Look, I realize John Harbaugh is not going to waste his time responding to me, so let’s get that out of the way out the chute. But as I was reading the morning news on NFL.com, I noticed a bullet point “John Harbaugh ‘disappointed’ with late penalty.”
Honestly, my first reaction was that Harbaugh must have been disappointed with cornerback Anthony Levine, for committing such an obvious penalty. But NO, he was blaming the officiating.
Here’s what NFL.com had Harbaugh saying, “”My understanding is that both players, the offensive and defensive player, are supposed to have an opportunity to go make a play on the ball,” Harbaugh said. “I saw a corner trying to make a play on the ball with a forearm in his chest and clavicle area being held down, not allowed to jump for the ball.
“That’s a disappointing situation. I think a corner should be given the chance to defend, and I know he wasn’t given a chance to defend on that play. That’s not fair to the player. Players should be the guys determining the outcome of the game in a situation like that, without question.”
Color me flummoxed. While it is the goal of every journalist worth his or her laptop to be able to take a step back to view the game objectively, it is obvious that players, coaches, and fans are going to bring their biases to the review room. But C’MON, MAN. Officials should let players play and I’d be the first to say that the game has been softened too much by ticky-tack rule changes and calls, but THAT WAS PASS INTERFERENCE and even Lester Hayes would admit that without reservation.
Historically speaking, it seems that the Chargers have been on the wrong end of late game calls more often than most (umm… Holy Roller… Ed Hoculi anyone?) and before I could tell if a flag was going to be thrown watching live, I thought, “Oh no, here we go again.” Home town bias? Perhaps in thinking the Bolts have been unfairly treated over the years. Not on that play; not on that call.
Levine had his arms around Floyd, preventing him from jumping or reaching up with both hands. Not a ticky-tack call, not two players fighting for the ball, not a questionable call. PASS INTERFERENCE. Raven fans being objective cannot refute that call. Sorry. They just can’t. Be mad at the player for the play, but not the call.
Now there is another explanation for Harbaugh’s outrageous viewpoint: he’s rallying his troops, defending his player, building his guys (and Levine specifically) back up after a crushing loss. Only that would explain Harbaugh’s myopia.
As for the Chargers, it was a huge win with huge playoff implications, even if it was not the best played game of the year. They found a way to win. Huge.