Not forgiven or forgotten: Seattle Seahawks vs. Steelers and the refs in Super Bowl XL
In three days, our Seahawks will charge out on the field to battle for the Lombardi trophy for the second time in team history.
The 2005 season started off fine for the Seahawks and stayed fine throughout the regular season. The boys ended it 13-3, crushing the Carolina Panthers to capture the NFC championship and then went to the big game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Led by quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and coach Mike Holmgren – the team was all in. Back at home, the 12th Man settled in in front of their televisions.
The Hawks came out of the gate strong, but what many believe was the fateful moment happened early as they pushed for their first touchdown.
After they made the touchdown, the Seahawks received
a late flag for an offensive pass interference against Darrell Jackson.
A small, common foul but as then-Seattle PI reporter Clare Farnsworth recalled for NFL films, it was a psychological tipping point.
“That was so early in the game, that it kind of really changed the whole complexion of it, rather than getting the touchdown, they settled for a field goal and then it allows the Steelers to take the early lead, and the Seahawks are kind of in a catch up mode the rest of the game.”
The Hawks fought back – but again a questionable call kills a big play.
Announcer Steve Raible was seeing a pattern and he wasn’t alone. “We’re the underdogs, not only to the national press and to the fans, but maybe the underdogs to the referees as well. Who knows.”
That impression got stronger when a run by the Steelers quarterback came down just at the goal line. The refs called it a touchdown, setting off a firestorm of protest from the Seahawks.
There were enough lost opportunities and questionable calls that led Seattle to a bitter 21-10 defeat.
Coach Holmgren had to tell a grieving city, “We knew it was going to be tough going against the Pittsburgh Steelers. I didn’t know we were going to have to play the guys in the striped shirts as well.”
Many member of the media agreed, like Tom Curran, “When you talk about a game smelling of orchestration, that game stunk to high heaven. It left you feeling dirty by the time you turned it off because you were like – that wasn’t what I was looking for.”
Referee Bill Leavy later apologized for blowing calls that impacted the game, but Seahawks fans have yet to forgive or forget.
But if I may paraphrase the Bard, this time we know that 2005’s winter of discontent will be made a glorious summer in 2014 by these sons of the Hawk.