Why the 49’rs lost the Superbowl

I am responding to your inquiry and speculation about the game yesterday between Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49’rs.  Obviously, being in the San Francisco area for many years I wanted the game to be played differently than it was.
I agree that it was bad management of time, which has been an issue every game I have watched this year with new quarterback, whose name shall go unspelt for obvious reasons.
We can just agree that he is young and covered with tattoos as a consequence.
The fact that he is so young accounts for his inability to manage the plays left him in the game I think. This is no small feat when you think about the number of factors involved… it tends to make one dizzy. Hence some obvious errors that the other guys did not make.
In fact, the other guys seemed to play a better game. This where it gets interesting.
I looked at the very last play again today. Amazingly (at first) there were actually two holding penalties that could have been called against the Ravens. One was on the opposite side of the field that the ball was thrown, towards the pylon and way out of reach of the receiver. Our QB did this I think since he assumed the ref would give him at least a holding call which would have put the ball back on the one hard line or even half yard line. Presumably we would then have been able to score with a “fourth and one” situation and win the game after all. I think all four plays made on the five yard line were pre-recorded, as it were, and were shameful. I think this accounts for the pat feeling, the lack of guts to it, to impersonal feel it had, and so on. but I digress.
At first, I thought that the ref did not see the obvious penalty. But when two penalties could have been called it immediately became clear, at least to me, that the refs were not going to call this penalty come hell or high water. I think it was psychologically impossible for any one of them to knowingly take the game away from Baltimore and give it back to San Fran. I don’t think any one of them had the guts to do this. Or perhaps it was a matter of Baltimore needing a victory more than SF, as you suggested. For whatever reason(s) they, the refs, just could not do it. And maybe this relates to the fact that the Ravens were a better team and played a better game, however slight.
But I also think it not right to blame the refs for a lost game or any bad call. It’s like saying that in such an important game they should be especially perfect. This is simply backwards thinking. If anything, the pressure to perform will diminish accuracy. But in any case, football just as in baseball has to be played with imperfect calls. One can only hope that the calls add up to a zero sum game, and that it is not biased in error making. In this situation, the Superbowl, is this even possible??
That two holding penalties that were “given” to the Ravens says something about what was in the minds of the refs, which in turn was at least partially determined by the four quarters player prior to that last play for SF is my guess.

So in effect the team that deserved to win, for reasons known and unknown, actually did win.
Don Crowe, PhD

Posted in Psychology | Leave a comment

family-2008.jpg

Image | Posted on by | Leave a comment