Top 6 Officiating Controversies in Super Bowl 

Top 6 Officiating Controversies in Super Bowl 


Top 6 Officiating Controversies in Super Bowl 


There are technical considerations in officiating games. However, there will be times when the gut feeling and instincts are used as officiating tools aside from following the written rules. It could be effective at some point but could also call for a protest from the game observers.

With great angles and positioning, a sports official can be great in his work. Even so, there could be times when the officiating ethics or the technical guidelines are overlooked. A sports official could hit the headlines after a call controversy in popular championship games such as the Super Bowl.

Feb 5, 2020; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) hoists the Lombardi Trophy during the Super Bowl LIV championship parade in Kansas City, Missouri. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Super Bowl Sports League

The Super Bowl is the culminating game of the regular season. It has a high share of viewership among American households. The Super Bowl is written in history as one of the seven most viewed American television programs. Additionally, it is also the second most-watched annual sporting event in the world, next to the UEFA Champions League.

Of course, it has a wide variety of spectators. Celebrity fans are even spotted on the bleachers. Super Bowl’s popularity is immeasurable, and any blunders by the sports officials can spark controversies. 

Among historical Super Bowl lines, disputes and fan wars over bad calls have permanently stained the integrity of the league. If you are hankering for an error-free game, these officiating mistakes in the great Super Bowl history will truly disappoint you.

Super Bowl XL: Ben Roethlisberger’s Touchdown Run

Roethlisberger is one of the best quarterbacks in every league he’s in. During the game of Pittsburgh Steelers against Seattle Seahawks, the prominent quarterback swooped for a one-yard touchdown during the second quarter of the game.   

Initially, it was called a touchdown, but due to protests and rage from the crowd, the officials immediately reviewed the footage of the play and kept the call, favoring the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Feb 5, 2020; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; A Kansas City Chiefs player hoists the Lombardi Trophy during the Super Bowl LIV championship parade through downtown Kansas City. Mandatory Credit: Amy Kontras-USA TODAY Sports

Super Bowl XL: Darrell Jackson’ Offensive Pass Interference

Fans of the Seattle Seahawks we’re infuriated by the rare offensive pass interference charged to Darrel Jackson. In the first quarter of the game of Steelers versus Seahawks, the gap of offense strategy between the two is observable.

Steele’s were on their heels as Seahawks were striking consistent attacks. The highlighted scene is when Jackson pushed Chris Hope. Matt Hasselback passed the football to Jackson for a touchdown when the “pushing” happened.

The final verdict is to nullify the touchdown since the footage from different angles could vouch that Jackson used his hands to execute an offensive pass interference

Super Bowl LII: Eagles Avoid Illegal Contact on Final Play

Super Bowl LII ended, favoring the Philadelphia Eagles against New England Patriots. Consequently, Twitter was flooded with rants and rage by dissatisfied Patriots fans. 

When the game was about to end within nine seconds, Tom Brady initiated one of the most sensational Hail Marys in the history of the Super Bowl.

As soon as the ball landed, Chris Hogan, who was supposed to be the receiver, got slammed by a defender from the Eagles. No flag was thrown, which made the fans furious about the result of the game.

Some would say it was an obvious pass interference or to the Hail Mary launched by Brady. However, the verdict remained as it is even with some spectator’s disagreement on the possibility that the referees have missed the pass interference.

Super Bowl XLVII: Refs Missed Jimmy Smith’s Holding

Eight years ago, the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens encounter in the football field triggered debates among fans and plain spectators. 

The San Francisco 49ers took the lead after carrying out a touch down in the last one minute and 50 seconds of the game. Colin Kaepernick slid a pass to Crabtree. The latter got caught up by Smith near the goal line where the defensive holding came about.

The no-call provoked fans of Crabtree as he could have received the ball if he wasn’t entangled with Smith. Some said that the referees of the defensive holding were brutal and that Crabtree was robbed of his ultimate chance.

Super Bowl LI: Patriots Get Away with a Face Mask Violation 

In every crucial moment of a game, referees must keep the surveillance tight, without missing any violation or rule deviation.

In the fourth quarter of the game between the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots, Josh Allen, one of the Bills quarterbacks, ran the ball and picked up a first down at the 28-yard line.

That segment of the game was quick, and a mask violation was missed by the referees of the game. The Bills could have gained 15 yards if the violation was called out.

Super Bowl XL: Matt Hasselbeck’s “Block Below the Waist”

In the fourth quarter of Steelers versus Seahawks, Matt Hasselbeck was charged with holding after going low on a tackle. 

In an unmistakable angle of the play, Hasselbeck was aiming to tackle a Taylor who was a runner rather than committing an illegal low block. 

The referee’s eyes were conceivably clouded because he had pursued a bad call. Many are enraged about the call and tweeted their dissatisfaction.  


Even greatly founded and regulated games such as the Super Bowl have these misjudgments on games. This is probably how fans are engrossed in such a sport, perhaps because humans are fascinated with controversies. 

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