THE SUPER BOWL HAS TO KEEP THE REGULAR SEASON RULES. I posted here three weeks ago just before a Seattle Seahawk playoff game on an article by Jonathan Clegg and Kevin Clark in the Wall Street Journal which claimed that Seattle committed pass interference on almost every play without being penalized for it. Their claim was supported by a respected former vice president of officiating for the NFL, who said that Seattle defense counted on the referees calling pass interference once, but not ten times in a game. I said that I was curious about whether there would be any consequences from the article. There weren’t.
Seattle will be playing in the Super Bowl this Sunday. Clegg and Clark had an article in the Wall Street Journal this Thursday saying that Seattle’s opponent, the Denver Broncos, uses an illegal pick play on offense multiple times in a game on the theory that referees are reluctant to call a penalty multiple times. Clegg and Clark conclude that the outcome of the Super Bowl (which they call the Super Bowl of cheating”) “may depend on what the referees do with their flags”.
There shouldn’t be any consequences from this article either. The referees ought to—and will—apply the rules the same way they have applied them all season long. If the NFL wants to clean up the officiating on these plays, they should do it in exhibition games and early games next year when the referees can call a penalty ten times in a game if they have to.