Whistle malfunction

Some readers want to hear my thoughts on Superbowl XL, where the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Seattle Seahawks 21-10.  I wrote a couple of posts discussing how underrated the Seahawks are and how biased I consider the American sports media.  OK, well…my opinion isn’t worth much, because what I write won’t change the outcome of the game.  The Seahawks lost the game–as it was officiated.  I believe the Seahawks may have lost partly due to a "whistle malfunction."  The NFL is obstinately defending the league’s questionable officiating during the game.  There is no way to know how the outcome would have changed had some or all of the questionable referee calls had been reversed.  One thing is certain–I am not the only one who thought the Pittsburgh’s "touchdown" making the score 21-10 was not a touchdown at all.  Less certain is whether the Seahawks would have won the game if the call had been reversed and/or other questionable calls had been changed.  There are many intangibles to consider–could the Seahawks, who played well in the first half, have played better during the second half without all the bad calls and miscues?  We’ll never know.  I won’t begrudge Steelers’ fans–it is not the Steelers’ fault, and they won Superbowl XL.  Just not fairly or squarely.
Tonight’s entry might sound like sour grapes, but the word I hear from across the pond is that officiating during the Superbowl is this year’s version of a "wardrobe malfunction" and that it has become the butt of Jay Leno jokes.  Even Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger admitted on national television that he was surprised that Pittsburgh’s "touchdown" was ruled fair by the referees.  Pittsburgh fans’ celebrations and gloating seem slightly muted with the knowledge that the officiating was questionable.  To make matters worse, if you take away the disputed touchdown and assume that neither team scores for the rest of the game–a fair assumption–then the final score of the game was within the spread (Seattle -4).  Everyone who bet on the Seahawks to win the game or lose by four points would have won money.  If I had bet on the Seahawks, I would be absolutely livid with the NFL’s referees.  Something smells fishy to me.  In fact, someone I know who won money on the Steelers turned down some of his winnings because he was absolutely certain that the "touchdown" was not a touchdown at all.  This is a gentleman who co-founded China’s professional men’s basketball league (ala Yao Ming), so he should know.  The sports media, which got the outcome it favored (a Pittsburgh victory), has been maddeningly quiet on the questionable officiating.  It reaffirms in my mind yet again that the sports media has an obvious pro-East Coast and California bias.  If the Seahawks had been awarded that touchdown at Pittsburgh’s expense, I have no doubt in my mind that the media would have cried foul.
One other interesting Superbowl tidbit to note:  NFL MVP Wide Receiver and Korean-American Hines Ward has become Korea’s newest favorite son.  Before the Superbowl, Koreans would have been hard pressed to identify Ward.  Now, he’s a superstar here and on his way to Korea, where he will receive a hero’s welcome.  This is common in Korea, where Korean media companies broadcast world sporting events when top Korean players are playing.  For example, many San Diego Padres games were broadcast last year when Pitcher Chan Ho Park joined the team.  Now, Ward is the primary focus of the Korean sports media’s attention.
Blog Notes:  Speaking of controversies–Korean Speedskater Ahn Hyun-soo and U.S. Speedskater Apollo Ono will clash again in their quest for gold in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy.  If you recall, Ahn and Ono clashed during the 1,500 meter finals at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Let’s hope that the two avoid controversy and that one of them win the gold–fairly and squarely.  The last thing the U.S. and Korea need is another sports controversy following American Gymnast Paul Hamm’s disputed gold medal in the men’s all-around at the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics.  The Court of Arbitration for Sport determined Hamm won the gold medal over Korean Yang Tae-young, who claimed a scoring error cost him the gold.
  1. Paul Hart

    Hey so I guess you can speak German, so I’ll write in German! 
    Also, ich heiße Paul.  Ich habe Ihr Text von irgendwann letztes
    Jahr gelesen im Mai oder im März.,,Es ist Zeit, Deutsch noch einmal zu
    lernen".  Es hört so an wie Sie viele Sprachen können. Wie viele
    sind das genau?  Es interresiert mich sehr.  Ich möchte auch
    viele Sprachen lernen.  So ich bin ein Amerikanischer
    Austauschüler in Deutschland für ein Jahr.  Deswegen, kann ich
    Deutsch.  Ok so es ist noch nicht perfekt, aber hoffentlich können
    Sie mich verstehen!  Ich habe mich in Ihrem Gastbuch
    gemeldet.  Das finde ich super!  Ok so das ist alles. 
    Viele viele Grüße! Und Herzlichen Glückwünsch an Best of MSN!!

  2. Derrick

    As someone who lived and worked in Korea for 8 years, living on the economy and coming into daily contact with the people (not just an occasional venturing forth from the insulation of a military base or tourist hotel), I can say there has never been, is not now, nor ever will be anything fair about Korea and the way it treats sports or any other aspect of life. If an athlete has the most dubious of Korean links, regardless of his record, he is a hero and can do no wrong, while mistakes and poor performances are blamed on everything except the said athlete. Ahn Hyun-soo lost because he did something Korean speed skaters all do, not follow lane change rules. Replays clearly showed it, the rules clearly spell out what is proper and not, yet the Koreans will always gripe. However, not one word is mentioned about a clearly outmatched and overpowered Korean boxer winning over Roy Jones in an Olympics, or the unjustified penalty shots in the World Cup soccer that allowed South Korea to tie the U.S. Koreans wear the same blinders that NFL officials are wearing when they claim the Steeler-Seahawk Super Bowl officiating was correct. Anyone who thinks the officiating in the NFL doesn’t need a drastic overhaul obviously still believes South Korea is a great and trusted ally of the United States.

