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Referee from Pittsburgh explains fumble ruling

Referee Gene Steratore spoke to the pool reporter about today's controversial call that was the difference in score between the Dolphins and Pittsburgh. The Steelers won, 23-22 on a field goal made possible when they kept the football following what looked like a fumble in the end zone that was recovered by Miami's Ikaika Alama-Francis.

The refs initially called the play a TD. Then they overturned the TD and said it was a fumble. But they didn't complete the job by giving the ball to Miami.

"Naturally, the ruling on the field was a touchdown by Pittsburgh," Steratore said. "After review it was confirmed in replay the ball did come loose and it was a fumble prior to the ball breaking the goal line. That's where we go into the second aspect of that. In order to overturn this and give another team the football, I have to have clear video evidence of that team recovering the fumble. So when a little short segment of what I said out there. That is what I explained. We did have a fumble, but we did not have video evidence and a confirmation on who recovered the football so we changed an aspect of the play by not awarding Pittsburgh the touchdown. Miami is not charged a time out because we changed an aspect of that play, but we could not award the defense in this situation the football because we don't have video evidence of the defense recovering the ball."

Steratore said officials could not determine who recovered the ball because, "it is a pile of bodies in there and you don't have a clear recovery."

Asked again by he could not determine who recovered the ball, he said, "We confirmed that there was a fumble and we not able to confirm a clear recovery by the defense."

Steratore, by the way, was born in Washington, PA., which is 30 miles outside of Pittsburgh. He still lives and has a business in the region.


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Geez, this call ranks up there with the Natrone Means fumble through the endzone, yet the Fish got the ball at the one. Which led to a safety and 2 pts for the Chargers that should never have been. Awful, just gawd awful calls that seemingly are piling up against the Dolphins. A win and we'd still be one game back in the division, now we're two and need some things to happen.

The call was absolutely horrible. However, I did notice alot of positive things in the game especially from chad henne. He is getting much better at feeling the rush coming and getting rid of the ball. After the last couple of weeks I really think Henne is gonna be fine maybe a top 10 QB. But I also noticed that our running game is absolutely horrible. Nothing like in the past few years. Ronnie is no longer running with any kind of pride. He is in the last year of his contract run like you give a damn. I say give the starting job to Ricky at least he still runs hard. It is obvious that we will be drafting a new rb in next year and I say another pass catching TE to supplement Fasano.

I agree that we lost with conservative play, this is what the dolphin organization has done since marino retired. Why get a big name receiver like marshall if your not going to go to him in the redzone? That's why bess is ha ing such success because he's the checkdown receiver, whom if you wanted to be conservative and not take a chance on the last drive you shouldve thrown 4 qicj slants to bess. That last drive I knew exactly how it was going to go down , the way it has every game since marino retired, scared to make a pass attempt past 6 yards, the offensive ccordinated needs to step up

Bad call ? Sure, but we lost the game when we are inside their 10 yard line TWICE and come out with only 6 POINTS ! That is inexcusable.

It pains me to say this as I have been a Dolphin fan for over 30 years !

ALoco, you're right, Henne's progression is fine. My opinion is the ref stole this game from us. However, if I wanted to nitpick (or offer constructive criticism), here's what I'd say:

- Henne needs to continue to work on those "touch" passes. He had Brandon open in the endzone. That out play to Bess for a TD was a perfect pass, he needs to continue to get better with those.

- Defense (secondary) needs to WATCH TAPE! They're great at run-stopping, pretty good (usually) at tackling (minus Benny Sapp, who should be gone end of season), but continuously get beat making the wrong read on long pass plays. All the good defenses (Pitt, Balt, NYJ) deny the long plays by good CB and Safety coverage on passes, yet we have a habit of putting our CBs one-on-one without any help too much. The Safeties need to be the outfielder back there for those long bombs and give the CB assistance.

