For much of the season, Notre Dame and their fans must have felt like a secret vendetta was being carried out against the Irish by the officials.
You could continue to say the same thing after the Washington game on Saturday, with a bizarre roughing the snapper call giving the Huskies four extra shots at the end-zone from the one-yard-line, and the ability to milk precious time off the clock. Luckily the Irish’s goal-line defense stood tall and rescued the team from certain defeat.
But as much as the Irish were upset with another set of referees, the Washington Huskies have continued to bang the drum of the aggrieved.
Running back Chris Polk made no bones about his thoughts. “I’m at peace with it because the nation knows we should have won and they know we should have won,” Polk said. “So as long as they know that, I’m okay with it.”
Polk cited the overturned 6-yard run that was originally called a touchdown but eventually ruled down at the half-yard line and Robert Hughes two-point conversion runs as his irrefutable proof.
“Everybody knows if you watch the replays, they know that the two-point conversion that his knee was down, and that when I scored it was a touchdown. They didn’t beat us, the refs beat us, in a sense.”
Washington athletic director Scott Woodward is also pressing for review of some controversial plays. He openly questioned how the Big East replay officials handled their duties.
“My concerns are about the integrity of the replay booth and it being split in crews with a Pac-10 crew handling the on-field officiating and a Big East team in the replay booth,” Woodward said.
I’m actually kind of shocked that people actually associated with the team and the athletic department are pursuing this. Any concerns and complaints with the officiating that don’t even mention the bizarre roughing the snapper penalty is disingenuous.
As for Polk’s “touchdown,” I thought that was a pretty cut-and-dry call of him not quite getting in, but the argument could be made for their not being enough irrefutable evidence to overturn the call. As for the Hughes play, depending on what color glasses you’re wearing, you’ll see that as an extraordinary effort by Hughes and company, or a blown call by the officials both on the field and in the booth.
I don’t think Sarkisian has the heart to complain about the 2-point play, just because he was on the sideline at Notre Dame Stadium for another famous goal-line push, and that one just happened to go his way.
A common theme in all of these close plays is the role a replay board would play in all of this. If coaches had a chance to watch instant replays on a scoreboard, they may be better able to use their challenges, or call their timeouts to make sure that replay officials take a look at these close plays.
Yet for me to take any sniping at the officials seriously, Washington needs to admit that they were given four extra plays at the one-yard line for free.