Pittsburgh Steelers fans (hi Sam!) can all thank their lucky stars for instant replay. In a game that was, to quote Jim Ross, "bowling shoe ugly", the Steelers used a stifling defense and a little bit of luck to beat the Baltimore Ravens 13-9 yesterday to claim their 4th AFC North title in the last 5 years.
After stuffing each other multiple times, the Ravens clung to a 9-6 lead, and with under 1 minute to go in the game, the Steelers were knocking at the door. At 3rd and goal, Ben Roethlisberger scrambled left and right, and finally tossed a quick pass to Santonio Holmes. Santonio's feet were clearly in the endzone, but he had to fall forward to catch the ball, so the original call was no touchdown since the line judge believed the ball hadn't crossed the goal line. With time running down, Head Ref Walt "Tuck Rule" Coleman stopped the clock to check the call on replay.
Now for it to be a touchdown, the ball has to only get to the front of the End Zone line while the player is in bounds, and CBS showed several angles that were blocked or inconclusive. However, one did show that Santonio had possession at literally the last possible moment where it would still be a touchdown, another molecule or two and he would've been out and the call would have been correct. When he came back, he said the ball had crossed the plane and the catch was a touchdown. So, the Steelers escape with one and get to go home and celebrate their divisional championship -- perhaps with some Roethles-burgers?
The video is here, so check it out and see, what do you think? Touchdown or not? And remember, to overturn, it has to be an obvious error on the part of the referee who made the call.
It's unbelievable to think, a play that was this close, along with the Tennessee Titans shocking loss, has now opened the path to the Steelers getting homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. Just shows you, this game of inches, can be a game of millimeters. Gotta love football.