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Review of Super calls

Join senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

William from Jacksonville:
All this talk about the CBA has me scared, so I'd like to focus on smaller problems. What can Byron do to improve in the offseason to ensure he reaches the next level?

Vic: He can spend the spring working on getting the ball out quicker and on time, instead of standing in the pocket looking for open receivers. I'm sure that'll be a major point of emphasis this spring. At this point, however, what Byron has to accomplish must come in the games. He's a savvy player. He understands what needs to be done and what the expectations are.

Jesse from Tallahassee, FL:
Is the Jags offense a group of young players about to burst into the spotlight or is it a group of mediocre players lacking a play-maker?

Vic: I don't have an answer for you but I wanted to use your question because you have hit the nail right on the head. That's the question that has to be answered for us to know what kind of team this is going to be.

Jaime from Jacksonville:
Darrell Jackson caught a ball that was ruled out of bounds but it appeared he got one foot in bounds and the other foot touched the pylon before going out. Should that have been a touchdown or did the refs get it right?

Vic: The right call was made. Here's how it works: Darrell Jackson got one foot down in bounds as he caught the ball. The leg of his second foot brushed the end zone pylon before his second foot came down out of bounds. The pylon is in bounds but does not constitute the ground. A receiver must get two feet on the ground and in bounds for catch to be ruled. I spoke on Tuesday with an officiating expert about the controversial calls in Sunday's game. We reviewed the four controversial calls in Sunday's game and his analysis is as follows: 1. The Roethlisberger touchdown—video evidence tends to support the call but is not conclusive. Had Roethlisberger been ruled short of the goal line, replay would not have overruled the call. 2. Seattle holding on the long pass—Video evidence does not support the call. Even though holding is one of the most subjective of all calls, the feeling is that holding should not have been called on this play. 3. Jackson push-off—The right call was made. Jackson extended his arm in a deliberate attempt to repel himself in a different direction from the defender, which he did. The official who made the call was in position to make the call and should be commended for his action. 4. Hasselbeck low block—The wrong call was made. The official who made the call thought he saw Hasselbeck come into contact with a second Pittsburgh player other than Ike Taylor, who had the ball. Had Hasselbeck come into contact with a second player, blocking below the waist would've been the proper call. He did not, however, come into contact with a second player. By the way, on the play on which Roethlisberger stopped short of the line of scrimmage to throw the ball, Al Michaels somewhat misrepresented the rule. Roethlisberger could've stepped over the line and still thrown a legal forward pass, provided all of his body wasn't beyond the line of scrimmage. How many people know that rule? What would the outrage have been like had Roethlisberger's third-and-28 pass to Hines Ward have occurred with Roethlisberger's front foot over the line of scrimmage? How long would it have taken the league to convince fans that it was not an illegal forward pass?

Kevin from Quebec, Canada:
What is the state of Pittsburgh's salary cap for next season? Will they be able to bring back their key players to challenge for the Super Bowl again?

Vic: The Steelers are currently $4.6 million over with 41 players signed, but they'll get a $5.35 million savings when Jerome Bettis officially retires, which will immediately put them in good cap position. They'd also get a $1.235 million savings by cutting Willie Williams, who was deactivated for the Super Bowl, and another $858,000 savings from cutting Duce Staley, who might be willing to take a pay cut and provide an even greater savings. The cap isn't a problem for the Steelers. The problem for the Steelers is replacing guys. They have four prominent unrestricted free agents – Antwaan Randle El, Chris Hope, Deshea Townsend and Kimo von Oelhoffen – among a long list of UFA's. Ike Taylor is an RFA; I would expect the Steelers will give Taylor the high tender. The Steelers have a great nucleus of young talent but they'll have to do their annual replenishing job this offseason. They've never been afraid to let guys go, which is how they've maintained a healthy cap. They lost Plaxico Burress last offseason and they'll probably lose Randle El this year.

Nick from Hanover, NH:
There was a guy who called into a Jacksonville talk-radio station and culminated a completely nonsensical tirade about the Super Bowl with, "The biggest issue the NFL faces is not these stupid CBA talks. It's the officiating. The league will never gain any respectability with calls like the ones that were made in the Super Bowl." I thought you might find that amusing.

Vic: Some guy plops down 20 bucks on the Seahawks and when he loses his money he cites the league for a lack of respectability. I'm sure the guy knew the pylon rule, right?

Jim from Cleveland, OH:
Your remarks regarding the game, officiating, etc. are par for the course. It is important for people in your position to circle the wagons in order to protect the game. Unfortunately for you and all of us fans the NFL is no longer a game, it is a business, first and foremost. The Steelers were the story and that is why they had to win the game. I will never have the same level of desire for the game of professional football again.

Vic: You're accusing me of lying. Why would you read the column of someone you believe to be a liar?

Jason from Hagerstown, MD:
Who will get the franchise tag on the Jaguars?

Vic: The Jaguars don't have any players who are "franchise" or "transition" tag candidates.

Joseph from Seattle, WA:
So the oddsmakers have the Colts as the favorites to win the Super Bowl next year. Do they know something we don't? Can they make it without the likes of someone like Edgerrin James?

Vic: When I saw that the Colts are the early favorites for 2006, I broke into a laugh. Are we actually going to do this again? Is this some kind of "Groundhog Day" joke? Hasn't Peyton Manning suffered enough? I'm actually starting to feel sorry for the guy.

Kevin from New York, NY:
Which of the free agents you listed yesterday do you think the Jaguars will re-sign?

Vic: I think the Jaguars will re-sign Rob Meier and I think it will happen soon.

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