Posted December 30, 2013

NFL admits that Chargers got away with an uncalled penalty on Chiefs’ missed field goal

AFC West, Kansas City Chiefs, NFL Playoffs, San Diego Chargers
The Chargers definitely got away with one here.

The Chargers definitely got away with one here.

It’s rarely just one call that bites you in a loss, but the Kansas City Chiefs have reason to be angry at the officiating in their 27-24 loss to the San Diego Chargers on Sunday. The loss didn’t affect Kansas City’s playoff positioning — it had the AFC’s fifth seed wrapped up, which is why it rested many of its starters. However, with eight seconds left in regulation, the Chiefs were in position to win the game as Ryan Succop lined up to kick a 41-yard game-winning field goal from the San Diego 23. Succop missed the try just barely to right, the game went into overtime and the Chargers won when Kansas City could not answer Nick Novak’s 36-yard field goal on their first drive of the fifth quarter.

At least, that’s what Bill Leavy’s crew would very much like to you to believe.

Leavy’s crew botched a simple new rule, and as a result, the Chiefs were left without another try at that field goal at the end of regulation. Before the 2013 season, the NFL’s Competition Committee put in place a new rule by which teams are not allowed to have more than six defenders on either side of the snapper during any field goal try. It’s supposed to be a five-yard penalty for illegal formation and a re-try, but Leavy’s crew didn’t get the memo. You can clearly see in the picture above that the Chargers have seven defenders on the line to Succop’s left.

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Former NFL VP of Officiating Mike Pereira, now an analyst for FOX Sports, confirmed on Twitter that the call was blown.

On Monday morning, the league admitted that an illegal formation penalty should have been called, and Succop should have been able to attempt a 36-yard field goal.

With 0:08 remaining in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers, Kansas City faced a fourth-and-12 from the San Diego 23.  The Chiefs attempted a 41-yard field goal that was no good.

On the play, San Diego lined up with seven men on one side of the snapper.  This should have been penalized as an illegal formation by the defense.

Rule 9, Section 1, Article 3 (b) (1) of the NFL Rule Book (page 51) states that “No more than six Team B players may be on the line of scrimmage on either side of the snapper at the snap.”

The penalty for illegal formation by the defense is a loss of five yards.  This is not subject to instant replay review.  Had the penalty been assessed, it would have resulted in a fourth-and-seven from the San Diego 18 with 0:04 remaining, enabling the Chiefs to attempt a 36-yard field goal.

And on Monday afternoon, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said that he called a timeout specifically so that the formation could be reviewed (which, per the NFL, it couldn’t).

“That was for a reason. I saw it. I couldn’t challenge. The only thing I had was a timeout, so I called it so maybe they would take a peek and read through the timeout and see what took place. Listen, human error.”

Yes, it was still up to the Chiefs to take care of business in overtime, and you can bet that the NFL will take a hard look at how many key players Kansas City rested — after all, commissioner Roger Goodell has been talking for years about how he wants every game to be competitive. But the result of this game put the Chargers in the AFC playoffs and left the Pittsburgh Steelers on the outside looking in. Given the number of officiating mistakes this season, this play is one more clear indicator that Goodell, the Committee and the league in general will have to take a strong look at how the game is officiated in future seasons.

179 comments
crtjr
crtjr

I don't think punishment for the referees is the answer because they are human, unless as a part of a performance review. I personally dislike it moreso when the league office try to hide issues or poorly officiated games like the batted ball call in GB. You pretty much gave GB 4 extra shots at a TD from the 2 yd line and the league basically said it was the right call. We all saw that it wasn't because of possession... I'm also disgusted by throwing the book at Tomlin for his sideline shuffle vs Baltimore... the $100K, I get... threatening the team with a loss of a draft pick? move us down in the latter rounds but to take a pick? Especially when there's no accountability for the many bad calls this year from which every team has to have suffered and benefited. I personally don't want any gifts from the refs for my team... just call it fair and my Steelers need to win on their own... and this bring me to my point.


