Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is Pittsburgh's 'Goal-Line' Hero
Let's go back to the second quarter of Super Bowl XL when Roethlisberger called his number and attempted to scramble for a 1-yard touchdown. Roethlisberger clearly fell short for the score and after he hit the ground, the young quarterback pushed the ball across the goal line (wisely so) to get the touchdown signal of an official.
Upon further review, the replay couldn't provide clear evidence to overturn the ruling on the field. That particular play didn't lose the game for the Seahawks, but it sparked a series of questionable calls throughout the contest that led to a Steelers' victory and until this day, many believe that the officiating impacted the outcome of the Super Bowl which caused the Seahawks to lose their first league championship.
"It was a tough thing for me," said Bill Leavy, the referee who called Super Bowl XL, on Aug. 6, 2010 when he visited the Seahawks training camp admitting to his faults in the game. "I kicked two calls in the fourth quarter and I impacted the game, and as an official you never want to do that. It left me with a lot of sleepless nights, and I think about it constantly. I'll go to my grave wishing that I'd been better ... It's something that all officials have to deal with, but unfortunately when you have to deal with it in the Super Bowl it's difficult."
Roethlisberger probably had one of the most controversial touchdown attempts while crossing the goal line in league history as a quarterback and it happened again on Sunday.
On third and goal, Roethlisberger again called his number to scramble for a 2-yard touchdown and was ruled as such, despite the pile up for a loose ball. After review, referee Gene Steratore stated that Roethlisberger fumbled the ball prior to crossing the goal line, but - here's the kicker according to the head official - the evidence was inconclusive to which team recovered the ball and he rewarded the ball back to the Steelers.
"We confirmed that there was a fumble and were not able to confirm a clear recovery by the defense," said Steratore after admitting of not mentioning to use of two to three camera angles in his pool report.
Unfortunately, viewers of the game saw Dolphins' linebacker Ikaika Alama-Francis coming out of the pile with the ball. Normally which players would kick, scratch, bite and hit under an anything-go pile up, and officials would help clear out athletes until they saw, with their eyes, which team recovered the ball.
"Just a bizarre kind of play. You hate to win it that way, but you'll take a win," said Roethlisberger on Sunday. "I saw the ball sitting right in front of me. One of their guys jumped on it, and it squirted between them, so I was able to grab it under the pile. I'm not denying he wasn't holding onto it. How do you tell who recovered the ball. I just don't understand the ruling. I had possession."
The last thing the NFL wants to hear is there's a conspiracy toward any team, whether good or bad, by a certain referee. Steratore was just doing his job as he scratched his forearm during the ruling and Roethlisberger was doing what he had to do in order to win for his team. But it's amazing at how Big Ben was able to get away again at the goal line.