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Steve Smith calls ref “a 70-year-old man gimping down the field”

Steve Smith, Cedric Griffin AP

Panthers receiver Steve Smith picked up a costly holding penalty in the final moments of Sunday’s loss to the Vikings, negating a Cam Newton run that gave the Panthers first-and-goal and pushing the Panthers back just before their missed field goal at the end of the game.

As you’d imagine, Smith wasn’t happy with the official who called the hold.

“If the ref says it’s holding, I can sit here and say this and that. But at the end of the day he’s the guy with the flag and he calls it,” Smith said, via the Charlotte Observer. “I got a few texts already saying in the HD it didn’t look too bad. But for a 70-year-old man gimping down the field, I guess that’s what he saw.”

Smith and the people texting him might not like it, but I watched it in HD, too, and I think it was the right call: Smith wrapped his arm around Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway as Greenway was pursuing Newton, and he deserved to get flagged.

Now we’ll wait and see if Smith also gets fined for his comments about the officiating.

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72 Responses to “Steve Smith calls ref “a 70-year-old man gimping down the field””
  1. trbowman says: Oct 31, 2011 6:12 PM

    Let’s be honest about Steve Smith….he’s kind of a, well……

  2. apooster says: Oct 31, 2011 6:13 PM

    Steve Smith is talented. Nevertheless he is arrogant, hot-headed and whines like a little girl.

  3. beastson says: Oct 31, 2011 6:14 PM

    When you lead the league in receiving yards, you can say whatever you want.

    And let’s face it, he is right about those refs.

  4. eaglesandravens says: Oct 31, 2011 6:16 PM

    that….is…..hilarious haha

  5. seneca1ss says: Oct 31, 2011 6:17 PM

    the NFL Referee “Good ol Boy” system has got to go

  6. canadianvikingfaniii says: Oct 31, 2011 6:17 PM

    Even Deion Sanders said it was a good call and he loves Steve Smith and is always first to say if a call is bad or not. It was a good call and a good hard fought game, time to get over it. Besides it is not as if the Panthers didn’t get phantom calls. ie. Cedric Griffin’s facemask on a receiver when he grabbed the shoulder pad.

  7. sallysnax says: Oct 31, 2011 6:17 PM

    there’s the old steve smith we’ve grown to love

  8. mikeheruki says: Oct 31, 2011 6:22 PM

    I’d still take him here in Chicago.

  9. myspaceyourface says: Oct 31, 2011 6:23 PM

    I have been saying for years the officials should be within 10 years of the oldest player on the field.

    They just can’t keep up

  10. sphincterorleaveher says: Oct 31, 2011 6:25 PM

    I can see where you would think Greenway was a linebacker for the Panthers during that game, not his best outing, but he actually does play for the Vikings.

    …and sorry Smith, you held. Get over it.

  11. jpb12 says: Oct 31, 2011 6:26 PM

    Ref’s probably 63… that’s within the range of possibility.

    AARP will probably start a letter writing campaign.

    No tweets

  12. philyeagles5 says: Oct 31, 2011 6:30 PM

    not agreeing with how he said it, but why are refs so damn old?

  13. screamingsheep69 says: Oct 31, 2011 6:35 PM

    He held earlier in the play further away from the ball. The shot they replayed was later in the play, and he didn’t hold there.
    Watch the replay of the td run in the third quarter by AP from the endzone angle if you want to see a hold. Guy was wrapped all around James Anderson, looked like he was hugging him.

  14. bradwins says: Oct 31, 2011 6:39 PM

    I support Steve Smith here. The League’s ban on criticism of the officials is infuriating and embarrassing.

    I think fans should start a fund to pay the fines assessed against players and coaches for criticizing officials. It would only cost fans pennies apiece to fund it for the entire season, and then players could speak freely about the officials.

    Thank you, Steve Smith, for saying what all of think every Sunday.

  15. delhommed says: Oct 31, 2011 6:40 PM

    Best part about the play in reference, is how Steve peeled off the “alleged” hold and pancaked someone else. He is one of the best blockers in football.

  16. iambadkid says: Oct 31, 2011 6:40 PM

    of course they didnt call a hold remember minnesota is the visiting team, the officials always favor the visitors all the time they will never call anything against the visitors but they will call against the teams thats playing at their own turf

  17. tombradyallday says: Oct 31, 2011 6:41 PM

    just glad to see steve smith BACK. playing at a high level again. they prolly wont make the playoffs this year but hell def be in hawaii

  18. linvillegorge says: Oct 31, 2011 6:42 PM

    It wasn’t half as bad as the massive hold that wasn’t called right in the middle of the field on the Vikings’ previous score. And unlike the one called on Smith, that one actually was near te ball and had an impact on the play.

