As part of the course of my usual writing, I spend a reasonable amount of time reading the websites of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ AFC North rivalries, and at times I can’t help but notice how much they vary in tone and content. One thing that I have noticed in particular about the Baltimore Ravens’ website—and social media accounts—is that they seem to allow their writing staff a fairly wide berth with regards to making commentary.
The Ravens’ website yesterday features an article that discusses the fact that Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor was flagged for taunting late in the game after catching a 20-yard pass on which cornerback Lardarius Webb was flagged for holding.
The taunting call has been described by most commentators as dubious at best, and the suggestion is that there was no motivation of taunting. He appeared to try to flip the football to the official, though he was not looking directly at him, and instead the ball flipped toward Webb, still getting up off the ground.
The result was offsetting penalties, so that instead of being on the 10-yard line, the Browns replayed the down at the 30-yard line. There was less than 30 seconds remaining on the clock at the time, and the game ended on an interception as a result of all of this.
Ravens website writer Sarah Ellison talked about this sequence of plays in a recurring column called ‘Late For Work’, in which the bent of the argument was that the Browns’ fans should not be too upset with the officials, since Cleveland’s first touchdown should have been negated, posting as evidence a viral photo that shows wide receiver Corey Coleman’s toes to be out of bounds at the back of the end zone.
The argument of the article, casual as it may be, is disingenuous at best, because mere still image of some uncertain moment of a sequence of movements cannot determine with clarity what actually happened. The moment captured in the image, however, is clearly not the very instant in which any part of Coleman’s second foot made contact with the end zone.
By rule, the tip of a receiver’s toe need only graze a blade of grass in order to be considered inbounds. In the image provided, via an embedded Tweet from a Ravens blogger, it is clear that about a third of Coleman’s foot is already on the ground.
This is just one careless and borderline tasteless instance of the team questionably utilizing their virtual space, perhaps the most famous example being a Tweet during Ray Rice’s press conference following his arrest, along with his wife, in which the team’s official count Tweeted her apologizing for her role in the incident in which Rice knocked her unconscious in an elevator. The Tweet remained on their account for many months before being deleted.
I realize this isn’t really a post directly about football. If anything, it is an acknowledgement of the quality and responsible work that the likes of Bob Labriola, Teresa Varley, Mike Prisuta, and Missi Matthews do for the Steelers’ own website.