Pro Football Talk wrote:
'HAWKS, NFL CLEAR THE AIR
The (Peter) King Of All Football Media (and we don't mean that in our usual smart-ass way, but as a high compliment to his burgeoning presence everywhere a football fan turns) reports in his MMQB column that the Seattle Seahawks and the National Football League have smooched and made up after one of the most hotly-disputed games in league history.
According to King, NFL director of officiating Mike Pereira ventured into the belly of the Big Show's beast last week for an annual offseason visit regarding 2006 rules changes. And, yeah, there was also a little something on the agenda regarding Super Bowl XL, which threw the entire Pacific Northwest into a tizzy with the perception that the Seahawks got scuh-rewed.
King identifies three calls about which the team still believes it got the shaft, shoved sideways: (1) the flag thrown against Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck for making a low block on an interception return, which was obviously wrong because Hasselbeck was actually hitting the guy who was returning the pick; (2) the momentum-turning holding call on tackle Sean Locklear, which erased one of the few times that tight end Jerramy Stevens didn't drop the ball; and (3) a holding penalty that wiped out a 46-yard punt return by Peter Warrick on the first play of the second quarter. (The Seahawks also still think that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's touchdown plunge was short of the goal line, but that call already had been debated at length between the team and the league office before last week's meeting.)
The most compelling aspect of the story, in our view, is that the Big Show a/k/a Mike Holmgren defused a potentially ugly session with Pereira by calling his assistant coaches together the prior evening and telling them to handle the league's emissary with respect. After all, the Seahawks will play up to 20 games that count in the coming season, and each of them will be handled by a crew of guys who, contrary to popular belief, are human beings -- and thus are subject to the same conscious and subconscious biases as the rest of us. If there's any merit to the hypothesis that the bad calls in the Super Bowl had their roots in the public griping in which Holmgren engaged after narrowly defeating the Giants in November, then it made no sense to set a bad tone for 2006 by tearing Pereira a few new Pujols.
By all appearances, Holmgren's strategy worked.
"It was the longest coaches' meeting I've ever been a part of,'' Pereira told King. "But they were a professional group of coaches. We disagreed without hostility, and when it's all said and done, we got some closure. I'm really glad I went. Now we can finally look ahead to the 2006 season.''
And Holmgren won't have to worry about the zebras going out of their way to stick it to his team as he tries to take the franchise one level higher.
Heck, the officials might even think subconsciously that they owe him a few close ones.
This is one of the reasons I believe the Seahawks won't be as solid this year as they were a year ago. As is the case with many teams that reach the Super Bowl, they got some career years from a lot of their key players which will be hard to duplicate. They had a lot of rookies that played well particularly on defense and many of them might hit a sophomore wall. Not to mention the "curse" that this team started by losing the Super Bowl and missing the playoffs the following year. Since our Super Bowl loss, only the Titans have managed to return the playoffs the following year. When you look at it before our loss, it was common for the Super Bowl loser to return to the playoffs the year after. It's hard for me to predict the Seahawks to miss the playoffs this year, but with the Rams and Cardinals probably playing better this year, it won't be a total surprise if they do miss it.
Lingering issues from a devastating Super Bowl lose usually keep the team from being focused the next season.