NFL officials should be a full time gig for at least 80% of them. There are so many nuances to the rules that what human can keep all of that in their heads during split second play by these tremendously talented behemoths? But hear tell it, the refs don't want this as they're already employed full time.. well, maybe its time to turn it over to a new group of officials who want it as a career so they can be well versed in how and why each of the rules exists making them better... I think its grossly selfish of the refs to be so ok with blowing calls that have a major impact on the game, then not wanting to do anything to make themselves any better... people like that in the real world, get fired. I think may its time to fire some of these guys... let's consider the facts... how much different has many blown or bad calls been this season than the one the replacement ref made in GB last season? We wanted them gone, maybe its time to replace these guys with people who want to make it a career so they can be as good as the players.

JoseCampa
JoseCampa

First of all, we agree it was a bad non call. Fact is, it is not the Chargers fault. Chargers have lost some games on bad calls in the past. So they got one bad call in the Chargers favor. The Chiefs did not care about winning to begin with using 20 back up players. Many teams including Super Bowl Champions have won on bad calls. Lets move on. We can not change the outcome of the game. No body challenged it so KC was not paying attention either. 

MARKJ.PENTLAND
MARKJ.PENTLAND

HOW MUCH DID BILL LEAVY & HIS CREW BET ON THIS GAME???  NOT ONLY DID THEY MISS THE FORMATION CALL ON THE FIELD GOAL, BUT THE FORWARD PROGRESS CALL IN O.T WAS SUSPECT!!!  QUESTION: IF HIS FORWARD PROGRESS WAS STOPPED......WHICH IT WASN'T........BUT IF IT WAS.......HOW DID THE CHARGER'S GET A FIRST DOWN???  HE WAS ORIGINALLY STOPPED WELL SHORT OF THE FIRST DOWN!!!  IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN KANSAS CITY BALL!!!

aquaman1nj
aquaman1nj

I have just one question...of the hundreds of comments about how bad the officiating is in the NFL...how many of you have ever been an official at this or any level for that matter??  I call it the "view from the cheap seats".  Those are people who make comments about a subject that they personally have NO EXPERIENCE to make comment about.   It's easy to play arm chair referee, coach or quarterback.  Just cause your a fan for 100 years, does not make you an expert referee, coach or quarterback.  As a football official with 10 years experience in Pop Warner, HS and NCAA Div 3, I can assure you that there will always be good calls, bad calls and no-calls.  Even if you have twice as many refs out on the field and video replay...there will always be good calls, bad calls and no-calls.  There's a reason there are calls that can't be challenged...because sometime in the couple of seconds the play is happening, the official is the ONLY person who in their JUDGEMENT can make or not make a call.  As officials...we call what we see at that moment...and we don't call what we don't see, as well.  We also know that when we throw a flag...50% are going to agree and 50% are not.  So..it's time to get out of the arm chair, learn the rules and get out there and try officiating Pop Warner or HS or College ball...and then when you have earned your stripes...you can comment on how bad the officials were.    

AlainLapointe
AlainLapointe

Don't think it made Succop miss his kick , so....

EdgarMartinez
EdgarMartinez

Bill Levy reffed Super Bowl XL and robbed the Seahawks of any chance to beat the Steelers. How ironic that he's the one who robbed the Steelers here. He's just an incompetent ref that should have been forced out of the league the minute he admitted to all his mistakes in the Super Bowl.

6marK6
6marK6

8-8 does not translate to "earned" playoff spot. Same could be said about Chargers.

RobOlds
RobOlds

The Steelers missed the playoffs because of their piss poor 0-4 start, not because of the Chiefs-Chargers game yesterday.  They finished the year by winning 6 of their last 8 games, but it wasn't good enough because of the first half of their season.

Steve Phillips
Steve Phillips

Maybe the NFL should have an open line for officials to answer like the PGA seemingly has on tour for fans to call in to point out rules infractions. If I were the Steelers, in today's world, I'd sue the NFL for first round playoff money for each member of the Steeler organization.

What the hell good is instant replay if the instant replay official is only going to review some scoring plays?

cardogpush
cardogpush

the steelers missed the playoffs due to horrid losses to bad teams like oakland and minnesota not some dopey calls by another of the incompetent ref crews ... 

but the refs  should get hammered the way roger dodger hammers players for "suspect " hits .

he is presiding over the decline of the greatest sport in the country by babying qbs and wrs and turning the league into arena football  or basketball on grass 

 fiddle away roger fiddle away


 as the flames burn hotter

yinzinflorida
yinzinflorida

Yes, the Steelers now will not be in the playoffs due to a violation of NFL rules during the Chief's failed field goal attempt.

