Publish Date: 02/15/2022
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster
The Bengals lost super Bowl LVI and I’m simply pissed. Like any good fan, directly following the game I took to social media to air my grievances to anyone who wanted to listen. My main point being the NFL must do better with their officiating. Here I sit one day removed from the Bengals Super Bowl loss and I stand by that statement. I believe in the world of sports, especially in football the officials set the tone of the game early as to how the game is going to be called, and certainly Super Bowl LVI was no different. For 58 minutes of the game, we watched as the officials turned a blind eye to countless penalties on both sides of the ball for both teams, and to be honest I was ok with that. In my opinion the less influence any official has over the game the better. I’m mean heck former Bengal and Rams offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth could have been called with illegal hands to the face on the first play of the game. There were so many non-calls the first three-quarters of the game I stopped counting them at 16 when I rewatched it, and that was for both teams combined. Did Higgins grab Ramsey’s facemask on the opening play of the second half? Yes, he most certainly did, and that was another non-call. Did Ramsey commit pass interference before the facemask? Yes, I believe so, Ramsey also absolutely in my opinion interfered with Higgins all night and got away with several defensive holding calls. As an official, you cannot turn a blind eye the entire game on questionable calls and then start enforcing them when the game is on the line. I believe the officials handed the Rams their final go-ahead score. A defensive hold was called on Logan Wilson on third down with 1:44 left to go in the game giving the Rams a fresh set of downs and an eventual free score! Wilson’s hold was questionable by NFL standards at best and nowhere near as blatant as Ramsey’s hold on Higgins in the first quarter keeping the Bengals out of the endzone. Not to mention on the same play the “phantom” defensive hold was called, the Rams right offensive tackle should have been flagged for a false start as he was a full step into his pass blocking when the ball was snapped.
However, looking at the game objectively the question is, did officiating cost the Bengals Super Bowl LVI, and the answer is NO. I believe the officials handed the final go-ahead score to the Rams, but the Bengals had multiple opportunities prior to that point to secure the game, and anyone who has ever coached has told their players at one time or another “DON’T LEAVE THE GAME IN THE HANDS OF THE REFS”!
I’m not an NFL coach, nor will I claim I’m qualified to be, but several play calls during the game just left me scratching my head. Why is Samaje Perine not Pro Bowler Joe Mixon being handed the ball on 3rd and 1? Why were the Bengals going empty backfield on 4th and 1? Why are the Bengals going for a fourth-down conversion at the start of the game from their own 48-yard line? Those are just a few of the questions I have that I can’t seem to find answers to.
Putting everything aside, the Bengals didn’t lose Super Bowl LVI because of bad officiating, they didn’t lose because of questionable play calling. Simply put they lost because the Bengals offensive line did what they have done all season and let Joe Burrow get destroyed the entire game. Not taking anything away from Aaron Donald he is the best in the NFL, but he is not as good as the Bengals let him look the second half. During the divisional round of the playoffs, the Bengals squeaked by the Titans allowing Burrow to be sacked 9 times. You simply cannot allow your quarterback to be sacked 7 times in a Super Bowl and expect to have any chance of winning the game period!
Moving forward this offseason the Bengals have some work to do, as several key defensive players are up for free agency. My hope is they keep the core of this defense in Cincinnati; however, the front office must find a way to get five guys on that offensive line that are going to do their jobs. Cincinnati right now has a chance to be in perennial contention for the foreseeable future. Joe Burrow appears to be a once in a generation type player, and none of us can see into the future, but if this young man doesn’t get some protection, he might “Andrew Luck” the Bengals and disappear sooner than later.