Don’t hate me, but call was right

PITTSBURGH — Sorry, conspiracy theorists. The NFL got it right.

The issue on the call that helped send the Steelers to defeat against the New England Patriots was the NFL’s illogical and impossibly-nitpicking rule.

That should probably be changed, and maybe it will be addressed the next time the Competition Committee meets. But that’s an issue for March, not for a frustrating rainy Pittsburgh Sunday in December.

The way the rule is written, Jesse James did not score a touchdown. It was an incomplete pass.

Like so much of replay, the ultimate ruling is not in the spirit of the game. At game speed, it looked like a touchdown. That’s why it was called that way.

Slowing the video down and going to freeze frame told a different story. But why should the technology take over and give us an outcome like we had on Sunday?

Just a reminder: That play didn’t beat the Steelers. They still had the ball at the 10-yard line. At worst, they could have kicked a game-tying field goal and gone to overtime.

But confusion between Ben Roethlisberger and the sideline led to the ill-fated pass that Roethlisberger tried to force to Eli Rogers. The Patriots made an excellent defensive play on it, and that was it.

Other opportunities? The Steelers’ Sean Davis had his hands on a potential interception that would have stopped the Patriots. The Steelers could have held the ball and prevented the Patriots from getting another chance. Instead, they responded with their first three-and-out of the game and gave Tom Brady another chance.

The inability to handle Rob Gronkowski meant as much as any replay call.

When it mattered most, the Patriots made plays that the Steelers didn’t.

Sorry, conspiracy theorists. The Patriots won the game. It wasn’t given to them.

Cole in pinstripes?

If the New York Post has anything to say about it, Gerrit Cole will be with the Yankees next season.

The back page of the Post featured a doctored photo of Cole in a Yankees uniform. (At last check, Cole still belonged to the Pirates).

A trade would make sense. The Yankees would love to have Cole. The Pirates control his rights for this season and for 2019. After that, there’s a 99.9 percent chance he will shop himself on the free agent market and leave.

His trade value is probably at its peak.

The Yankees are loaded with quality prospects, some of whom are major league ready. The Pirates could acquire players who will be around for six or seven years and upgrade a couple of positions.

The capable George King, who wrote the story, had an odd observation in his report.

He wrote, “(Neal) Huntington has a reputation of being difficult to deal with since he has a hunger to win the trade instead of making a move that helps each side.”

Well, why would Huntington care about helping the Yankees? What GM doesn’t want to win the deal and get more value than he gives up?

If the Yankees are willing to give up their best prospects — including infielder Gleyber Torres — a Cole trade could happen.

Gift suggestion

I was recently told that a Barnes & Noble store in the greater Altoona area has at least one copy of my book, “The Best Pittsburgh Sports Arguments.”

It was published in 2007, but it will still delight any sports fan on your gift list. It’s also available at

Do you think Christmas has gotten too commercial?

Mehno can be reached at