As mentioned during our Live Blog of Monday night’s game between Baltimore and Pittsburgh, there was a little problem with the coin flip to begin the overtime session.
The coin wasn’t flipped.  Instead, it looked like referee Gene Steratore tossed the thing like pizza dough (it’s OK, I’m Italian . . . and I’ve converted to Judaism), and it rotated not once in the air. 
It’s unclear whether the coin flopped around when it hit the ground — or whether it landed like that punt from last year’s Dolphins-Steelers game. 
The Ravens won the toss, which in a game between two teams long on defense and short on offense was the kiss of death.  ESPN’s Ron Jaworski suggested the possibility of opting to kick, but was shouted down by memories of Marty Mornhinweg.  Though some might think that Ravens coach John Harbaugh’s short tenure on the job would have been ruined if the Steelers had driven down the field and won the game without Baltimore getting a crack at it, we believe that Harbaugh might have permanently won over linebacker Ray Lewis — and thus the locker room — by showing such confidence in the defense.
Harbaugh also might have won the game.
With all that said, we’re not suggesting that Steratore intentionally tried to rig the coin flip.  We’re just saying that the coin didn’t flip, which arguably makes it the most unusual midfield incident since Phil Luckett misinterpreted Jerome Bettis’ call at the outset of overtime in the 1998 Thanksgiving Day game between Pittsburgh and Detroit.


  1. It is just me, or you you think “Skeletore” every time you hear them mention the ref named “Steratore ” ?

  2. “(it’s OK, I’m Italian . . . and I’ve converted to Judaism)”
    I am hope you didn’t convert just for the jokes.
    Yeah, vague Seinfeld reference. What do you expect, it is early in the morning.

  3. What is it with Pittsburgh and coin flip. Throw the ball in the air and call laces or faces. Nothing will be messed up there……..nevermind.

  4. frustrating game as a Ravens fan. 3 rookie mistakes cost us the game. Flacco’s fumble, Nakamura’s penalty in OT and Harbaugh not throwing the red flag on Mason’s catch in the end zone, which was a TD.
    The Steelers are so banged up, with their schedule, 9-7 wins this division. We’ll see them in baltimore in december……

  5. Yes means no and No means yes. Heads means tales and tales is heads. It’s really not that difficult. That Phill Luckett call was terrible. How do you miss something so obvious?

  6. Florio – It would be a great idea for you to add another tab “Officials Rumors” for anything related to the officials.

  7. I was wondering about that…the only rational conclusion I heard was the coin turned over one half revolution on its way to the ground.
    If it’s going to be this hard to simply flip a coin, why doesn’t the ref just hold a 1 or a 2 behind his back, and have just one visiting captain guess it? Seriously, it was a good game between two good teams, and even though my team won, it leaves a sour taste in my mouth to know an otherwise well-officiated game could have been spoiled.

  8. And now, presented for your entertainment, we give you the HILARIOUS pre-game comments of Ravens fans — yes, you’ll hear from all the rocket scientists, including PARavensJeffie, and everyone’s favorite whiner, Dorkof52. Enjoy!
    bel-bo says:
    September 27th, 2008 at 3:15 pm
    The ravens are gonna wipe that smug smile off of Hines face. Better have the ice tubs filled in the training room Monday night for Ben and the O-line.
    PARavensJeff says:
    September 27th, 2008 at 3:31 pm
    Mr Magoo really is blind, with all the wonderful things he has to say about the Stillers.
    bel-bo says:
    September 27th, 2008 at 9:53 pm
    The ravens rarely if ever get humiliated like last year’s monday night game when they’re relatively healthy as they currently are. Brian Billick and his vanilla playbook are gone. So is Kyle Boller and his happy feet. And Mike “the sieve” Flynn at center. The ravens have held the ball for 13 minutes in the 4th quarter in both of their games this year. They’re playing a much more physical O and their D is as nasty as ever. The Browns D-line were standing around demoralized dreading the final 5-6 minutes of the game last week because they knew they were going to get punched in the mouth in a losing effort. The O-line are pushing guys 7-8 yards down the field on every play. It’s a beautiful thing to watch. Cam Cameron has been utilizing an unbalanced line with two 360lb OTs next to each other and a jumbo backfield of Lorenzo Neal (250lbs) and Le’ron McCLain (260lbs). So you essentially have over 1200lbs of flesh pounding you into submission.
    B1ACK A1 says:
    September 27th, 2008 at 10:01 pm
    How quickly everyone forgets the all time a$$ beatings the steelers took in 2006.
    Volkof52 says:
    September 28th, 2008 at 1:06 am
    Well B1ack A1, because Stealer fans had their pride shot down so hard they try to pretend like beating some worthless #4 & #5 cornerbacks one time, and beating the Ravens once in the past 5 games is something to be proud of.
    Well, the playing field is even now with both teams missing the same number of starters, probably the same level of players as well. Let’s see what happens.
    Yes, what new excuses WILL Ravens fans invent for this year’s Monday Night loss to the Lords of the division, the Pittsburgh Steelers? Tune and find out! Same Rat time, Same Rat station.

