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Head ref tells ‘SNF’ crew it was helmet hit, but, please, there is no Steeler conspiracy



Week 13: Steelers at Ravens

A third quarter hit on Steelers receiver Heath Miller by Ravens linebacker Jameel McClain sounded pretty bad (video and audio), and the Steelers’ faithful were waiting for the penalty. There was none.

Overruled by the main office. This was according to Sports Illustrated/Sunday Night Football reporter Peter King via Twitter. While it doesn’t change the call on the field, McClain could be short a pile of money this week. Al Michaels said during the game on NBC that the vice-president of officiating, Carl Johnson, made that statement.

What appears was called by the officials (without benefit of replay) was that since Miller was falling to the ground, Miller’s helmet came in the path of McClain’s. The replay also shows McClain putting his hands out, albeit weakly, which may have helped his case.

Still, it’s a defenseless receiver, and therefore a penalty. It is not the same as a runner who, under his own power, lowers his helmet and, for lack of a better word, “induces” the helmet-to-helmet contact.

Terry McAulay’s crew was officiating.

And, while most of the defense, the coach, and the owner complained this week that 120 officials have it in for one team, I am sure there will be a lot more discussion this week in the ‘Burgh.

Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)