  19. bradwins says: Oct 31, 2011 6:42 PM

    Also: my comment has nothing to do with whether Smith held or not. He probably did, but that is besides the point. The point is, he should be able to say whatever he wants about the ref, and if he is wrong then he looks like an idiot. If he’s right, good for him. Either way, he shouldn’t be fined.

    And his larger point actually is correct: a lot of these refs are so old they should have their drivers licenses revoked. Once you lose control of your bowels they shouldn’t allow you to continue to officiate NFL games.

  20. christopher525 says: Oct 31, 2011 6:42 PM

    While he could be right or wrong on this, if we had a REAL kicker and not a retread who’s best year was about a decade ago, and who has been mediocre at best since, we could have at LEAST gone to OT. That makes 2 games that having Kasay still instead of this joke, we may have won.

  21. oarfan5 says: Oct 31, 2011 6:43 PM

    “70-year old gimpy NFL official” would actually be a great Halloween costume.

  22. gb4mn0 says: Oct 31, 2011 6:44 PM

    It’s all a vast conspiracy by the league to help the queens win a few games so the MN legislature will vote for funding the new stadium for the lavender larry’s.

  23. qtownchawk says: Oct 31, 2011 6:44 PM

    whether it was a hold or not, i have to agree there has.been a lot of questionable calls from the refs this season. critical, game-changing ones too. I think coaches should be able to challange calls or have calls reviewed. refs need to let these guys play football. it seems like every other play you got laundry flying all over the field.

  24. redbullenergydrink says: Oct 31, 2011 6:47 PM

    With all the punishment Steve is taking right now, he’d be lucky if he could run like that ref when he’s 70.

  25. nelspetersen says: Oct 31, 2011 6:51 PM

    I love the Vikings and I think Steve Smith is a badass player, but that was holding and although it was his fault for getting the kicker onto the field it very well should have still been a game that went into OT. Don’t bitch Steve, there was holding on your part, but it didn’t cost you the game.

  26. makeshersquirt says: Oct 31, 2011 6:52 PM

    I actually was just thinking how old the college refs were looking this past weekend…and as a whole, NFL refs make them look like teenagers.

  27. fcs34 says: Oct 31, 2011 6:52 PM

    They are both right. It was holding and the refs are too damn old.

  28. clbrett06 says: Oct 31, 2011 6:55 PM

    Coming from the guy who talked trash about the Eagles and then signed with them the following week.

  29. test2402 says: Oct 31, 2011 6:58 PM

    Rable Rable Rable.

  30. aljack88 says: Oct 31, 2011 7:01 PM

    mikeheruki says:
    Oct 31, 2011 6:22 PM
    I’d still take him here in Chicago.

    We’ll take him here in New England, too.
    Can he play DB? (not that it matters)

  31. Canyonero says: Oct 31, 2011 7:02 PM

    No respect for one’s elders tsk tsk

  32. ownbay says: Oct 31, 2011 7:20 PM

    It was a hold but holding can be called on every play if they want to.

  33. icyhuck says: Oct 31, 2011 7:20 PM

    I thought smith was funny, I would like to add that I hate ESPN reporters ,can’t stand Mel hoge its just to many steeler riders at that network but I love NBC & PRO TALK for its unbiased nature.That’s the reason I don’t watch NFL Live Smh

  34. vikingsinla says: Oct 31, 2011 7:22 PM

    Funny, the photo used for this article shows a blatant offensive facemask by Smith that wasn’t called, yet I don’t see any article quoting the Vikings crying about it.

    Bad calls happen, cry about it or make a play, such as hitting a chip-shot field goal at the end of regulation.

  35. goawayeverybody says: Oct 31, 2011 7:25 PM

    While I disagree with Steve Smith, I do think some of these refs are either senile or insane. How about that blown call against the Eagles yesterday, after which Andy Reid had to waste a whole challenge to correct? Why is it the officials can make whatever mistakes they want to and there are no repercussions whatsoever? Some of these clowns should be canned.

  36. uberniner says: Oct 31, 2011 7:34 PM

    There should be review on game-changing events, especially at the end of the half or the game.

    The refs need to get better, practice more, get more feedback from post-game reviews, and the ones that don’t get better quick need to be replaced.

  37. test2402 says: Oct 31, 2011 7:35 PM

    Stevie is pretty fly for a white guy.

  38. earthtopft says: Oct 31, 2011 7:40 PM

    Turns out that the official gimping down the field was in fact only 63 years old.

  39. tommytd says: Oct 31, 2011 7:50 PM

    The old adage still holds. If you’re going to let a Zebra’s call at the end of a game determine your fate, you missed the bus during the rest of the contest. It should never come down to that ’cause the Zebras giveth and the Zebras taketh away. They can call holding WHENEVER they feel like it!

