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Monday, January 16, 2006

Morelli Looking for Work 

Here's a thought: Pete Morelli owed the Colts a call.

Googling "morelli call colts" this morning, the top hits were on two _other_ calls involving the Colts Morelli made. Since one was on the Colts home page, it was a little difficult to get the clear picture, but one may infer he felt "he owed 'em one". He forgets who he's working for: the NFL, and who are they working for, if not the fans of football.

Let it be said, in the interests of full disclosure, I've plenty of reason to be upset with the call: since his days in Minnesota, I've been a Tony Dungy fan. I loyally followed him to Tampa Bay, and was a Bucs fan all his years there, where he brought them within a season of winning the Super Bowl, John Gruden reaping the coaching ring. When TD went to the Colts, I couldn't follow him, since a team sneaking out of town, with their logo intact, falls well below the bar of civic responsibility. Honestly, I was ready to grant Tony his ring, while grudging it was on the Colts sideline. Ms Statboni hails from PGH, and we were in town, during the blackout days, to hear the "Immaculate Reception" on the radio. I've been a Pittsburgh fan over the years, and will root for them against any number of teams (most of them, in fact). If a fan-ship is developing here, it might be for the Washington Redskins, but that's another story. I've felt it necessary to have a major-sports team, in all sports, and they've changed over the years. In terms of longevity, it's the Phillies, from the '50s, just when Sports Illustrated came out. Brother Dan picked the Yankees (no Twins in MN yet), because he mistakenly thought "they are the underdogs -- everyone hates them". Next came the Vikes. But I gave up on them, and almost football altogether when, at the moment of the "Hail Mary", in a rarely shown piece of footage, Drew Pearson offensively interfered with Nate Wright, to score the game-winning TD in the NFC title game, which would have been the Vikes best chance at a Super Bowl. What is less known is the official right in front of the play had his hand on the yellow hanky, ready to pull it out, and failed to make the call against "America's Team". And then, out of the stands, comes a completed bottle of Jack Daniels, finding the sleeping official on the noggin. The irate fan was ultimately identified and did a few hundred hours of community service. The Vikes inability to close any of 4 attempts at a Super Bowl ultimately led to my forsaking them. Until Tony Dungy. My only other affiliation is the Boston Bruins, that being from a recent stint back in Boston: '00-'01. I'll stay with them while they expiate their sins. I do call them "The '05 Stanley Cup Champions", since, as we all know, New England/Boston mopped up that year, and no-one else can claim the cup. My basketball fan-ship is limited to noting Al Harrington, of the Atlanta team, who-ever the heck they are, was leading the NBA in 3pt pct!

I discovered the reason I'm becoming more of a "sports fan", and less of a "team fanatic" is it's better for your heart.

Enter yesterday's ugly display of officiating. For starters, I'll be checking to see if the NFL ever lets Morelli call another playoff game, and letting them know they won't be counting on my witness of their show. I'll also be boycotting any regular season game he should be so unfortunate as to have to call.

"You know the officiating is bad when we're talking about it", so said one of the major networks pre-game coverage team anchors, referring to Saturday's games; this before Morelli made "the worst call in the history of the replay". What follows are some links to news reports led by those writers (non-wire service, of course) who were willing to "call it the way they saw it": shameful, a disgrace, the worst call, the immaculate reversal, ...

It's worth reporting on a few sidelights of the play. The Steelers' Joey Porter was the one player willing to speak out; he expects a league fine. I say, let Morelli pick up the tab. One of the writers below is guessing Morelli was prescient: he knew beforehand this would make the game interesting; No Kidding!

And in an aside before we share the links: Tony lost the game when he let Manning go for it on 4th down. Sure it led to the one legitimate Colts TD, but it gave Cower all the impetus he needed to convert two fourth downs, which aside from the Roethlisberger tackle, actually gave the Steelers the win. Watching Manning shake his head at those two conversion was all the compensation I needed for his going against his coach. When he overrulled Dungy's call, I told the Ms that there would be reckoning in the course of the game. If Vanderjagkt should be mad at anyone, it should be at referee Morelli, for making the call that put him on the spot!

Anyway, the links:

Edmonton Journal, CA. Not afraid to speak out: John MacKinnon,

Jerry Lindquist, no-holds barred

Adam Schein: calls the alternative a disgrace

Roethlisberger-Harper photo:

Immaculate Reversal:

Joe Bendel, from Pittsburgh

Joey Porter Links:

AP-like stuff:



The interesting thing now will be to see if Porter gets fined, and what the NFL's comment is on that fine.
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