This reminds me of the NFL fining Mike Tomlin 100,000 and also taking a draft pick from the Steelers. So in fairness why not fine, the NFL referees or better yet Roger Goodall the same amount plus GIVE the Steelers their robbed draft pick back.

I think the right answer for both cases is to admit error, and say the game has calls and refs and coach cannot be perfect.

So give Coach Tomlin his money BACK.

Johnnyd1414
Johnnyd1414

I still say player on far right was behind defensive line of scrimmage.  Below is the rule from the NFL Rule Book - Rule 9, Section 1, Article 3 (b) (1)


https://www.nfl.info/download/2012MediaGuides/2013%20NFL%20Rule%20Book.pdf


Article 3: Defensive Team Formation 

(a) When Team A presents a punt, field-goal, or Try Kick formation, a Team B player, who is within one yard of the line of 

scrimmage, must have his entire body outside the snapper’s shoulder pads at the snap. 

(b) When Team A presents a field-goal or Try Kick formation: 

(1) No more than six Team B players may be on the line of scrimmage on either side of the snapper at the 

snap; and 


carg04
carg04

no one cares.  it had zero impact on the outcome of the play.


the snap was good, the hold good and the line didn't collapse.  the kicker shanked it, plain & simple.  move on.

vinny.fazio
vinny.fazio

If this would have happened with the replacement refs Magic Mike Pereira and the rest of the dopey pundits out there would be screaming their heads off. The officiating in the NFL always has been a joke but seems to have gotten worse since they were empowered by that ridiculous strike. They change the outcomes of games on the regular. The NFL needs fewer rules and less responsibility for the refs. Let the dudes play and decide the outcome. Quit letting a man's game get decided by little 65 year old pip-squeaks.

rentistoohigh
rentistoohigh

Succop missed an easy FG he should have made with the game on the line


no block...just a choke 


game over shi--tsburgh

TCUfan
TCUfan

Looks like 8 players to one side, not seven. If you're going to point these things out, SI, get it right.

jbc123
jbc123

Those two Ref's who are standing 15 feet from the illegal formation should be fired. If there were repercussions for these idiotic calls they would become fewer in number. Really humorous that the Steelers are out however.

stroman1959
stroman1959

Thank You referees for missing that call. It kept the Steelers out of the playoffs yeahhhhhhhhhhhhh

DSM
DSM

Tellme again why the replacement refs were such a disgrace compared to the much more lavishly paid regulars?

Zeshan
Zeshan

As a Seahawks fan, my heart really goes out to the Steelers. Nah, who'm I kidding? I think it's HIGHLARIOUS! Bwahahahahaha!

JimiScheid
JimiScheid

Let's face it: a blown call is one thing, but one that effects the playoff hopes for the Steelers is another thing.....another really really really great thing that couldn't happen to a more deserving team.  Not seeing Pittsburgh on television anymore this season = priceless.  Thanks, refs!

FifthInTheOrder
FifthInTheOrder

@JoseCampa  "on Monday afternoon, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said that he called a timeout specifically so that the formation could be reviewed (which, per the NFL, it couldn’t).

“That was for a reason. I saw it. I couldn’t challenge. The only thing I had was a timeout, so I called it so maybe they would take a peek ..."


Someone does not care to read throughout the article, thank you very much.

Frotoon
Frotoon

Can't challenge non-calls even if they wanted to.

crtjr
crtjr

@MARKJ.PENTLAND while I agree that Leavy and company did a poor job officiating the game, its not worth it to  imply cheating or worse yet illegal activity. I'm a die hard Steeler fan and am more pissed with A. Steelers for leaving it up to anyone other themselves to get into the playoffs and B. Ryan "not welcomed home" Succop for missing that FG try. 


I think its disingenuous for Chargers fans to  talk trash about this method of backing into the playoffs on controversy... its like someone said ok, you can't win your way into the playoffs vs backups so we'll give it to you and then bragging that you got in and another team didn't... really?


