First off let me say that based off the official calls and rulings of the refs, the Raven won the game. If the NFL is allowing the blown call from the infamous Green Bay/Seattle game to stand, it will accept the officiating from the Super Bowl as concrete. So no amount of complaining no matter how justified or not, will change that. That said there are bigger consequences to the officiating no calls in the last two minutes of the Super Bowl.
I will point out there were bad calls on both sides of the game. That said, being a 49ers fan, the ones I care about are the ones at the end. But they also lead into my point.
First off Crabtree's no call. I have seen the review from both sides. And the argument here is that since Crabtree initiates the contact it made it a harder penalty to call. Here are my arguments against that. First off, the 49ers started from the 5 yd line, which means any contact within those 5 yds is fair game. That 5 yard mark ends with the start of the endzone. So by rule, any contact in the endzone is grounds for throwing a flag. If the line of scrimmage was at the 2 or 3 yard line, you could argue well technically that falls within the first 5 yards. Second, the whole entire year and the previous year we have heard analyst after analyst say the samething. From Gruden to Collinsworth, that when a defender grabs the jersey of a WR it is an easy call for a defensive holding. If you see a replay from the sideline view, you can see Smith's hands tugging on the jersey. Mike Pereira justifies the no call in this link so I will stomp my feet at my discontent.
Second the fake punt that killed time from the clock. As Koch is running to the right side of the endzone. Anthony Dixon is trying to run towards his direction but is being held from the opposite direction by a Ravens blocker. The picture shows it but there is a replay view from right behind Sam Koch and goal post that shows it more clearly. It has been argued to me that calling a hold on this play would have resulted in the 49ers losing more time, because they would have replayed 4th down with the game clock starting from 4 secs but at least it would have taken away the element of a surprise punt.
Now I will be the first to reiterate that the 49ers contributed in their own loss in the Superbowl. From the slow start, all around bad play in the first half, special teams kick return and down to the last possession playcalling. But as I told my friend, if a team is going to lose the Super Bowl it should be clear 100% that it is because of just those reasons, not the officiating. This Super Bowl is half of both. While I think its stupid for the 49ers to put their hopes in getting saved by a penalty, rules are rules.
This all comes back to how the referees are even selected for the Super Bowl. I don't think the game was fixed. I do think it did just came down to the refs taking an attitude of "let them play". But I remember reading this article leading up to the Super Bowl and it seems even more pertinent now seeing as what happened.
So if your best referees aren't officiating the Super Bowl, what do you expect is going to happen?
This game has shown us one important thing. There are no penalties in the last two minutes of a football game. Because of this "let them play" attitude, it sets a bad precedent that referees won't call anything in the last two minutes for fear of deciding the game, much less the Super Bowl. I understand the rationale, even if I don't agree with it. They don't want a penalty to affect the outcome of a game. But we can all argue now, that not calling a penalty can affect the outcome of a game just as much as calling one would. I would have been content with the officials at least throwing the flag and picking it up and explaining why it was a no call. That at least in my mind would have been justified.
Defensive backs and WRs both say each game is about what you can get away with. I have always accepted that but I never thought it would affect a Super Bowl game as much as it did this year. It was a good game it should not have ended on controversial blown calls. The NFL doesn't care. The ratings for the Super Bowl were good. The 49ers games continue to bring profits and it gave the fairy tale milk it for all its worth story.
a 49ers fan 100%, Win, Lose or Tie.