Just when you think the Miami Dolphins can't get screwed any harder. Just when you think this team has seen the worst of its ball-clobbering misfortune, comes a loss like yesterday's 23-22 cockpunch against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Not only did the officiating crew take a monumental shit on the Dolphins potential victory, they managed to do it in an unprecedented manner. So much so, that even the Steelers players and coaches were baffled by the inexplicable way things ended.
The Dolphins held a 22-20 lead with 2:29 remaining when Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger dove headfirst into the endzone for what the officials initially ruled a touchdown. But Roethlisberger fumbled before breaking the plain. Dolphins defensive players jumped on the ball and recovered it in the endzone. After a lengthy review, head official Gene Steratore explained that Roethlisberger did indeed fumble the ball, but then went on and gave us the Curb Your Enthusiasm "Having Said That..." line. Steratore explained to the crowd that, because there was no conclusive video evidence of who recovered the fumble, they could not award the ball to the Dolphins. The Steelers maintained possession, kicked the go-ahead field goal, and eventually won the game.
Afterward, Steratore explained his call with this enchanting load of unicorn shit: "I have to have clear video evidence of the team recovering the fumble. It is a pile of bodies in there, and you don't have a clear recovery."
Fins linebackers Channing Crowder and Karlos Dansby each said officials told them that the Dolphins had recovered the football. Ike Alama-Francis (you know, the guy wearing the number 59 Miami Dolphins uniform in all the available videos and pictures showing him recovering the football) said the officials called out "White ball, white ball!" indicating Miami had recovered the football after Roethlisberger fumbled it.
"You hate to win it that way," Roethlisberger said. "But you'll take the win."
The Dolphins had a chance to win it in the end, but couldn't capitalize. And they settled for field goals after failing to score touchdowns earlier in the game when they forced two Steeler turnovers.
But the fact remains; the defense was in position to ice the game in the end by stopping the Steelers. And they did. Except that they didn't. Because Steratore didn't see it on the video replay. Even though it's on the video replay. And even though the officials didn't need the video replay because they pretty much saw the Dolphins recover the football with their own eyes. Anyone else's brain hurt?
"I just don't understand the ruling," Francis said. "I had possession."
Yes. Yes you did. Except that... you didn't? Yea, we don't get it either, Ike.
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