- Our coaching philosophy isn't competitive when it counts in this league. Pittsburgh was forcing the action, NE forced the action, the Jets forced the action, and we, reacted. That's our philosophy: react to what they give you, react to the score and the way the other team plays, react. That means, when we get the ball on a turnover 1st play of the game, and have a chance to go up 7 and change the way THEY can play offense, we play conservatively and score a field goal. When we get a fumble, and again have a chance to score a TD, we run conservative plays. Instead of dictating to others, we get dictated to, and that means we have fewer chances to change the game. If we don't take advantage of those few chances, we lose the upper-hand and the ability to change the game to our favor. Mark the CPA would back me up when I say you have a better chance improving your lot by the adage: Nothing ventured, nothing gained. This conservative-style playing is only good enough to get this team to .500. If you want to go further, you need to take more chances.

- Dan Carpenter was terrific on field goals as usual. However, that's countered by the fact that he's HORRIBLE on kickoffs. He kicked line drives, to the 10-15 yard line, giving the returner a bunch of great chances and he usually capitalized and gave his team great field position all day.

- Jason Allen wasn't at fault on the Wallace TD (he had good coverage, couldn't keep up with him). It was Clemons who made the wrong read and didn't help when he was on that side (instead went to help Vontae on Ward).

- No player should lose their job because of this game (I've seen some people on here calling for all sorts of people to be gone). While we're not a perfect team and could use some more "core" players, we're good enough to go to the Playoffs now. What we don't have is a coaching staff that exudes confidence which passes on to its players. Coaches are not sure about their playmakers, which, in turn puts pressure on the playmakers, who don't become sure about each other, and when the play comes that needs to be executed perfectly, someone in the chain messes it up. Until we get aggressive coaches that TRUST their playmakers and ALLOW them to play to WIN, we don't go too far in our division or the league.

Lastly, I'll re-state, we know what we have here, a conservative coach (Sparano) and OC (Henning) who want to pound the rock and not take too many chances and win (or lose) close games, always staying within striking distance, and while I stated that's not a winning formula, it actually was enough to win this particular game. But they didn't account for the ref making a horrible call and taking the game from you. That's what lost the game. Now, people will say we still got the ball back, but that just give Henning another chance to be conservative, and worry too much about a mistake to open things up and WIN the game, so that's that. But we had the game won (or at least the game in our advantage) and the ref made a bad call. And that was enough to sway the victory to them. I'd love to be mad at someone on the Dolphins for the loss, but I can't, they did enough to win on this one. But when everyone is sick and tired of the small margin for error to get a victory using this strategy, they'll look for a more aggressive coaching style which could change the way this team plays and hopefully adds more wins each year.

Here is Genes email
Drop him a line and let him know how you feel.


Here is the refs email
Maybe he can give you a better explanation.


Let's play a little "what if". "What if" the ref gets the call right and Miami gets the ball. Remember Pittsburgh has 3 time outs plus the 2 minute warning. You know their OC would call 3 runs straight into the line...meaning Pittsburgh gets the ball back with just under 2 minutes. My money is Pittsburgh would still win the game as the secondary stunk yesterday.

That ref is an idiot.

Gretg, yes, the team could have helped itself by going up 14-0 (Tim Graham basically makes this point on ESPN.com, saying the bad call didn't cost us the game, and Sparano and many players including Crowder agreed).

However, why do you run 3 times against the league's leading run defense (if you're trying to go up 14-0)? I mean, after reading Sparano's comments, saying we have to do better to pounce on teams, I have to put more onus on him then. WHY do you let your OC call plays that WON'T WORK? Why not try to open up the offense more? Take chances? WHY play conservative football against a team that stops almost everyone? And then to say "we didn't pounce when we had the chance?" YOU'RE THE COACH! YOU HEAR THE CALL! Change it if you don't think it's a good one. Why not say, "Dan, we're not running it against the best run defense on 1st and GOAL" (or whatever it was). Let's try a pass to Bess or get Ronnie out in the flat or something instead of going right into the teeth of their defense.

