Heading into the Super Bowl, one of the big questions was whether the officials would let Seattle’s physical secondary get away with pass interference. As it turned out, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was the one who thought the officials were allowing too much physical play, and Carroll had some strong words for the officials for not calling offensive pass interference on the Broncos.
On an incomplete deep pass along the sideline in the second half, Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas bumped Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, knocking him off. As shown on Inside the NFL, that led to Carroll chewing out the nearest official for failing to throw a flag for a penalty that, in Carroll’s opinion, cost the Seahawks an interception..
“You didn’t see it? He shoved the guy right on the ground,” Carroll told field judge Scott Steenson. “Sherman was gonna make that catch.”
Steenson replied that it was Sherman who caused the contact by slowing down in front of Thomas, but Carroll said Sherman was only slowing down to adjust to the ball in the air, and that Sherman would have caught it if Thomas hadn’t run into him.
“He slowed down to catch the football! He interferes with our chance to catch the football,” Carroll said.
Steenson again began to explain why he didn’t throw a flag, but Carroll was getting increasingly angry.
“What are you talking about? What do you mean he slowed down? He slowed down to catch the football,” Carroll said.
Steenson replied, “That’s not the way I saw it,” and Carroll (who seemed to understand that he wasn’t going to win the argument) said, “I can live with that.”
The game was such a blowout that most people didn’t pay much attention to the officiating one way or the other. But Carroll wanted to make sure the officials heard from him, even after the game was out of reach.