Monday, December 30, 2013

Pittsburgh Steelers Robbed of their Cinderella Story By Bad Officiating

When this week's NFL games began few would have predicted that with just 9 seconds left in the Chiefs vs Chargers game in San Diego that the Pittsburgh Steelers would be within literal inches of going to the playoffs after starting the season with 4 straight losses and a 2 and 6 record at the midway point.  But, with the stars aligned and early game losses by the Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens and with the San Diego Chargers tied with a nothing-to-play-for Kansas City Chiefs team, with 20 of 22 starters being backups, that is exactly where they were.

When the kick left Ryan Succup's foot for a game winning field goal attempt the ball immediately began very slightly left.  Instead of splitting the uprights and securing the win for the visiting Chiefs, and a playoff spot for the Steelers, the ball drifted wide left and just barely missed.  Time expired and the game headed into overtime.

Steelers' players and fans were crushed.  Momentum immediately switched to the Chargers.  They won the coin toss.  Converted a fake punt on fourth and short and eventual worked their way down to field goal range and booted the game winner.

Many watching the game are rightly upset about the referee call on the fourth down fake punt in overtime.  Although the ball carrier was initially stopped short of the first down line, with the aid of members on his team pushing at his back and him churning his legs he worked his way past the first down marker.  That's when disaster struck and the Chiefs defense stripped the Chargers' Eric Weddle of the ball and returned it for what would have been a game winning touchdown.  Unfortunately, the refs disagreed, giving enough forward progress to Weddle to give the Chargers a first down, but not enough to give the Chiefs their fumble return for a touchdown.

Many say the refs simply got the call wrong and it cost the Chiefs the game and the Steelers their place in the post-season.  But, and even more devastating, was a missed call that occurred at the end of regulation on the Chiefs failed field goal attempt.
As kicker Ryan Succop lined up on the right hash mark to try a 41-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, seven Chargers positioned themselves on the line of scrimmage to the left of the long snapper.  But a new provision added this year by the NFL to Rule 9, Section 1, Article 3 states that “[n]o more than six Team B players may be on the line of scrimmage on either side of the snapper at the snap” when Team A lines up in a conventional field goal formation. 
Per a league source with knowledge of the situation, the NFL believes a flag should have been thrown.  The league office could acknowledge the error publicly as soon as Monday.
Chiefs

Unfortunately for the Steelers, public acknowledgement of the horrible calls by the NFL officials will do little to comfort them while they sit at home next weekend and watch the Chargers play in a game that was rightfully theirs to play.

2 comments:

Byron Funkhouser said...

Maybe The Chiefs should be penalized for not playing to win. You're not allowed to forfeit a game, but resting 20 of 22 starters shows that they didn't care if they won, and essentially forfeited the game.

As you can probably guess, I'm a Steeler's fan since birth.

Anonymous said...

Maybe The Chiefs should be penalized for not playing to win. You're not allowed to forfeit a game, but resting 20 of 22 starters shows that they didn't care if they won, and essentially forfeited the game.

As you can probably guess, I'm a Steeler's fan since birth.


I am a Steeler's fan too. But I can't quibble with KC playing its backups. First, they had nothing to gain and all to lose if one of their starters got hurt. Second, this was an excellent opportunity to see their second stringers play. Chase Daniel has been in the league 5 seasons, but has not started a game since the Alamo Bowl with Mizzou. The experience he and other second stringers received will prepare the Chiefs far better for the playoff than had they played their starters.

Bottom line, the kicker should have made that kick. But the refs blew a simple call. On each play one of the officials has to count the men on the field, so I don't see why he could not have picked up on the heavy loaded line. From the photo, you have TWO officials standing behind the pile which clearly shows a mass of humanity on one side of the ball. It is not even close. One wouldn't even need to count to determine this is a violation.