I agree there were plays to be made out there. But I disagree THIS team can make those plays consistently, and that's due to coaching. The coaches aren't putting these players in positions to WIN, they're putting them in positions not to lose, and that's a totally different philosophy (with a slim margin for error).

henne sux.

john007, that's a likely scenario, don't dispute that would happen. But we'd still have the advantage. They'd HAVE TO pass, so the d would know that and Wake might have made Big Ben fumble or sacked him or something, so it's not a given that they would have won. I'd still have liked the chance to see than have the game stolen.

leave the ref alone.he was only a pawn in the game.he works for us.now we are done with him.he had no choice.we gave him no choice.this plan was in action for a long time now.give Pitt a td.if that does not work the ref was ordered to pay no attention to the team which recovers the ball.look it off.throw arms in the air.say i dunno.plan worked brilliantly.we won.you lost.get used to it.you are insignificant.

He did the Seattle/Pittsburgh Super Bowl game too.

I am a Raiders fan, and my wife is a Dolphins fan. you guys were screwed yesterday, just as the Raiders have been since Pete Roselle made them the bad guys, since the idiot Al Davis challenged him way back when. Sorry, you guys deserved the win in yesterday's game. Politics reigns in the NFL!

we had the spread at 3.steelers won by 3.that was the order.the end result worked exactly to plan.all betters lose on a tie.steelers won by 3.that is a tie.almost 3/4 of a billion was taken from the slaves and put in our account.go away now.you are insignificant.keep paying us monthly for that house you will never own.you really think that structure of cement blocks,a few pipes,a few rolls of wire,some sheets of drywall and some screws is worth $700,000.00 after interest and 30 years of payments.
you have been brainwashed by us and are another sucker in our game.cost us $35,000.00 to slap together that house.now pay us for 30 years suckers.

the ref was a genius actor..the quintessential thespian.the plan worked perfectly.the ref never even looked nervous or cracked a smile.he walked out of the stadium without so much as a scratch on his shell.we will use him again.his family will never have to worry about eating our food or drinking our water.let this be lesson to the other slaves.conform and do exactly as your told or be eliminated.

They won by 2 Home....grow up

Do not tell the slaves that.we already took their money.the other bets that were taken at 2 or 3 points did not matter.we are keeping all the money. you lose.tickets also available for next weeks NWO football show.get yours now and place your bets.also have jersey`s we call authentic.you can but one for $300.00 or or five for $1500.00
How many for you and your family kris?

Is there a organazation like A.A , that us hardcore fin fans can attend to help us get off this terrible illness being a Dolphin fan???? Please help me, I see the problem and I need help, it's affecting me at work and affecting me at my job, I'am a addict and realize it now....

3-12 on 3rd downs. that's what lost the game. hey mark. how 'bout my crystal bongs 5 fg's huh.?..lol. the phins will win the next 2. they r road games..watch! boy ,that spazano sure luvs fg's.

Kris please stay current on social security payments.
you owe us money.we want it each and every week from the time you start work, say at 15 years old.when you are about 70, we promise to give you a little check back each month.how else do you expect us to keep the oldest and largest ponzi scheme on this planet going.pay me sucker.will promise to give you say, $250.00 back per month if your alive when your 70.get the check in now or go to jail.

NWO is getting nausating, Mando can you Ban him??? Please, he needs more help then us Dolphin addicts....

The sideline ref who made the call couldn't even see from his angle if Rothlesburger crossed the goal line , how could he make a touchdown call?? the back judge who saw the ball on the ground lose makes no call?????

Call was bad sure, but other things are worse. 2 turnovers in the red zone on the first 2 possessions and only 6 points? PROBLEM. I've said it all year. Miami is TOO conservative & plays Not to lose. THAT'S HOW YOU LOSE! This game was a prime example.

4th quarter was atrocious. Settling for FG's? Happy with FG's? Why is it always a close game that they insist on trying to win in the 4th quarter? This team isn't good enough to do that and that should ONLY be done when necessary, NOT EVERY GAME!

Fire Sporano, the team philisophy comes from him. Henning calls the play yes, but the conservative nature is from the head coach. He is the one who sets the offensive & defensive vision. Fire Henning. 3rd & less than 1 in the 4th and you run a pitch/sweep? Why not run up the middle? 3rd & 6 in the 4th and you call a check down to Bess for 1 yard because you're CONTENT with FG's? Playing not to lose will COST YOU WINS!

