jimmy smith2

Oh, so you’re telling me that the guy who’s been accused of holding on a play which could have resulted in a very different outcome for Super Bowl XLVII doesn’t think he held anyone or anything? Please, tell me more.

Yes, Jimmy Smith saying that he didn’t hold Michael Crabtree is about as surprising as everyone in the northeast today telling everyone who isn’t in the northeast that everyone in the northeast doesn’t enjoy snow. In other news, expected things are still expected.

But there’s a little more to it than that.

During a radio interview with ESPN 102.3 in Denver, Smith was inevitably asked about the play, and the non-call. From Sports Radio Interviews, here’s what he said:

“No. … If you look at the play closely, you see him kind of push off of my helmet immediately. So as a DB, what do you do? … If he’s pushing off you gotta make sure you got some type of grip so he doesn’t push off of you. If I never touch him at all and he catches the ball, then it’d be San Francisco winning and why didn’t Jimmy make that play? So I’m happy with the way it turned out.”

Then when he was asked if he feels guilty about making contact beyond the permitted five-yard threshold from the line of scrimmage, Smith added this:

“He ran directly into me. I had inside leverage. He ran into me. So once he did that and tried to push off … I had to make contact. That was on him. He didn’t run a fade; he didn’t get away. He could have just ran and pivoted out or faded away from the ball, but he didn’t. He ran into me so he could make contact to push off to create separation, and I didn’t let that happen.”

49ers fans, players, and janitors will carry the anger over this play to their eternal deathbeds. But Smith’s comments highlight a point that’s been made repeatedly all week: the contact was at worst mutual, and it can be argued that Crabtree initiated it.

Earlier in the interview Smith also noted Crabtree’s style of play, and how the officials had treated physicality throughout the game. He wasn’t condescending, and was instead making a clear observation based on experience. Crabtree is a big-bodied receiver who knows his bulky frame is a great asset combined with his speed, and he often uses that physical force gain to yards after the catch. Early in the game the officials made the decision to allow contact on the outside, and they remained consistent, allowing the battling to continue.

They let the game “play out that way,” Smith said, and he’s right, which makes the final call consistent with the other 59 minutes of play. Was there enough evidence of a hold to justify a penalty? Sure, it can easily be argued that by the finite description in a rule book, pass interference occurred.

But games aren’t officiated by rule books. They’re officiated by humans who interpret that rule book, and make quick, critical decisions in front of mass audiences.

There was no blatant foul here. Instead, there was a play with equal contact, and therefore a judgement play that required a judgement decision. The result was a decision that fell in line with every other decision.

Comments (6)

  1. Good Article. Also, I’m told if the receiver probably can’t make the catch–the refs will not call a foul. The ball was out of Crabtree’s reach when the alledged foul was made. So I say ” A good non call” Thanks for yor time

    • Look at that picture at the top of this article! Can’t make the catch and out of reach? Need glasses?Lets say Smith lets him go where the rule says to (at the paint) Crabtree makes the catch. Now not saying that San Fran wins just making the super bowl more intresting at the end, Flacco has to drive to win, and shake off his critics, as well as deserve the mvp instead of stealing it from Jones. There was bad calls and no calls on both teams but to descide the game this way is pathetic!

      • At wtf peter rhebergen…. Yes look at that pic on top tha article lol the ball is like 2 feet in front of him and his lead leg and foot is already at the white out of bounds come on now. And I’m a dolphin fan wit no invested interest!

        • Justin look at where the ball lands. In the white. A midget could reach that far and make the catch. If Smith didn’t grab Crabtree by the jersey it would have been an easy catch. Crabtree was being held for at least two or three strides and was not able to fight free and no matter what your vested interests are or are not that was clearly a hold on the deciding play of the game. Had the refs simply made the call the 49ers offence and the Ravens defence could have stayed out there and let their play decide the game but unfortunately the refs must not have seen Smith’s hand grabbing Crabtree and preventing him from making his fade out and that one missed call along with the power outage will be what this game is remembered for.

  2. By the way, its already been stated that this crew will likely never work a Super Bowl again and possibly not ever work in the playoffs again due to their poor officiating the entire game. Another example cited was the running into to the kicker which was a 5 yard penalty when it should have been roughing the kicker which would have carried a 15 yard penalty and put the 49ers in position for a TD Rather than the FG they ended up with. This is not my opinion (even though I agree) but the opinion of professionals.

  3. There were other rumors saying that Flacco wanted to cheat when Ted Ginn recieved the ball he wanted to purposely “trip him” which he tried. The Jacoby Jones play of tunning the 108 yrds towards the touchdown should’ve been called for there was a holding and you can vibily call it. Also when Carry Smith hit the ref and a niners player he should’ve been ejected b/c its happend to Justin Smith before. And then people say the niners cheated too by the “lights going out”, redo the superbowl 1:50 please….

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