I took a few days to let this game sink in before I wrote anything about it. It’s one of those games that leaves a fan wondering how it could happen.
Last season when the umpires allowed a game to continue in rain for 8 innings then called it amidst an IronPig rally confused me.
When the Seattle Seahawks (my favorite NFL team) lost the Superbowl to the Steelers I was mad.
I look at sports losses in two different ways.
1. The other team won. You both played your best in a fair game and the other team came out on top.
2. You were beaten. You didn’t play up to your abilities or the game was not played fairly. I say fairly.. it is a grey area.. but I include things like the other team cheating and not getting caught and poor or lopsided officiating.
A few years after the Seahawks lost the Superbowl a referee came out an admitted he made mistakes that cost the Seahawks their win. It takes a courageous person to admit when they made a mistake and accepting responsibility is thee right thing to do. Nothing will change the outcome of the game but it will make things right in people’s minds and hearts.
Last Saturday I watched the LV Steelhawks take on the Bloomington Edge in Bloomington. Several weeks ago Bloomington faced the Steelhawks in Lehigh Valley and with a dominant first half, defeated our local team.
The Steelhawks came out gunning and scored a passing touchdown on the first play when Jeff Willis caught a 37 yard touchdown pass from Bryan Randall. The rest of the first half was boring with a tie score of 10-10 at halftime.
In the second half scores were traded and it came down to the final minute.
With 53 seconds to go in the game, down by 4 points, Aaron Higdon caught a 18 yard pass from Bryan Randall to put the Steelhawks up 34-29.
For lack of a play by play box score this comes from memory.
Bloomington got the ball back and with roughly 30 seconds on the clock faced a 4th down and long. With no timeouts remaining they needed a touchdown or a first down. The play went off, Bloomington quarterback’s pass bounced halfway between himself and the receiver and I jumped to my feet high fiving over what I thought was a Steelhawk’s win.
Wait.. a flag.
The call was pass interference. Pass interference? The ball bounced! Uncatchable ball, game over. Not so.
The Edge get the first down and continue.
Down to the Steelhawk’s 1 yard line. 1st down – nope. 2nd down – Nope. 3rd down – Nope.
4th and 1 with 22 seconds remaining. (Yes, this all happened in about 8 seconds of game clock time)
Bloomington’s quarterback fades back, looks around, gets pressure.. he lightly tosses the ball into the corner of the endzone and no one is near it. I jump and high five my friends for the Steelhawks victory. Not so.
Flag on the play. Again, on 4th down and the game on the line.. a mysterious pass interference call on an uncatchable play. New set of downs.
It’s amazing how pass interence only happened on 4th downs that would have ended the game and given the home team a loss.
After given about 15 tries to the end zone they got in, the game ended and Steelhawks stood on the field dumbfounded.
Key stat of the game: Penalties for Bloomington – 0, Lehigh Valley – 9.
In fact, earlier in the game, Chris Medina forced a fumble deep in Bloomington’s side of the field and bobbling the ball between players entered the end zone. In the endzone a Bloomington player recovered and was awarded a touchback.
A TOUCHBACK. On a fumble, recovered in your endzone, when your quarterback fumbles. Clear replays of the fumble show no posession until inside the endzone. This was a safety. A clear saftey.
Now you can call me an angry fan. I sure was angry on Saturday but what I’m saying here is that the refs clearly blew several key calls in the game and it was costly to the Steelhawk’s efforts. I’d say this needs to be reviewed by the IFL and appropriate actions taken.
If officiating continues to be this poor, I don’t see myself being a fan of the IFL or the league’s leadership much longer.