  40. melikefootball says: Oct 31, 2011 7:51 PM

    Fine, Fine,Fine,, Smith as usual is a great receiver but as in the past a angry management student who did not go to class. He held, it was easly shown and Smith showed his back side at the moment and with his words.

  41. truthserum4u says: Oct 31, 2011 8:06 PM

    @ myspaceyourface

    Keep up? This wasn’t a downfield play. The ref was standing right there and Smith grabbed him in the open field.

    @ screamingsheep69 says:
    Oct 31, 2011 6:39 PM

    Smith held Greenway as he tried to pull away and get to get to the edge to pursue Newton. It was neither early nor away from the ball.

    @ linvillegorge

    It did have an impact on the play; it prevented Greenway from getting to the sideline to cut Newton off. The ref has no way of knowing if Greenway would get there on time or not (he wasn’t that far from that sideline). He has no idea if Newton would get slowed down or not allowing Greenway to make a tackle. Greenway was on that side of the field.

  42. hook66 says: Oct 31, 2011 8:06 PM

    If he is referring to Ed Hocules he is in better shape than most of us who have time to sit here and post on the most brief and superficial articles ever written. Refs are part time and professionals n real life good luck getting a 30 year old lawyer with kids for little pay!

  43. hrpufnstuf says: Oct 31, 2011 8:09 PM

    Hey Steve, a mugging is a mugging, no matter what the age of the ref.

    Nothing wrong with being aggressive, but play by the rules, if you don’t want to get flagged. “Wasn’t that bad?” Sounds like an admission of guilt to me.

  44. theytukrjobs says: Oct 31, 2011 8:12 PM

    He wrapped his arm around a pursuing defender and the ref happened to see it. At that point the ref is supposed to throw the flag, even if it is the Vikings on defense and Steve Smith doing the holding.

  45. unck420 says: Oct 31, 2011 8:16 PM

    I believe it was Hochuli he was calling a 70yr old man – would YOU want to mess with Hochuli?! …I fold!

  46. thejuddstir says: Oct 31, 2011 8:20 PM

    Sorry Steve….they showed the replay on Sports Center and everyone unanimously agreed that you held the linebacker……grow up and quit trying to blame your failures on others.

  47. thespeaker08 says: Oct 31, 2011 8:27 PM


    It was holding. He was wrong.

    He is still the best 32 year old receiver in the game.

  48. bahzeal says: Oct 31, 2011 8:43 PM

    “seneca1ss says: Oct 31, 2011 6:17 PM

    the NFL Referee “Good ol Boy” system has got to go”

    i could not agree more

  49. panthersfan83 says: Oct 31, 2011 8:52 PM

    The call could have gone either way. It really didn’t have any impact on the play cause Cam was around the tackle by then. But that game was full of terrible calls Shockey got an offensive pass interference call that was terrible the guy just slipped. Captain got a BS pass interference call. L.A. got called for holding and it was a great block. Holding could get called on every play but it just seems to get called on us. NFL is getting soft. I’m beginning to think it’s the NBA with all the flopping. The refs just see somebody on the ground and throw a flag but most of the time it’s just the DB’s and WR’s slipping and falling down. If you miss a call I could understand that but don’t throw the flag on I thought I saw cause that is just unacceptable.

  50. thousandcasts says: Oct 31, 2011 8:58 PM

    Even if it was holding, there’s still been a lot of bad calls this year…and it seems it gets worse every year.

    Thank Goodell and that joke they call a “competition committee.” The refs are probably just as confused as the players are.

  51. raqaiw says: Oct 31, 2011 9:12 PM

    The problem everyone is overlooking is that the zebras can call holding on EVERY play. So if they DON’T call it on every play there’s clearly some bias to them choosing when to call it and when not to. Not a fan of either team,and definitely not a fan of refs. The league uses refs to swing the outcome of games for Vegas all the time,which is why you get penalized for speaking out about them. Anyone remember the disallowed TD on Polamalu from a few years back so that the Steelers didn’t cover the spread? How much money was made that day on that call? Or what about when the Dolphins recovered a fumble from Roethelisberger near the goal line but the refs just gave the ball back to the Steelers. That kept the Dolphins from winning,it’dve been a huge upset i.e. loss of money for Vegas. That’s just 2 examples,one for and against the Steelers. The league does this all the time. See “Tuck Rule” if you need further proof. The Raiders were big favorites in that game.

  52. wicky888 says: Oct 31, 2011 9:14 PM

    Theres holding on every play, grow the F up and deal with it

  53. gobills716 says: Oct 31, 2011 9:27 PM

    Steve Smith is a punk. I’m sure the people who were texting him were completely unbiased observers of the play. I’ll never forget a few years ago at a Bills game I yelled “Drop some more balls butter fingers” as the Panthers came out for the pre-game warmup. He completely snapped. It took about 3 teammates to pull him back. I wish he would have come into the crowd after me, I would be a rich man right now.

