What to know on Seahawks, referee issue

News that Bill Leavy will be working the Seattle Seahawks' game against the Pittsburgh Steelers should come with some fine print:

  • Leavy and line judge Mark Perlman are the only holdovers from the crew that ticked off the Seahawks so badly with its officiating in Super Bowl XL following the 2005 season. The chart shows Leavy's crew for the Super Bowl and his crew for the Cincinnati-Cleveland game he worked in Week 1 this season.

  • Given the fallout over officiating in the Super Bowl, the league had no good reason for assigning Leavy to another Seahawks-Steelers game. Leavy has worked a Seattle game subsequently and it's only fair for every team to draw from the same group of referees. But why this game? This had to reflect an oversight at the officiating office, one the league couldn't very well undo once news of Leavy's assignment got out.

  • Leavy himself made two of the calls against Seattle in the Super Bowl. He called holding against tackle Sean Locklear, a call for which he apologized even though the officiating office did not grade him down for this specific call. Leavy also made the obviously incorrect call against quarterback Matt Hasselbeck for a low block.

  • Perlman, as line judge, made the call allowing Ben Roethlisberger's 1-yard touchdown run. The Seahawks felt as though Roethlisberger did not score on the play. Perlman will be serving in the same capacity Sunday if Leavy brings his Week 1 crew to Pittsburgh.

  • The back judge in the Super Bowl, Bob Waggoner, made the call for offensive interference against Seahawks receiver Darrell Jackson, negating a touchown that would have given Seattle a 7-0 lead.

  • Leavy met with Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and staff last season at team headquarters, delivering an annual officiating presentation. Officials brief reporters separately during these visits to training camps. Leavy apologized for Super Bowl officiating errors during the media session.

  • Cornerback Marcus Trufant and linebacker Leroy Hill are the only current Seattle players who were on the roster for the Super Bowl. This would be a much bigger deal if Mike Holmgren were still coaching the Seahawks. Carroll has less reason to care.

The differentiation between Leavy's Super Bowl crew and his likely crew for Week 2 seemed important. Leavy's assignment to the game Sunday struck a nerve with some fans I've heard from. I'd call it an honest oversight strengthening perceptions among West Coast teams that the NFL isn't particularly sensitive to their concerns on such matters.

Bill Leavy Crew Comparison