The Pittsburgh Steelers are no strangers to controversial goal-line touchdown calls which go in their favor. There was the Ben Roethlisberger(notes) quarterback sneak in Super Bowl XL, Santonio Holmes'(notes) odd TD catch in 2008 (which was originally a non-touchdown and was overturned on review), and the fumble/no-fumble call against the Miami Dolphins just last week. There was another near-instance in the "Sunday Night Football" game between the Steelers and the New Orleans Saints.
With 11:43 left in the first half, Roethlisberger threw to Antwaan Randle El(notes), who was stopped just short of the end zone. This was obvious on any sort of replay, but the original ruling was a touchdown -- go figure. Saints head coach Sean Payton challenged the call, and referee Pete Morelli reversed the original ruling, but not in the way the NFL intended:
Weird. Steelers fans will remember Morelli as the guy who overturned the Troy Polamalu(notes) interception in the 2005 AFC divisional round against the Indianapolis Colts, a ruling the NFL later admitted was incorrect. I know of no precedent for a replay ruling overturning a call that the replay official actually gets wrong on review, so it will be interesting to see what, if anything, Morelli hears about the nature of the ruling.
At the time of the overturned score, the game was locked in a 0-0 tie, and the Saints stopped Pittsburgh on the subsequent goal-line stand. Pittsburgh kicked a field goal, but New Orleans won the game, 20-10 as Sean Payton's offense finally got on track after a long layoff.
- Pete Morelli