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Super Bowl XLVII will be remembered for many things: a power outage, a wild San Francisco comeback and a questionable no-call on the 49ers' final offensive play. What it won't be remembered for is the ejection of Baltimore Ravens defensive back Cary Williams, because it didn't happen, despite the rulebook saying it should have.
After shoving head linesman Steve Stelljes in the second quarter, Williams could have been the first player in NFL history to be ejected from a Super Bowl, however, Stelljes didn't eject Williams on the play or even throw a flag.
Williams talked about the shoving incident this week with WJFK-FM radio in Washington D.C.
"It was in the moment man. It was one of those situations where you let your emotions get the best of you," Williams said via sportsradiointerviews.com. "As far as I'm concerned, I remember my helmet getting ripped off by No. 49 or whatever and I just reacted. I didn't see the ref, I didn't realize he was there. I just pushed whoever to try to get to him. There was a lot of things that was going on outside of the whistles... and it was frustrating. But at the end of the day, it happened."
Former NFL Vice President of Officiating and current Fox employee Mike Pereira told Sports Illustrated's Peter King this week that Williams' shove should have gotten Williams kicked out of the game. "It should have merited an ejection," Pereira said. "I don't know what went through the head linesman's mind, but the fact is, you've got to eject for contact."
Williams disagreed with that assessment and thought Stelljes made the correct call, "The ref saw that I wasn't trying to intentionally get him, or hurt him or harm him in any way and I think he played it the right way. He made the right call, he made the right decision."
As King notes, the shove occurred on the 20th play of the game and if Williams had been ejected, he would have missed Baltimore's final 42 defensive snaps. The loss of Williams probably wouldn't have been devastating, but it wouldn't have been easy to overcome. Williams had two passes defended in the game, which tied for the team lead.
Despite not being ejected or penalized on the play, Williams said he won't be surprised if he gets fined. "The league hasn't contacted me," Williams said. "I don't know if I need to contact them or whatever, but it's a situation and I just gotta deal with that. So whenever it comes, I gotta cross that bridge when we get there."
If Williams is looking for a rough estimate of what that fine might be: Carolina quarterback Cam Newton was fined $21,000 for bumping referee Jerome Boger during a Dec. 23 game against Oakland. Ironically, Boger was the head referee for Super Bowl XLVII.
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