Going into the year I thought this was a .500% team but I didn't think it would be the coaching holding them back. AND BTW, Where the F*CK was Clemmons on the bomb to Wallace? He wasn't even in the screen! Barring a miracle this team isn't going to the postseason AGAIN. Hopefully there will be a 2011 season with a new coach & coordinator. A change in philosophy is what's needed.

Joe, I see you too need Help my friend, You sir are a Dolphin Addict......We need help brother...

I need a new coach & o coordinator who isn't afraid to go out and win a game. That's the help I need. I'm tired of this claw, scratch and HOPE they win it late in the 4th mentality. I'm tired of this BS. Let the players win or lose a game, not the coaches.

black with gold accent will the colors of your New World Order whip crackers.You fellow slaves must associate these colors with authority.if you stray,you will pay.black and gold will win at all costs.even if the appear to lose,in the end they will win.get used to it.we also like the colors red,blue and white.we know you gravitate to these colors and stand mesmerized with a hand over the largest pump in your body and water excretes from your eyes if we play a little music and raise a sheet on a pole with theses colors.To manipulate the slaves we will use these colors and music as we march you around from your FEMA camp to your slave work.Not to worry.We will have the large screen tvs like the one the Reptilian leader installed in his camp,for viewing of brutal collision games by the largest and strongest slaves.of course we will raise the colored sheet so the slaves can cry a little before we start the rigged battle.

I think Home(NWO) has gone insane, I was afraid this would happen if the phins would lose...Being a Dolphin addict is worse then being a crackhead(But not as bad as a crack -ho though)

new world, your statements are wacky .

Armando if you read this, please for gods sake call the coach and OC out for the playcalling, not just last night but all season, we wont see the best of Henne with this OC!!
I didn't sleep last night I was still fuming at the refs and coaching, game finished 9:15 here in the UK.
Henning has to go or at least be overuled the problem is, does Sparano have any better plays to throw in there.
If by some chance Henning is fired, what are our options for OC, promote David Lee??
What do you thin guys, who could step in and save us from this conservative madness???

cuban,you r right about these fans ,they r addicts .

Good Morning Aloco, Well you be seeking help for your "D.A" ????

Let me first of all say that... maybe even more than the refs... the coaches blew this game... Running Ronnie on third and inches instead of Ricky or Lousaka, not going for it on fourth and inches when we are inside our 50 and down late in the game, wasting the final timeout prior to a field goal!!, Opening the final two minute drill with a run up the middle against a great run D after wasting that time out!!!!, THROWING THE BALL ON SECOND AFTER RUNNING ON FIRST DESPITE THE UPCOMING TWO MINUTE WARNING!!!! WTF!!! With all of that said, the refs made the correct call of possession ON THE FIELD, and then said they couldn't upon review.................. HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN!?!?!?! However... the "best team in the league" needed a blown call to beat us despite our inability to capitalize on red zone opportunities... not a bad performance by our team.

get whipple from the b um's squad. he likes to open it up down field.

dw all over again.lol

cuban, what do you recommend for these fans to do ? in 3 steps please .

just think what gruden can do with the phins talent. wow!. sb here it comes..

aloco. everybody should boo the team so it thinks it is away at the home games. then they'll win..lol

grant street, the coaches did great.

henne did great
the team did great.....but the referee took it all a away .

what can you do but eat some more .

Aloco, I think the 1st step is acceptance that you have a problem, after that I'am not sure, that's why I'am asking for help........

aloco. 3-12 on 3rd downs. henne is part of the problem. the d can't be out there all game long.

you are correct about Henne. That said, this team needs to take the next step and put the ball in his hands and stop the conservative play calling. Sparano is a boob. Tomlin nearly pisced on himself when they went for two field goals in the first quarter. I truly believe that Sparano and Henning think that this team has to play games close to the vest to win. That they cant win in a shootout and it hurts this team. They seem to intentionally call plays that destroy any rhythm the offense builds. Well I have news for the coaches, in case they havent noticed. This team is not a good running team this year. the line pass blocks its arss off but doesnt run block well. They finally have developed and acquired playmakers on offense and they wont turn Henne loose. This team wont win with this coaching staff. Henning should be te first to go.

i hear the divorce rate is spiking up in fins land .

