Troy Polamalu interception
Morelli was involved in a controversial call during an AFC divisional playoff game on January 15, 2006 between the Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers. In the fourth quarter, Steelers safety Troy Polamalu appeared to intercept a Peyton Manning pass with 5:26 left in regulation. Polamalu made a diving catch and tumbled to the ground with the ball in his hands and got up to run. As he did, he fumbled the ball, then recovered. Colts head coach Tony Dungy challenged the call, and upon review on instant replay, Morelli overturned the ruling on the field of a completed catch and interception. After the reversal of the interception, Indianapolis drove down the field and scored a touchdown and a two-point conversion to reduce the eleven point deficit down to three, making the final score 21-18. This would end up being the final score of the game. Following the game, Morelli explained his ruling, saying, "I had the defender catching the ball. Before he got up, he hit it with his leg with his other leg still on the ground. He never had possession with his leg up off the ground, doing an act common to the game of football. He was losing it while his other leg was still on the ground. Therefore, he did not complete the catch. And then he lost the ball. It came out, and so we made the play an incomplete pass." Steelers linebacker Joey Porter claimed that the referees were conspiring against his team, hoping to give the Colts the victory. In an interview with The New York Times, Porter said, "I felt they were cheating us. When the interception happened, everybody in the world knew that was an interception. Don't cheat us that bad. When they did that, they really want Peyton Manning and these guys to win the Super Bowl. They are just going to straight take it for them. I felt that they were like 'We don't even care if you know we're cheating. We're cheating for them.'"
A day after the game, the NFL released a statement confirming that Polamalu made the interception, refuting the overturn call of Morelli. Mike Pereira, the league's vice president of officiating, said, "[Polamalu] maintained possession long enough to establish a catch. Therefore, the replay review should have upheld the call on the field that it was a catch and fumble." The NFL also opted not to fine Porter for his remarks towards the officials. No further explanation was given by the league on their decision not to punish Porter.