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Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
The mailbag overfloweth. I'm plowing through them and will post responses periodically. Some of my favorites have to do with the mistaken idea that the NFL did review the Cardinals' final offensive play in Super Bowl XLIII.
Wlf359 from Harrisburg, Pa., writes: So, when are you going to revise/update your blog that the Warner fumble was not reviewed by the booth? Either call NFL head of officiating Perreira a liar or make the change. I presume you are interested in being accurate.
Mike Sando: There will be no revision because I was accurate. Let me explain. The replay official looked at it and decided not to challenge, so there was no challenge and no official review of the play. A challenge takes place when the replay official directs the referee to review the play. The referee never reviewed the play. I wrote that the league should have let the referee look at the play. The referee was unable to do so. We can confirm this by consulting the official gamebook, which shows no challenge and no review.
If the league wants to have Bob McGrath and other replay officials making those decisions with Super Bowls potentially on the line, the rest of us can question the wisdom. It's a stretch to me when these replay officials challenge ridiculously subjective things such as the spot of the ball -- ask the Colts and Seahawks about such plays in recent seasons -- only to take a hands-off approach on a fumble that might have been an attempted pass.
And then we have some of these replay officials challenging a dozen calls in a season while some others challenge one or two. A little more consistency would go a long way toward promoting confidence and credibility in NFL officiating.
Jcapozzoli from Pittsburgh writes: For an informed "blogger", you're not that bright. The play was reviewed in the booth and determined not to be a fumble by the head of officiating, thus, they felt there was no need to buzz down to the officials for a review. I thought only Seahawks fans, such as yourself, were whiney, wimpy sore losers. Apparently it's the whole NFC West that wears women's underwear.
Mike Sando: I've already addressed this one, but I liked your mailbag note so much, I could not resist running it. Thanks for the feedback.
Papahawk from parts unknown writes: Mike, I look forward to hearing your comparisons between the football related experiences from Superbowl XL and XLIII. Seeing how you were very close to the Hawks in 2006, and the Cardinals this year. I would love to read a comparison of how the teams handled the environment, how the Steelers -- the common opponent -- handled the off field stuff, etc. Obviously both NFC West teams lost, but neither of them will be forgotten by their fans. Any comparison would be great. Holmgren versus Whisenhunt, Tomlin versus Cowher, Big Ben's maturation. Warner versus Hasselbeck, etc.
Mike Sando: On the field, Ben Roethlisberger was so much better this time. The Cardinals were also much better offensively than the Seahawks were in that game three years ago. That Seattle team was a very strong running team, but Mike Holmgren's passing instincts seemed to drive that game plan. Offensively, the Cardinals stayed true to their regular-season identity even though they had become more balanced during the playoffs.
Scott from Seattle writes: As a long suffering Cards fan relocated to the great NW I must scream for the Cards to keep that O-line together. That has always been one of the biggest problems and I think this young group had a pretty good year. Is there any numbers to back that up and if so am I accurate? Love the blog, keep it up.
Mike Sando: Thanks much. Continuity worked to the line's advantage, but I think the Cardinals still need to upgrade the line if they can. They drafted Levi Brown to protect Matt Leinart's blind side, only to settle on a right-handed quarterback. If they bring back Warner as their starter, as expected, I think they need to consider ways to improve the protection. They did not take lots of sacks, but Warner took too many hard hits.
Either the Cardinals need to help their tackles a little more or they might want to consider drafting someone who can hold up against a James Harrison type in a big game. I do not know if they would consider moving Brown to left tackle or if they are OK having the fifth overall pick playing the right side.
Scott from Arlington, Wash., writes: So, am I just hyper-sensitive to the refereeing ... or was there a block in the back to one of the Cardinals around the 20-30 yard line on Harrison's runback in the Super Bowl that wasn't called? Or is that a legal block?
Mike Sando: Yeah, they could have called that one. There was already a Cardinals penalty on the play, though, so I think that would have been offsetting. Update: As SlaterChris notes in the comments, the Arizona foul occurred before the change of possession. The block in the back would have occurred after the change of possession.
Tenngranpa from Eatonton, Ga., writes: During the National Anthem for SuperBowl 43 several of the players were shown talking, joking, etc. Bad enough, but one of the Cardinal players showed complete disrespect by turning away and sitting down on the bench. Whoever it was may be SuperBowl athletic quality, but certainly is a loser when compared to the people undergoing the real struggles to preserve our way of life.
Mike Sando: Not so fast. After reviewing the video, yes, the cameras did show Larry Fitzgerald taking a seat during America the Beautiful, but the cameras showed no one sitting down or otherwise carrying on inappropriately during the National Anthem. The cameras showed Fitzgerald standing during the National Anthem. We would expect nothing less from a graduate of the Valley Forge Military Academy.
Cofy from Issaquah, Wash., writes: Sando, First, thank you for your blog, I love getting such great NFC West coverage. Second, my in-laws are all Cardinal fans and are outraged about the final play in the SB. They feel, and I am inclined to agree, that it was should have been reviewed. But that is where I leave their fantasyland. They of course are arguing that one last play would have allowed one more hail mary to win the game. Can you tell me, are there statistics anywhere that I can share with them that even if the play had been overturned, they still had almost no chance it succeeding?
Mike Sando: Thanks much. I do not have such stats but I think we can agree that a 29-yard jump-ball pass from Kurt Warner to Fitzgerald would be a higher-percentage play than a 29-yard jump-ball pass from most quarterbacks to most receivers.
Sol from parts unknown writes: Mike, how 'bout them Stillers! 6-pack baby! AZ is overrated -- watch what happens to them next year and make sure you credit me when thay are a .500 team. You read it here first. Sol
Mike Sando: Hey, the Cardinals were almost a .500 team this season (9-7).
Adkins from Sanford, N.C., writes: What a freaking joke! Ray Charles could have been a better official! Warner's arm was past his head when that ball came out. Considering he had brought his arm back and then it was past his head, then that's foward motion!!! Also..using the ball as a prop? Where's the call? Warner should have had 7 secs from the 15-20.With the cards wide recievers!!! Thats not even a jump ball situation! That's what the cards do easy every game!! What a freaking joke! NFL is no longer a game of heart and talent and never will be again, reminds me alot of modern politics..a joke!!!!!!!!
Mike Sando: That might be going a little far, but I do appreciate the passion.
Harold from Columbia, Mo., writes: Sando. Thanks for your work this season. It definitely made the season that much more enjoyable. I am proud of the Cardinals regardless. You have to be proud of the effort and the fact they didn't quit. If anything, the Cards showed they deserved to be there and could have won the game. Fun season!
Mike Sando: Thanks for all your contributions. You've been a mainstay contributor.
Octavio from parts unknown writes: Hi Mike, You have done a wonderful job with the blog all season. Keep up the great work and enjoy your "off-season", if you have one!
Mike Sando: Offseason? I do plan to take some family time this weekend, but it's tough to complain about this kind of work. It's not really work when you enjoy it.
Eli from Tacoma writes: Quick question Mike, What are the chances that Qwest Field will ever host a Superbowl? Thanks Mike!
Mike Sando: Slim to none. I just don't see the league holding a cold-weather Super Bowl in a stadium without a roof.