oh, why? That's 14 points the officials simply took away from the Seahawks. Incredible.

Source: ESPN
Game’s third team upstaged Steelers, Hawks
By Michael Smith, ESPN.com
Still, that was early, and that one didn't change the game as much as did a holding call against Sean Locklear early in the fourth quarter with Pittsburgh leading 14-10. That one wiped out an 18-yard catch by Stevens that would have taken the ball to the 1. Locklear supposedly held Clark Haggans, so instead of first-and-goal at the 1 and the chance to complete a 98-yard touchdown drive and take a three-point lead, Seattle faced first-and-20 at the 29.

"I thought they were offside [on the play Locklear was called for holding]," center Robbie Tobeck said. "I thought we had a free play on because they had two guys come across.”

Source: Sports Illustrated
Opportunity lost: Seahawks can’t overcome “uncharacteristic’ mistakes
Posted: Sunday February 5, 2006, 10:35 PM
Officials flagged first-year starting right tackle Sean Locklear for holding Kimo von Oelhoffen when Stevens did finally catch a pass -- albeit a bobbled catch -- of a 17-yard grab at the Steelers 2 with 12:11 left and Seattle trailing 14-10. Locklear said he pleaded with officials that von Oelhoffen had gotten too good of a jump on him, that the Steeler was offsides. But that, like the Seahawks night, was a lost cause.

Source: ESPN
Steeling one: Hawks get robbed
By Skip Bayless
But the fourth-quarter holding call on Sean Locklear made you wonder whether the refs had even less of Aretha's r-e-s-p-E-c-t for your Seahawks than I do. But on this night, the Steelers had their own version of your 12th Man. He wore a striped shirt and a whistle. He threw a flag.

On the replay, I couldn't see Locklear do anything different from what most linemen do on every play. These days, you have to tackle to hold, and Locklear didn't tackle. Phantom, killer penalty. Your guys wound up in a third-and-18, and Hasselbeck cut loose one of his mystery balls that Ike Taylor intercepted, as he should have in the first quarter.

The holding call on Locklear clearly cost your Seahawks seven more points. Four plus seven equals 11 -- Pittsburgh's margin of victory. And who knows how the Steelers would have responded if they had suddenly found themselves behind early in the fourth quarter?

Source: Toronto Star
TV unveils zebras at their worst
Lousy officials simply hijacked The Big Game
Feb. 6, 2006. 01:00 AM
Things got worse in the second half when the Seahawks, trailing 14-10, were called for holding after a pass landed them at the Pittsburgh one. "I didn't see holding," analyst John Madden said after watching the replay. "There may have been holding, but it wasn't in that picture."

Source: USA Today
Super Bowl referees foul, but then so was everything else
Ian O’Conner
Like Holmgren, Leavy makes mistakes. Leavy and his crew made some big ones Sunday, all at Seattle's expense. The lame holding call on Sean Locklear that negated a huge (and rare) Stevens catch might've prevented Holmgren from becoming the first coach to win Super Bowls for different franchises.

Source: Football Outsiders
EPC: Sean Locklear and the 22 Uncalled Holds
By Michael David Smith
By the…definition of holding, Seattle Seahawks right tackle Sean Locklear committed holding on the controversial fifth play of the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XL. He hooked his right arm around the right shoulder of Pittsburgh linebacker Clark Haggans and restricted Haggans’ movement. The call negated a pass that would have given Seattle first-and-goal at the 1-yard line. By the letter of the rules, it was the right call.

But if something is a penalty on one play, it should be a penalty on every play. And during the rest of the game, the officials didn’t enforce holding by the letter of the rules.

If the officials had called holding on two inconsequential plays and ignored it the rest of the time, no one would much care. But Locklear’s penalty negated an 18-yard Jerramy Stevens catch that would have given the Seahawks first-and-goal from the one-yard line, where they very likely would have scored and taken a 17-14 lead with less than 12 minutes remaining in the game. Instead they faced first-and-20 from the 29-yard line, Matt Hasselbeck threw an interception three plays later, and Pittsburgh’s subsequent touchdown effectively ended the game.

These are my opinions. But no fair observer can say that given the way the rest of the game was called, Locklear should have been assessed that game-changing penalty. Just as in boxing, two judges can watch the same fights and see different things, but when a judge goes beyond the pale, impartial analysts need to call him on it.

posted 2-9-2006 at 9:30 AM by Michael David Smith

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