Last thoughts on football, for now

Some thoughts from the Super Bowl on loyalty to a feud, refereeing, logical fallacies, and how hard it is to write rules that cover every situation:

1. I know, as a Cleveland fan, I should hate the Ravens for leaving Cleveland. They wanted a new stadium. Cleveland wouldn’t build one. They left. Cleveland built a stadium. It is all very complicated & I no longer care. I still cheer for the Browns & Ozzie Newsome* has built a hell of a professional football organization. So, congratulations Ravens.

2. That was defensive holding. If it was called, we’d be talking about the referees changing the game, just like we did when Ohio State beat Miami in the NCAA championship game in 2003. Football referees are pressured not to influence the game. Obviously, they make judgment calls all the time. Rugby referees are forced to acknowledge their subjective influence and seem to be much more at ease making a call that will directly impact the result, such as granting a penalty kick at the end of the game. There was also a terrible offensive pass interference that was not called. The 49ers arguable suffered more from this psychological factor than the Ravens.

3. The loss of power may have affected the game and hurt the Ravens momentum. The 49ers still lost. A win is a win. If the 49ers had won though, we could have used the “Superdome Lights Fallacy” to refer to the post hoc ergo propter hoc (after this therefore because of this) logical fallacy, which would probably be more fun for those of you who didn’t have four years of Latin in a Catholic high school.

4. Yes, that was holding, very egregious holding, holding that was not called, on the safety play at the end of the game. There was no point in calling it and there was no point in not holding. That is because the penalty for holding in your own end zone is a safety. Holding is not a penalty that stops play. So, no matter how much holding the Ravens did, the same amount of time would run off the clock and a safety would be awarded. In fact, were I in John Harbaugh‘s shoes, I would have told my guys to hold like their lives depend on it – whatever it took to keep the punter on his feet for as much time as possible. Sporting? Maybe not. Playing by the rules? Yes.

What I do wonder is, if the referees suspected the rules were being gamed in this way, could they have called an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Ravens that could have been applied on the subsequent kick – making a last second field goal attempt more plausible. This issue could be resolved by putting a rule in place that put the time elapsed during the play back “on the clock” in the case of such penalties.

*As an old school Browns fan, I cannot hate anything with which Ozzie Newsome is professionally associated.

Author: Josh Witten

One thought on “Last thoughts on football, for now”

  1. “As an old school Browns fan, I cannot hate anything with which Ozzie Newsome is professionally associated,”

    Yeah, but there are times that’s tougher to stick to than others.

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