our play calling is why we lost. We get 2 turnovers in their redzone and sparano and henning both content with onyl getting a field goal so we lost. This is all on sparano and henning. Henne played well enough and the defense played well enough to win.
Also how come we can't get the special teams working? 50 yard return on that last kick. I'm sorry we need to have some serious position coaching changes at the end of year

yes. the ol played lights out and henne still blew on 3rd downs.

we lost the game again"playing not to lose". coach celebrates meaningless FG's. coaches don't trust henne to score TD's;always in max protect because henne cant slide in pocket to escape pressure. thats why we have only 2 receivers to throw to;everyone else is making sure henne stays upright. other Qb's can run when receivers are covered. sparano,henning and henne lack the ability/balls to "quick strike for six" after a turnover. long season.

I can't see how any fan can be happy with the performance....MIAMI LOST, there is nothing to be happy about. Regarding all this addiction adolescent babble, if the fans in the stadium cared as much as half of these so called addicts do, Miami might actually have a distinct home field advantage.

Why do we need clear VIDEO evidence of the recovery? The play was reviewed to determine whether there was a fumble. The referees on the field personally observed the fumble recovery. You didn't need video evidence to confirm that! No guts.

henne had 5 seconds to throw and still sux.

So sad. It seems that the Dolphins' players in big games have to overcome their own offensive co-ordinators' incompetence, the opposing team, and now the officials. That's tough.

Why Henning kept calling Ronnie Brown's number (even though he wasn't running with any authority whatsoever) and running to the weak side of their own offensive line is beyond me. I mean, you have to put some blame on Brown here. how can a 34 year old Williams average almost 5 yards per rush and he gets 1??? Pure garbage. i wouldn't sign him for a dollar if he doesn't smarten up.

Why the HL was so adamant that the Pitt run was a TD to not even bother checking who came up with the ball and calling everyone off is the biggest mystery. How could he see if the ball crossed the plane? From his vantag point all he could see is Ben's back. No view of the ball whatsoever. usually what they do in that instance is run up to the ball carrier to determine if he still has possession before signalling touchdown. Yet it wasn't done here.

Pure incompetence. The NFL has to take a lot of flak here. These teams a billion dollar enterprises and they have people calling the games making such elementary errors.

Or maybe they weren't "errors" after all and done with every intention.

Boulder , the steelers had their own problems on sunday ,we played a fantistic game.why you can't you see all the positives ? we were not going to super any way so we may enjoy the great team we have .

aloco. jon gruden would win the sb with this bunch.. watch!

Hello, my name is Cocoajoe and I'm a Dolphinaholic. I'm currently stuck on the 1st step: Admitting I have a problem

gotta get tougher and faster;need more ballers! need a speed back and receiver for chunk yds; gotta go all out 60 minutes on offense playing for TD's;not settling for FG's.

Guys, Forget the Field goal that Pitt. Got, The Phins got the ball back with 2:30 left on the clock( A eternity for any competent Offense) and were unable to get into FG range, They also had the ball in the red zone 4 times and could only muster FGs, That's why the fins lost, Has nothing to do with a bad call... IMHO..(Then again I am a addict)

I was one of Henne's derractors, but i have to admit he can sling it and is getting better with his reads and moving in the pocket. He isnt a mobile QB and never will be. The coaches need to game plan to his strengths. When Marino broke in, and im not saying Henne is as good as Marino, the team was a run first ball control offense that evolved and became a run first offense. If they wont change then there is no need for Henne. Just let Pennington play. Coaches need to go.

Good for you Coco, now your on your way to recovery.... LOL

2watt, he had 5 seconds to throw to whom? Guys who were covered? Henne is forced to have to throw into VERY small windows with TIGHT coverage. We will never see his true potential playing with this offensive mentality. No creativity, imagination or diversity. Until this team gets a legit threat at TE like it's division rivals & the Colts, this offense will continue to struggle to put up points. Simply put, teams KNOW going into the game, they can play tight because there is no threat of big plays.

brady's rating........97
rogers................... 88
mat ryan................88
mcnab.................. 76
cutler................... 81
eli ....................... 84


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