Steelers + refs = Cards get hosed

Santonio Holmes may have won the MVP award, but Steeler fans should consider writing thank-you notes to the officiating crew of Super Bowl XLIII. If you were like me and rooting for Arizona, then I’m sure you were disappointed that a majority of the penalty calls went against the Cardinals.

And yet, the Cardinals still managed to erase a 13-point deficit and hold the lead in the final minute before giving up Holmes’ touchdown catch. A catch, by the way, that will rate as one of the best ever in a championship setting.

But back to my point. Arizona was flagged 11 times for 106 yards in the contest. Pittsburgh had seven against them, but only 56 yards in penalties.

One of the Cardinals’ penalties was a roughing the passer call that wouldn’t get called in a high-school game, much less one that should’ve been flagged in a Super Bowl.

That came on a drive that saw two personal foul penalties on the Cards, one of which gave the Steelers another chance to score from inside the Arizona 5-yard-line.

It turned out to only be three points, but Pittsburgh never should have had the chance to score on that drive. A non-call on the roughing penalty would have resulted in a Steelers’ punt.

Speaking of non-calls, Holmes committed highway robbery after his score. In paying tribute to LeBron James, he copied James’ chalk routine and used the football as a prop.

During the regular season, that’s an automatic 15-yard penalty on the kickoff. This time, the officials were conveniently looking away.

It could have turned out to be a big swing in field position, but we’ll never know if the outcome might have changed because of it.

It’s just too bad that in such a well-played Super Bowl, the so-called “best officiating crew” couldn’t do any better than the other 16 crews that work NFL games during the regular season.

This football season has been marred by controversial calls on the field, and it’s a shame that the Super Bowl was no different.

Pittsburgh did what they had to do to win, so congratulations to them. But when you get that much help from zebras, how can you not come out on top?

For the Cardinals, it was one heck of an effort. Not many teams could stay within four points of the Steelers playing 11 against 18.