The NFL announced, through Adam Schefter’s blog, that Steelers’ receiver Santonio Holmes was fined $10,000 for his end-zone celebration by using the ball as a prop. The celebration came on the game-winning touchdown of Super Bowl XLIII.
Vice-president of officiating Mike Pereira acknowledged on the NFL Network after the Super Bowl that the celebration should have been flagged, causing the Steelers to kick off from its 15 yard line on the ensuing kickoff. Pereira clearly pointed to the fact that field judge Greg Gautreaux watched the celebration at length until he had to set for the point-after-touchdown try.
Had the celebration been flagged, yes, it could’ve changed the complexion of the final Cardinals drive. Schefter says that the Cardinals could have used those 15 yards, and that future replays should show the fact that, in his estimation, the officials blew the call. Pretty assertive on a page with nfl.com in the URL.
However, this fails in two areas. First, the official watched the play for any unsportsmanlike conduct following the touchdown. He did have to shift his focus to the extra-point try, as the 40-second clock was already ticking. Gautreaux did exactly what he is supposed to do. Second, games are won on the field, not by the officials. Remember, the Steelers recovered from the safety-by-penalty and the Cardinals go-ahead touchdown by mounting their own game-winning drive. That is what the record should show.