  3. Su Jin

    I came across your blog -did you know it was on MSN.com on the front page? ^_^ (It’s really cool because Korea’s getting more and more recognition every day from the "Western" world! I mean, I was watching Commander In Chief – the female president handling crisis show – and it kept talking about North Korea, and my husband was like, I think I’ve never heard "Korea" on primetime TV that many times ever in my life) I was just wondering though what you were doing in Korea and if you were Korean. I didn’t get to read too far back into your blog, so I wasn’t sure. I am Korean-American, and I plan on living in Korea when I have children and they are a bit grown, so I can put them through the Korean school system and make them learn Korean. Plus, my husband’s a Korean International, so I think he would be happy to live in Korea for a little while (although we’re both really used to the US…I went to study abroad in Korea my sophomore year in college and that was really tiring). But I am not sure what types of jobs I could get in Korea. I’m a US citizen, so I guess I’d need sponsoring? I don’t know how the work/labor laws are in Korea, but right now I am working on my master’s in Public Health, and I would love to work in a field related to that. But who knows if they hire people from abroad? -_-;;;;;;
    Well, I hope you and yours have a great time in Korea. It’s such a wonderful country, and the people are so fun, and they have a lot of 정, which is hard to find in the states. And there are also plenty of things to do and places to eat in Korea, which I really miss.
    I’ll check by often to see what you folks are up to. 좋은 하루 돼세요~!

  4. Orin

    In your article you wrote " The sports media, which got the outcome it favored (a Pittsburgh victory), has been maddeningly quiet on the questionable officiating.  It reaffirms in my mind yet again that the sports media has an obvious pro-East Coast and California bias. "  Well, since Seattle is not in California and Pittsburgh is not on the east coast so I’m not sure how this game reaffirms that bias??

  5. MJ

    Hi, I am a Korean-American lives in Texas. I just came back few weeks ago from Korea visiting my families. I sure miss Korea.
    It was nice to see a blog about Korea and just wanted you to know that you did a great job with your blog.
    I’ve been having a problem with adding photos to my blog since I came back and I haven’t been able to add any my pictures from the trip. I guess I will send some of my friends here to your blog so they can see pictures of Korea.
    I will come by here again to read more about my home country. Keep up the good work!

  6. Unknown

    I’ve always wanted to go to Korea. My mom’s from there and my younger sister has gotten to go twice but unfortunately I haven’t had that chance just yet. Hopefully I will make it there though. It’d be nice to finally get a first hand glance at my second heritage.
    As far as the Super Bowl goes, though not a Steelers or Seahawks fan, I don’t buy this Pittsburg consipracy. Theorists appear every year, but if the Seahawks were going to rely on the refs to win the game for them, then they shouldn’t have gotten it.  They should have bulked up and played their hearts out instead of sit and complain. They could have bounced back and won the game and I think Hasselbeck was the only one who thought they could [that last minute drive was shaping up to be pretty interesting].
    But officiating aside, Jackson pushing off in the end zone in the 1st quarter, the 4 dropped passes, 2 missed field goals, poor coverage [allowing Big Ben to stay behind the line of scrimmage and launch a rocket to Ward to set up their first TD, allowing the longest TD run in Super Bowl history, allowing the trick play with former Big-10 QB Randle El among major things]  and then that last interception combined with the whole defeatist attitude before the game was even over certainly didn’t help their cause. As far as I’m concerned, I didn’t see any of the refs invovled with those offenses. They had plenty of chances to play the spoilers [which would have been a great story] but instead they want to point the blame outwards. Sure, do that but there’s more evidence against them.

  7. brian

    i’m from seattle and do alot of business with customers in the redmond area.. I get take out from that pho hoa all the time.
    You hear alot in the national media ala ESPN that the superbowl controversy is old news and lets put it behind us. But in fact its the most important news in all of sports.. IS the NFL a tainted league? i would of never imagine this.. But maybe big business has taken over..
    If you noticed during the game.. They constantly showed commercials of Pitsburgh players winning the trophy. Also the story line of the Bus coming home and how almost all of america voted that Pittsburgh was gonna win. Can you imagine how much MONEY would have been lost in vegas if the seahawks would of won? How much money would have been lost to big companies also with the less favorable Seahawks?
    I have frequented many PRO football teams web board. I’ve come to the conclusion many fans of other teams feel that the game was certainly unfair. So it isnt just seattle fans , what the national media is alluding to.
    My conclusion..
    As hines ward ( who did alot of illegal push offs during his catches) said, " I’m going to disney land and i’m taking the Bus with me!"
    great story to sell huh.

  8. Alrik

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  9. Kim

    While I enjoy reading your blog, especially as a Korean-American adoptee, I laughed my head off when I read (pardon me) your sour grapes about the Super Bowl.  Did you see all the post-season games the Steelers played?  Did you see them win all those games on the road?  Pittsburgh’s celebrating is not muted one bit.  This town is amazing, and the city’s response to their team’s incredible season and Super Bowl win has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  No one loves their team like Pittsburghers.  And the funny thing is there has been numerous Seattle natives who now live in the ‘burgh who have written into the local papers about their love of Pittsburgh and the Steelers.  I do think Seattle is a great city with a worthy football team, but honestly — get over it.  You lost.  There’s a lot more things in life to get upset about.

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