Blargh Blog

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Professional Sports Marred By Controversy

It was bad enough when dubious officiating altered the Super Bowl, with a phantom holding call, a ticky-tack pass interference call, an questionable touchdown, a fumble ruled incomplete, an illegal block on a tackle, and other suspicious acts of officiating gave the referees an inappropriately large role in determining the winner of a game that should have been decided by the Seattle Seahawks and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Citizens and pundits responded with outrage, disappointment, and suspicion, with everyone from Aaron Schatz to T. Havas, Robert Weintraub to Jim Henley, chiming in.

But that was just a prelude to the controversy breaking in the NBA. This year's slam dunk contest brought a perfect storm of scandal, featuring visible collusion between scorers, a bizarrely long sequence of missed dunks, and a series of other embarrassments, before being capped off with one of the biggest missed calls ever to strike professional sports. Nate Robinson attempted to throw the ball off the backboard on a ridiculous jump shot alley-oop to himself, but instead he landed after doing his fancy mid-air ballhandling, and did not throw the ball at the hoop until after his foot had returned to the ground (as is clearly evident in the image below, taken from the video here). The scorers, though, treated the move as if it had been completed in midair, awarding him points for a move he did not make.

The NFL, I think, will recover from its Super Bowl disaster, just as MLB has made it back from its infamous All-Star tie. After this weekend's dunk contest, I do not know about the NBA.


At February 26, 2006 4:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The pass interference was a good call - the defender lost his balance for a moment and was taken out of the play. The touchdown was a good call too. He clearly broke the plane of the goal line on his way down. Both call were very close, and could have been called either way. Kudos to the refs for getting it right in both instances.

As to the slam-dunk contest: Who cares?


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