Better late than never. Haunted by blown calls in Super Bowl XL, referee Bill Leavy acknowledged officiating mistakes that may have contributed...

RENTON — Better late than never.

Haunted by blown calls in Super Bowl XL, referee Bill Leavy acknowledged officiating mistakes that may have contributed to the Seahawks’ 21-10 defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers 4 ½ years ago.

“It was a tough thing for me,” Leavy said Friday. “I kicked two calls in the fourth quarter, and I impacted the game, and as an official you never want to do that.”

Although Leavy did not refer to any specific calls, two controversial plays in the fourth quarter of the 2006 game hurt the Seahawks and incensed their fans.

While driving for a tying touchdown, tackle Sean Locklear was called for holding on a pass completion that would have put Seattle at Pittsburgh’s 1-yard line. After the penalty, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck threw an interception. On that play, he was penalized for an illegal low block and given a 15-yard penalty on what appeared to be a textbook tackle.

Seahawks fans also haven’t forgotten some other blunders by officials in the first half.

Receiver Darrell Jackson drew an offensive-pass-interference penalty on a touchdown catch that would have given Seattle a 7-0 lead, but the Hawks had to settle for a field goal.

The Seahawks also appeared to have stopped Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger at the goal line on a 1-yard run late in the first half. Officials signaled a Steelers’ touchdown that gave them a 7-3 lead. Leavy upheld the call after a replay review.

“I knew it was going to be tough going up against the Pittsburgh Steelers,” former Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren told Seattle fans at a Qwest Field rally days after the game. “I didn’t know we were going to have to play the guys in the striped shirts as well.”

The NFL never has apologized for those officiating mistakes. Speaking to Seattle-area reporters Friday about NFL rules changes this season, Leavy said he’s still bothered by his gaffes.

“It left me with a lot of sleepless nights, and I think about it constantly,” he said. “I’ll go to my grave wishing that I’d been better. I know that I did my best at that time, but it wasn’t good enough.

“When we make mistakes, you got to step up and own them. It’s something that all officials have to deal with, but unfortunately when you have to deal with it in the Super Bowl, it’s difficult.”

Leavy and an officiating crew have been at Seahawks camp refereeing practice.

Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or pallen@seattletimes.com