The Seattle Seahawks say they appreciate official Bill Leavy admitting he made two bad calls in their Super Bowl loss – and now they’re ready to move on.
Nine players remain from the team’s lone Super Bowl appearance in 2006, including quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. He was whistled for a low block on what appeared to be a legal tackle on an interception return in the fourth quarter of the loss to Pittsburgh.
The Steelers used the better field position from the penalty on Hasselbeck to score the clinching touchdown in Pittsburgh’s 21-10 victory.
”It’s a game. It’s not a perfect science,” Hasselbeck said Saturday, after Leavy again worked at the Seahawks’ training camp practice. ”There’s a lot of human involvement there. I’ve played some games that I remember because I feel I did a good job and I remember some other games where I have regrets. That goes for any sport, any player. I’m sure coaching is no different. And I’m sure officiating is the same way.”
Leavy and his crew have been at Seahawks camp the past several days as part of the NFL’s summer tour of officials informing teams of new rules and interpretations.
Leavy told Seattle-area media Friday night that he ”kicked two calls in the fourth quarter and I impacted the game.” He said he will ”go to my grave wishing I’d been better.”
He also spoke to Seahawks players at a team meeting Friday with a similar message.
”I had a word with him and told him I really appreciated it,” said defensive tackle Craig Terrill, a backup on that Super Bowl team. ”I certainly don’t have any hard feelings against him. There were plenty of things we did in that game that kept us from winning. He can’t take responsibility for the mistakes we made, but I appreciated it.”
Terrill said he has respect for Leavy, who became an NFL official in 1995.
”He’s a good guy and good referee,” Terrill said. ”You have to think about his spot. You know if he’s apologizing, he feels awful about it.
”Obviously it was something that was on his mind and on his heart. It was awesome of him as a person to come to Seattle and say that to us in an intimate place like a team meeting.”
Cornerback Marcus Trufant said it’s time for the Seahawks – and all of Seattle, for that matter – to put the game behind them.
”It’s tough,” Trufant said. ”Anytime you’re in the Super Bowl, that’s the highest of the high. When things go bad, they always tell you not to worry about the refs and stuff like that. Things do happen. Nobody’s perfect. It’s just one of those things.
”Everybody I think has moved on. I’ve tried to move on. That’s in the past. We’re going to keep playing and we’re trying to get back. That’s the goal.”
Leavy never worked another Seahawks game during the final three years of Mike Holmgren’s coaching tenure, but was assigned Seattle’s matchup last season at San Francisco, after Jim Mora had replaced Holmgren.
Hasselbeck said he spoke with Leavy during that game, but this week’s extended camp session has been much better in allowing things to be said and issues to be buried.
”It was probably a good thing that we talked,” Hasselbeck said. ”Because I think just like Seahawk fans, I myself had to get to the point where I could kind of get past everything. And he’s a great guy and actually a really, really good official.”
But will the quarterback ever truly get over that game?
”I’m still a little upset about losing my high school state championship game,” Hasselbeck said. ”There are just some games you’re never going to forget. Put it on the list.”
Notes: WR Isaiah Stanback tore his Achilles’ tendon during drills in Saturday afternoon’s practice, thus ending a hometown comeback bid this season by the former University of Washington quarterback. Stanback was waived/injured on Sunday. WR Mike Hass was re-signed in Stanback’s place. … LB Aaron Curry sat out of the team’s scrimmage at Husky Stadium on Sunday afternoon. He’s been sidelined eight straight days. … QB Matt Hasselbeck also sat the scrimmage portion of the practice after getting some early reps. Coach Pete Carroll said Hasselbeck had a sore hamstring but will be back at practice Tuesday after a day off Monday. … Others sitting out were DE Lawrence Jackson (hamstring), LB Lofa Tatupu (hamstring), TE John Carlson (oblique), WR Marcus Maxwell (unspecified) and LB Joe Pawelek (unspecified) also did not participate. … The scrimmage lasted 65 plays with QB Charlie Whitehurst running the first-team offense and QB J.P. Losman working with the second team.