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In review: Replay Challenges from Stillers-Vikes

December 04, 2001 by Still Mill


After further review: Replay Challenges from Stiller-Vikes Game

Since there seems to be quite a bit of consternation and confusion amongst Steeler fans over the two plays that were challenged for instant-replay reviews, I felt it worth the effort to do the requisite research. In an exclusive that you'll find nowhere else but, here are snapshots of those plays, in order to eliminate any myths or fallacies about whether or not the Stillers "got screwed by the refs".

The first challenge involved Stewart's near TD run in the 2Q, which was ruled down just inside the 1. As you can see in photo 1 below, Stewart is trying to stretch to the goal line. In photo 2, his knee is nearly down, and the ball is nowhere near the end zone.


In photo 3 below, his knee is down, and the ball is well short of the goal line. No TD. Even in photo 4, the ball has not yet crossed the plane. End of debate.


The 2nd challenge involved Bennett's 80-yard TD jaunt, in which he tightroped the sideline and came awfully close to stepping out. The Stillers, of course, claimed that Benny's right foot was OOB around the 46-yard line. As you can see in photo 1, Bennett's right foot is nearly coming down to the ground. In photo 2, his foot has landed, and you can clearly see green grass between his white shoe and the white sideline.


By photo 3, Bennett is fully pushing off with the right foot, and still, there's green between his shoe and the sideline. Again, the refs made the right call.

Bottom line: Both plays were ruled correctly on-the-field, as well as by the instant replay judges. If Steeler fans want to grouse about the reffing on these plays, the actual mistakes were:

  • Stewart's run: Even after the replays were reviewed, the ball was placed just inches inside the 1-yard line. At worst, the ball should have been spotted at about the 12-inch line.
  • Bennett's TD scamper: as shown in my postgame report yesterday, Earl Holmes was flagrantly tripped from behind by guard Cory Withrow, who dove with arms extended like an Olympic diver, in plain view of the ref, and grabbed Holmes' leg as he was moving up to stop Bennett.


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