I think it is very fair to make the argument that we were hosed on three plays, and had they been correctly officiated, we are probably Superbowl Champs all three years. Keep in mind of course there were many other plays in all of these games that could have influenced the outcome of the games, but I'm just strictly talking about these three plays that I think by them self would have determined the outcome.
2011 Ahmad Bradshaw Fumble
Anyways, lets start off with the first play from the 2011 season. The NFC championship game. With 2:19 left in the game, score tied 17-17, Navorro Bowman strips Ahmad Bradshaw at the Giants own 18 yard line and the 49ers recover. Refs claim forward progress is called instead and possession remains with the Giants. I have never seen forward progress called so fast and if you go back and look at the replay, even with how fast the forward progress was called, it was still called after Bradshaw had already fumbled. The replay shows the ball is out and then the whistle is blown. Should have been niners ball and in all likelihood we kill the clock and kick the game winning field goal. I don't think we would have had too much trouble with the Patriots. Of course I can't just declare that we would have won the Superbowl for sure, but I think many feel very confident that we would have, especially with that 2011 defense. Anyways, refresh your memory of that play for yourself..
2012 Jimmy Smith helmet to helmet hit on Crabtree
On the last drive in the Superbowl on third and goal, Kaepernick throws a pass to Crabtree in the flat. Smith comes up and leads with his helmet right into Crabs facemask. Should have been a personal foul for leading with the helmet, hitting a defenseless receiver, and targeting the head, which would have resulted in a new set of downs at the four yard line. Then of course we have the infamous no holding call the very next play, where Smith basically hugs Crabtree and grabs some jersey. How neither of those were called, is beyond me. With a first down from either the four yard line, or the one yard line, it's not a guarantee that we get in, but the chances are very good.
2013 Ahmad Brooks hit on Drew Brees
With 3:18 left in the game, 49ers up by 3, Brooks sacks Brees, Brees fumbles and 49ers recover close to midfield. It's likely at that point that the 49ers win the game. Refs call a penalty on a hit to the head and neck area of the quarterback. It was the wrong call as the initial hit was to the very upper portion of Bree's chest. Naturally as he was going down, Brooks arm grazes his neck. The hit itself was not to the neck, nor did Brooks hook his neck or bring him down by the neck. Obviously it is very difficult to see in game time speed, but that is why I think these type of plays need to be reviewable in the future. Anyways, if the refs don't throw the penalty on Brooks, we earn homefield advantage and likely win the NFC championship game. After all, the Seahawks haven't won in Candlestick since 2008. Then I doubt we have much trouble with the Broncos as well.
Of course you can always just say oh well you should have played better and it wouldn't have come down to this or that play. That always makes me laugh. It's tough to always be that much better than your opponent. A blown call or two can really change a game and even a season as we have seen. So had these three plays gone our way, I feel it is very likely we are Superbowl champs the last three years.
Anyways, here's to hoping that we are so good in 2014 that it can't come down to a few blown calls. Hopefully we dominate our opponents so thoroughly that officiating can't make a difference.
[ Edited by pwillis52beasty on Feb 11, 2014 at 10:08 PM ]