Of Slick Footballs and Significant Plays...

On Monday, Mike Holmgren talked about several important turning points in Seattle's 21-20 Wild Card playoff victory over the Cowboys. Here's what the coach had to say about the review of the Witten spot, his final timeout, the Terry Glenn fumble, and the sudden and ridiculous "slick-looking football" controversy.

(On how footballs are used during games…)

“They’ve changed it so much. The whole idea behind the kickers-ball bag, those had a K on them. They’re marked. Balls would go to whichever stadium and then teams would do it with the kicking-balls, would do all sorts of weird stuff with them. Put them in microwave ovens. Put them in dryers. Deflate them. Mess around with the kicking-balls. It was common knowledge it was bad. And so then on the competition committee said let’s clean that up. The kicking-balls it’s like they’re coming out of a Brink’s Truck. It’s the darndest thing you’ve ever seen and they’re guarded.

”So those are the kicking balls. Now the kickers complained, but statistically nothing changed too much. We evaluate that. At least we knew they weren’t going to be filled with helium. So that was that. The quarterbacks have always complained about film on the Wilson ball. When it comes right out of the bag if you were to order one right from the factory, it comes right out of the bag - and I was a quarterback and I agree with this - there was a feel to it that eventually goes off of it after you practice with it for three or four days or kick it. For the games they used to use brand new balls right out of the bag, the Super Bowl, and it would be kind of slick, to be honest. At least it had a slick feel after playing with certain balls.

So last year, or two years ago, they changed it so you could rub the balls down with cloth or a brush that they’d send. And you’d have your training or equipment guys, that’s what they’re doing before the game, they’re kind of getting this stuff off the balls. Then the balls get taken to the officials. They look at the balls and make sure that nothing’s wrong. They have to be inflated to 13 pounds. They do all that stuff. Then they go in the bag and those are the balls they play with. This year they changed it even more, that you can bring balls that you practice with. You can bring your own balls. The quarterbacks don’t have any problems with it anymore. But the kicking-balls are the kicking-balls and that’s the reason we did it with the kicking-balls.”

(On the review of the spot of the Jason Witten tackle at the two-yard line before final field goal attempt…)

“I’m thinking more, ‘How we’re going to do this last minute?’, because I’m kind of thinking they’re going to score and we’ve got to come back and score. So that’s kind of where my mind’s at. Then upstairs someone said ‘I don’t think he made it.’ And I didn’t know. I did not at that time do anything with the officials or anything to delay anything. I just said, ‘I hope they review it then’. I was at a different place with what I was thinking about.

”The guys upstairs saw it. They were talking a lot. And then when he stopped play, I said ‘are we going to win this?’ And they said, ‘yeah, we should, because it’s pretty clear on the film.’ And then it became fourth down instead of first down; huge play, my goodness, huge play. And then Dallas still had a decision, while I guess they didn’t have a decision to make, they had to kick it.”

(On calling the final timeout…)

“What happened there was I thought they should have added at least ten seconds to the clock. So that was what I was talking to the official about. I said, ‘We have to get ten more seconds’. I had one more timeout left. And then the referee after the replay, after he said what he said, because I’m still thinking they’re going to kick the field goal and we’re going to need the time and the field goal. And then he came up to me and said ‘I wind it now’. He goes, ‘When I put the ball in play I wind it.’ So Dallas could’ve just sat there.

”I had one timeout. They could’ve rolled it down to whatever, I think there was a minute and eighteen. They could’ve rolled it down to 40 seconds or 35 seconds. So I said ‘ok, I’ll take my timeout now’. That’s what I did, and then we were out of timeouts… I said, ‘How about our ten seconds?’. I remember saying, ‘How about our ten seconds?’. And they said ‘it’s been factored in. That time is right’. And I never argue with the officials.”

(On when issuing a challenge if anything that happened on that play is open for review…)

“You have to tell them what you want to look at. But the play stands on its own. So if all of a sudden I’m challenging something, but they see something that’s clearly wrong, they make the play right.”

(On whether the referees could’ve ruled Terry Glenn’s fumble an incomplete pass…)

“Sure, they could have. But it’s very unlikely that upstairs they’re going to overturn if that hasn’t even been challenged by the other team. The challenge you have to see a lot of evidence to overcome. They’re not going to overcome what’s been called on the field if that’s not even part of the original challenge, very unlikely. But if they’re looking at it and they go ‘hey, he didn’t even catch it.’ Yeah, they should do that. It’s my way of thinking they should do it. The whole idea behind a challenge is to get the play right. Sometimes it hurts us, sometimes it doesn’t.

"That’s the whole idea behind it. And as long as they get it right and you can see it, then I say ‘get it right’.”


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