  9. Or maybe Ray Lewis would have thought it was totally retarded. And what would it say for confidence in the offense?

  10. funny thing, there are still Stiller fans that think they got hosed on that call despite bettis, the NFl and everyone else stating it was correct.

  11. I’ve already posted this comment one time previously this season. This will be my last time.
    The only reason I’m posting it again is because Mikey seems to be in the dark (“which arguably makes it the most unusual midfield incident since Phil Luckett misinterpreted Jerome Bettis’ call”) along with the real media about the truth on this incident.
    Bear with me. It’s been so long ago that a few of the immaterial details are a little vague. (Sue me if I got the PG/Trib reference or “Heads’/”Tails” stuff wrong.)
    Shortly after the game, the Stillers Nation needed to know the truth about Luckett’s alleged gaffe. I think it was the Post Gazette or the Tribune-Review that sent the audio of the coin toss off to an audio lab.
    The lab results were conclusive.
    Bettis called one thing, “Heads” let’s say, then very quickly called the other, “Tails” let’s say. America only heard Bettis say “Tails.”
    Luckett heard Bettis say both “Heads” then “Tails” and correctly gave him “Heads” as his call. The coin came up “Tails.” Detroit elected to receive and marched down the field for the winning score.
    Luckett has been forever blamed and ridiculed for a gaffe that he did not commit.
    This story is one of hundreds of these types of stories that the real media and now Mikey irresponsibly carry forward in the American sports fan’s consciousness as truth when they are in fact myth.
    I’ve always felt comfort in my Stillers losing fair and square. I’ve always felt bad for Luckett for getting screwed by the real media and now Mikey over and over again.
    Such is life in an ESPN world.

  12. I caught that first time you posted if florio4prez, and good on ya for repeating it. Truth may not be popular, the truth may not sell, but it’s still the truth.
    Why did Luckett rule the toss differently when virtually everyone in the nation heard “tails?”
    “(Bettis) called ‘heads-tails.’ He first called ‘heads,’” explained Luckett matter-of-factly.
    “I did not say ‘heads-tails,’” Bettis ranted after the game. “That is a lie. That’s a bold-faced lie.”
    In the days after the incident, Pittsburgh TV station KDKA reported that they enhanced the audio on the game tape. The result: Two different calls were heard. Referee also carefully examined a videotape and discovered other items that conflict with Bettis’ account.
    After the argument in the middle of the field, Luckett jogged over to Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher to explain his ruling. Though Luckett’s field microphone was off, TV microphones picked up the conversation. Luckett explained to Cowher that while the toss was in the air, Bettis changed his call. Said Luckett, “He said heads-tails. I’m going with heads because that’s what he called first.”
    ___In the Official NFL Playing Rules, rule 5-3 states, “A captain’s first choice from any alternative privileges which may be offered his team, before or during the game, is final and not subject to change.”
    ___The tape also shows that while Luckett was explaining things to Cowher, an off-camera voice said, “He changed it in the air. It never hit the ground.” The camera then panned back enough to see Bettis say to Cowher, “It hadn’t even hit the ground.” Cowher then looked to Bettis, who clearly says, “I said ‘hea-tails.’ I said, ‘hea ….’ I said, ‘hea ….’”

  13. Hey Florio what gives? This was a perfect opportunity to slip in a Seinfeld reference like “at least it didn’t hit the table, everyone knows that’s interference…” or some such thing.

  14. Hi Frank, get a job, you spend too much time collecting what everyone says. Do they have jobs in Pissburgh? I hear that’s why there are so many of yinz living outside western PA. Why don’t you go manage the MASH unit that the Stillers are. You may have won the game, but the Ravens beat the crap out of your team & helped soften you up for the rest of the league. & don’t forget to check your locks on your house, make sure your windows are locked, & check your closets. You don’t want Dookie leaving you a surprise now that he is back in town. The Ravens are for real, deal with it. See you in December.

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