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Sorting through referee Bill Leavy's apology

8/7/2010

The Seattle Seahawks and their fans weren't the only ones agonizing over officiating in the team's Super Bowl XL defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers following the 2005 season.

The referee, Bill Leavy, also felt horrible about it. Leavy, part of the officiating crew monitoring Seahawks practices at training camp this week, told reporters the game "left me with a lot of sleepless nights" and that "I'll go to my grave wishing that I'd been better."

Where's Mike Holmgren when you need him?

Leavy admitted blowing two calls in the fourth quarter. One call would have presumably been the disputed holding penalty against tackle Sean Locklear after Seattle advanced to the Pittsburgh 1-yard line. The other presumably would have been the call against Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck for an illegal block.

There were other potentially dubious calls that hurt Seattle in that game, from a penalty against receiver Darrell Jackson for pass interference to the ruling that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger scored a touchdown shortly before halftime.

Leavy made his apology before briefing reporters on rules changes for the 2010 season. NFL officials provide such briefings every year in every NFL camp.

Leavy deserves credit for owning up to his mistakes, but why wait more than four years? As tough as it must have been for Leavy to fess up, it would have been much tougher -- and far more meaningful to the Seahawks -- if Holmgren were still head coach, Tim Ruskell were team president and more than eight current players had ties to that 2005 team.

Perhaps Leavy plans to reach out to them separately.

Too many questions remain unanswered. I plan to follow up when dropping by Seahawks practice Sunday.