I have a few thoughts on how last night's game fits into the anti-pantheon of worst travesties in MY singular sporting experience. I have considered many names for this Anti-Rushmore, but settled on Gehenna. These are the great HOSINGS, the Gehenna Games!
In my Gehenna of sports travesties,* last night's Super Bowl XLIII debuted in the Top 3 supplanting worthy games like Game 6 of 2002 Western Conference Finals, the 1999 Fiesta Bowl, Super Bowl XL, Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, Wide Right #2 and Wide Right #1. I could go on and on with this Bottom 10, but will not.
As of now, the 3 greatest travesties are as follows...
#1 Game 6 of the 1985 World Series between the Cardinals and Royals. The infamous call by Don Denkinger cost the Cardinals the World Championship. Never has such a travesty happened in sports history. Never has 1 call so obviously cost 1 team a championship. I wore black to my high school the next day and a black armband for a week.
#2 The 1996 NCAA football National Championship (along with the 1997 Sugar Bowl). This is too complex to explain here in detail. However, in 1996 the #1 ranked UF Gators were defeated by the #2 ranked FSU Seminoles. Through a number of dominoes falling into place, the Gators were rewarded for losing to FSU and granted a rematch. That is correct, FSU beats the #1 Gators in the final game of the season and is punished for this by playing the team it beat for the National Championship. The Gators LOSE and win. There are a number of ways this could have been avoided, which I will not go into here. Needless to say, The Gators won the rematch that should not have been played, except the suits made it happen.
#3 Last night's game- Super Bowl XLIII. Never has a Super Bowl seen such obvious bias in officiating obviously effecting the final outcome of a game (yes, SB XL was even worse, but the final score was not as close). The calls were so bad that the Cardinals had to use their challenge to overrule 2 obvious blunders. The referees called horrible penalties (holding, roughing the passer, roughing the holder) against the Cardinals and missed obvious Stealers penalties (Holmes celebration in the end zone worthy of 15 yards on kick off). They even missed the first safety (luckily the Cards did it again the next play).
If the final play of the first half and Holmes TD had been called the other way, neither would have been overturned. The video was inconclusive on both plays (yes, I think Holmes scored. No, I don't think Harrison did). But, the travesty was the final Cardinals play of the game. That was not a fumble, yet the referees chose not to look at the film... IN THE MOST IMPORTANT GAME OF THE YEAR. This is not acceptable and everyone involved should be ashamed and lose their jobs. Does this mean the Cardinals would win? Not necessarily. But, I will put even money on Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald with 1 play in the end zone (especially with the 15 yards from Holmes' penalty and the 15 yards for some Stealer taking off his helmet) 30 yards closer.
And the world should have seen it. If you do not believe me, turn over the ESPN and ESPN2, along with sports blogs like Deadspin. Everyone not in yellow and black knows this and is talking about it.
On top of this, you should have been near Raymond James stadium yesterday. The Stealers fans were nasty, pasty people... taunting Cardinals fans (when they outnumber us 50-1) with expletives and threats, taunting Street Evangelists and looking like they will assault him, andsowing general mayhem and menace. Come to think of it, they make Cowboys fans look respectful. The Stealers fans have pushed the Stealers to supplant the Cowboys in the 9th Circle of Sports Hell.
Congrats to all in my Gehenna of Sports games. Go Cards!
In my alternative universe. I refuse to acknowledge the "champions" of their respective sports leagues in these years, along with the 2002 Lakers championship and a few others.
Ok, I am done. Pitchers and Catchers report in less than 2 weeks to Spring Training. C'mon, Manny- sign with the Cards for 2 years.
*these are caused by outsiders to change the outcome of something personally good to something very bad, of no fault to the losing team and due to no special play of the winning team. These are usually perpetuated by men or women in stripes, suits or umpiring outfits. There are the bad calls, etc. Bad luck can also play a part, especially unfortunate injuries, coaching debacles and cheating, but the rule of thumb is officiating.