Of course all this decibel record noise occurs when the opposing team is on offense and is meant to make their signal calling extremely difficult.
For the recent game against the 49ers, Seattle called upon their “13th man” in the form of the one-sided officiating corps.
Early in the first quarter, the television camera clearly showed a Seahawk defender draped over 49er receiver Michael Crabtree in the end zone. The hold prevented Crabtree from going for what would have been the game’s first touchdown. Even the television commentators were aware of the infraction, but their only remark was to say “I guess they’re going to let them play.”
Other missed calls, that were clearly visible on replay, included not giving the Niners the football when it was clear that linebacker Bowman was in full possession of the ball while lying in the turf, a Seattle defender crashing into the 49er punter, a fact that was confirmed by a far-away LA expert on penalties. Instead of the 5-yard penalty that was assessed, it should have been a 15-yarder, because of the fact that the Seattle defender hit the plant foot of the kicker, not the kicking foot. If the proper penalty had been called, the 49ers would have continued an offensive march.
During these egregious mistakes by the officials, you could see 49er couch, Jim Harbaugh going nuts on the sidelines. He was even more upset when these same officials slapped a 15-yard penalty on 49er cornerback Witmer for a shoulder-to-shoulder hit, which is legal.
To be fair, the 49ers may have dug themselves into a hole when their special teams allowed a long punt return, their defense failed to stop a long fourth-and-two pass that went for a touchdown, and they gave up a touchdown run by Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch just before halftime.
With the score knotted at 10-10 at halftime, it was clear that the final 30 minutes would determine the NFC Championship. As far as Couch Harbaugh was concerned, he was unusually calm and self-possessed in the TV interview following the game. He noted, correctly, that if Kaepernick’s final pass to Crabtree had been only a few inches higher, the outcome would have been different. Even Kaepernick himself admitted the pass was underthrown.
Strangely enough, the Seahawks celebration was overshadowed by the obstreperous outburst of cornerback Richard Sherman, who deflected the ball. His rant was comparable to that of a street-side rapper. Although he tried to walk-back his comments in the days following the game, he is still the major topic of conversation.
Whether his claim is to be the best corner in the game, the hold-up against the Denver Broncos remains to be seen. If Denver’s diminutive Wes Welker burns Sherman in the Super Bowl, most football fans will be delighted.
As my good friend “Dandy Don” Meredith, Dallas quarterback and Monday Night Football commentator used to say, “If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, what a Merry Christmas we would all have.”
Harry Spencer is a long-time northern Nevada resident.