– The Super Bowl officiating was borderline awful. So many ticky-tack calls. And if you want to argue that a penalty is penalty never mind that it's the Super Bowl, then why wasn't Santonio Holmes flagged for using the ball as a prop during his TD celebration? An extra 15 yards for the Cardinals on the kickoff would have helped things. Or why wasn't James Harrison ejected after using Aaron Francisco as a speedbag? I've seen players tossed for much less. I'm not arguing those calls should have been made, but the game should be called consistently.
– Speaking of bad calls, how was the Cardinals' last play not reviewed? The NFL says the play was "confirmed" by the replay booth. But that's a sleight of hand that evades the question. Technically speaking, every play in the final two minutes is "looked at" by the booth. The booth watches each play and if it has a question, then it notifies the ref, who then sticks his head under the hood and makes the call. Why wouldn't you do that on that game's penultimate play, just to make extra sure? How much time did the replay guy really have to "confirm" the call anyway? A minute? Plus, with the penalty on the play, had Arizona kept the ball, it would have had one final play from the 29-yard line! It's mind-boggling.
– And think about this: had Holmes been properly flagged and the Warner "fumble" overturned, the Cardinals would have had the ball at the 14-yard line with five seconds left (actually, a few ticks more because time likely would have been put back on the clock after ruling the play ended when the ball hit the ground not when it was recovered; perhaps enough time for two shots at the end zone).
– James Harrison should have been the MVP. His INT return was the game. That's a 14-point swing. I understand the arguments for Harrison not being the MVP, but to me that one play, and, as Pianow described it in the previous link, "his schooling of Mike Gandy," were more than enough to offset any Pittsburgh defensive letdown late in the game.
– Larry Fitzgerald should have intentionally taken a knee on the go-ahead touchdown. I know, I know, you can't really ask him to do that, right? Well, everyone in the stadium was thinking the same thing on that play: the Cardinals scored too quickly. Forty more seconds off the clock and the Cardinals are Super Bowl champs today (less than that because the Steelers would have had to burn their timeouts on defense). Defenses lay down in similar situations to save time for their offenses (the Packers did it in the Super Bowl), so why not the reverse? If he goes down at the 1, it would still take a miracle for the Cardinals not to score a TD. Maybe that's overthinking it, but I don't think it's as far-fetched as it seems.
– Bruce Springsteen didn't do much for me either. Best Super Bowl halftime show: Prince in 2007 followed closely by U2 in 2002 (1a, 1b).
– I would love to hear the explanation for scheduling an Oklahoma City-Sacramento NBA tilt at the exact time of the Super Bowl. The boxscore says 10,000-plus attended, but newspaper estimates put it at 6,500. I'm willing to bet it was even less than that. Scheduling games early in the day is understandable, and having a big draw like Kobe or LeBron would make it more enticing, but how do you bring in the league's worst team for a game that tips off 20 minutes prior to the Super Bowl?? How much money did the Kings lose on that deal? What's worse, the game went to overtime.
– All in all, an exciting Super Bowl, but the poor officiating helps keep it out of the top 5 all-time. I'd put it in the 7-10 range.