  54. earthtopft says: Oct 31, 2011 9:31 PM

    It’s turning into jerk city in Charlotte. From the owner on down.

  55. jbcommonsense says: Oct 31, 2011 9:44 PM

    Smith is another top talent on my fantasy team.

  56. Deb says: Oct 31, 2011 9:44 PM

    philyeagles5 says:

    not agreeing with how he said it, but why are refs so damn old?

    It takes that many years to read the NFL’s rulebook … assuming they read it.

  57. qoojo says: Oct 31, 2011 9:48 PM

    Looked like a hold to me and a really stupid play by Smith. The idiot never had good position, then made things worse.

  58. jeffcor7 says: Oct 31, 2011 9:55 PM

    Come on, on a play that holds the fate of the game in its hands, you can’t call holding on that play. Technically, holding like that goes on every single play at the line of scrimmage. Also, there is clearly some imaginary point at which officials say enough is enough and decide to pull out the yellow hanky. In other words, it is a judgement call. That official was wrong to throw the flag in that instance and would probably pick it back up if he had the chance. Let the players decide the game, not the zebras.
    And, if he was obstructed on the play, how is it that Steve Smith was able to make it to the sideline and throw a bone crushing block?

  59. pilot2011 says: Oct 31, 2011 10:12 PM

    THE best receiver in the league… and that photo is just another day for 89. I’ve never seen so many defensive backs thrown to the ground by a 5’9 wide out. that dude is bad

  60. pack13queens0 says: Oct 31, 2011 10:15 PM

    Steve Smith was right. Holding penalty that should never have been called & it helps give the Queens a win. What’s with officials the last few weeks in the NFL & College Football? Their performances have been unacceptable.

  61. jtm12180 says: Oct 31, 2011 10:34 PM

    im a steelers fan, but living in SC, it was fun watching the panthers go to the super bowl in 03-04. I met smith about a month after their super bowl loss at an autograph session. i congratulated him on a great season as he was signing my picture, and had an attitude like he could care less about me being there or anything i was saying to him. i pushed the picture back and said “if thats how you treat fans, keep the damn picture,” and walked away…

    Guy is a Grade-A gasbag

  62. deconjonesbitchslap says: Oct 31, 2011 10:45 PM


    typical packer fan. explain, please, why you don’t think it was holding. was it the part where steve smith held and dragged greenway? was it when he grabbed greenway and pulled him? please. explain why it wasn’t a holding call when every single person except steve smith and you believe it was indeed an obvious holding call.

  63. doug2626 says: Oct 31, 2011 10:52 PM

    If it was a hold it was a weak call at best. For anyone that was saying he needs to let it go or whatever Steve Smith said that directly after the game.

  64. lostsok says: Oct 31, 2011 11:08 PM

    Regardless of whether Smith is right or wrong you cannot publicly denigrate the officials. Period. If this is allowed it will NEVER matter if they are right or wrong, every player will call them names every week in an attempt to deflect “blame” for when things go wrong.

    Smith should be fined $10,000 to $20,000 to make this point crystal clear.

    I typically don’t like Goodell and his heavy-handed punishments, but this one should be painful, so all players think twice before opening their cake hole to blame their mistakes on the officials.

  65. bedmanokc says: Oct 31, 2011 11:27 PM

    yes …. he most definitely……. is A ……….

  66. vikesfansteve says: Nov 1, 2011 12:36 AM

    The refs also missed holding on Robison on the 44 yd completion.

  67. thespeaker08 says: Nov 1, 2011 12:38 AM


    And a half-faced one.

  68. anhdazman says: Nov 1, 2011 1:46 AM

    oarfan5 says:
    Oct 31, 2011 6:43 PM
    “70-year old gimpy NFL official” would actually be a great Halloween costume.

    That was pretty funny.

    Maybe Steve Smith shouldn’t have been blocking like a 70 year old man. Stick your head in there and take the LB out!

  69. asublimeday says: Nov 1, 2011 2:24 AM

    Ah, steve. Good to see that even with a career resurgence, you still won’t keep your obnoxious mouth shut.

  70. gimmeabruschi says: Nov 1, 2011 3:10 AM

    Somebody tell Steve Smith there’s no crying in football.

  71. nflofficeadmin says: Nov 1, 2011 7:58 AM

    Nothing to see here. Can’t say he said anything wrong.

  72. CKL says: Nov 1, 2011 11:54 AM

    I don’t think either players or coaches should be fined for complaining about officiating. Just let ’em complain and we know what type of excuse makers they are. Fine by me.

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