Super Bowl XLIII: Penalty Overload

The Arizona Cardinals got a dose of the officials' medicine, but how much did penalties weigh into the 27-23 loss?

The Arizona Cardinals attempted to put their penalty prone performances to rest this season. In 2007, they led the league in penalties. In 2008, they bounced down the penalty list to fifth overall in the league.

In the biggest game in franchise history, the Cardinals couldn't keep their mistakes in check. Emotions were high from the word go. The proof was in the pudding.

The Cardinals were deducted 106 yards on 11 penalties.

It was the penalties that weren't called, which will haunt the Cardinals. James Harrison got awfully rowdy, as he almost came to blows with Anquan Boldin. Ejection from the game wouldn't have been uncalled for.

On the flip side, Tim Hightower helped separate Harrison, proving he can block.

The final straw was LaMarr Woodley's forced fumble on Kurt Warner that turned the ball over and ended the game in the Steelers' favor. It could be argued that Warner's arm was in forward motion. The play should have forced an automatic review.

The Cardinals did manage to dodge an official's bullet in the first quarter. Ben Roethlisberger leaped into the end zone but Ken Whisenhunt had seen that rodeo and challenged the touchdown successfully.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

The Cardinals didn't play with poise. On one drive, Arizona registered three personal fouls, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for a facemask violation, Karlos Dansby when he pushed Ben Roethlisberger and Adrian Wilson tagging one as well.

The Cardinals did get a whistle to their benefit when holding was called in the end zone for the safety.

Overall, Coach Ken Whisenhunt is just disappointed for a team that's worked so hard.

"It was unfortunate that many penalties were called," Whisenhunt said.

Warner has never been more proud of a team. To be so close is difficult, but Warner tips his hat to the Steelers. Ever the nice guy, he says they deserve to be the champions.

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