One thing for sure, it has given me a rooting stake in this playoffs with my Steelers out and that would be whomever plays San Diego or Kansas City... hoping that KC loses on a missed Ryan Succop FG.

MARKJ.PENTLAND
MARKJ.PENTLAND

@aquaman1nj AS A PERSON WITH EXPERIENCE IN OFFICIATING IN NUMEROUS SPORTS, WHICH ISN'T THE POINT. THE POINT IS EVERYONE SITTING IN THEIR LIVING ROOM HAS THE BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE WITH NUMEROUS CAMERAS & REPLAYS......SO THEY HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE JUDGMENTAL!!!  EVEN TAKING JUDGEMENT OUT OF THE EQUATION, IT IS OBVIOUS LEAVY & HIS CREW DON'T KNOW THE RULES!!!  NO JUDGEMENT INVOLVED IN COUNTING 7 PLAYERS ON ONE SIDE OF THE BALL!!!

doogie1
doogie1

@aquaman1njI work in a factory that requires detailed instructions on making a product! If I fail at my job and the product I send out isn't Correct, I get disciplined or perhaps lose my job...what makes Your job any different? You signed-up for the criticism to make the right calls and you defend it as, "Oh well, ten refs didn't see it so Our job shouldn't be scrutinized!"  You signed-up to an official...should we expect Less! Poor Referee, too blind to get a paycheck!

EdgarMartinez
EdgarMartinez

@aquaman1nj, the problem is there is no punishment in the NFL for bad officiating. They are unfireable employees, and unpunishable due to their union. A bad pop warner, high school, or div3 official can be fired or punished easily.

But most of what is happening with bad calls now I don't even blame the refs for. They have been told to call damn near anything a personal foul or pass interference anymore

joey311164
joey311164

@6marK6Guess you forgot that a few years ago Seattle "earned" a division title with a 7 - 9 record, moron.

KevinB2014
KevinB2014

@RobOlds Exactly. When you have an 8-8 record you can't point to one blown call and indignantly blame that for missing the playoffs. There were a few thousand other reasons as well. Imagine how many missed blocks, missed catches, bad throws, bad reads, bad play calls, missed kicks, you name it. Sports fans so often lock onto the last thing that happened as the reason for winning or losing a game, or even a season. It's the last thing; it's certainly not the only thing. If you want to make the playoffs, here's a good strategy: play better than .500 ball.

BosephHeyden
BosephHeyden

@psychsportsI know you're trying to advertise your site and all, but if you're going to do that, please don't use cliches that don't fit.  By saying "you get what you pay for," that implies that the NFL is paying the referees very little.  They're not.  They're overpaying guys that are already millionaires.  If anything, they're not getting what they paid for even a little.

zereoue20
zereoue20

@carg04 Remember that the next your QB gets his teeth knocked out a few seconds after completing a pass. Shouldn't be a penalty since pass was caught? Offsides shouldn't be counted if the QB is able to throw before the rush gets there? 

F4
F4

7 on the line of scrimmage

9yanks7
9yanks7

@DSM Officiating in ALL sports has been horrible for at least the last two seasons.

tlm773458
tlm773458

@Zeshan Would the reason for that be that we waxed your a$$e$ in SB XL?  Especially after that moron Alexander talked smack the entire 2 weeks prior to the game? 

FinAdikt
FinAdikt

@crtjr@MARKJ.PENTLANDmost chargers fans are not happy to make it into the playoffs like this...on "controversy"...but we did have some games where we lost due to controversial calls...i think its disingenuous for steelers fans to blame everybody else but theyre team on not making it into the playoffs...i used to like the steelers...but after this and hearing the whining from steelers fans from this day forward i will be rooting against the steelers just on general principal..

BFitzy
BFitzy

@MARKJ.PENTLAND@aquaman1njCaps Lock <------- ASDF...


Also, bad calls/no-calls are a part of the game. Plenty of teams this season have won and lost games as a result of a poor officiating judgement. In fact, this scenario isn't even unique to football.


You're just upset because I'm willing to bet you're a Steeler's fan who would rather blame the missed post-season opportunity on a referee instead of your team's pathetic start to the season.

aquaman1nj
aquaman1nj

@EdgarMartinez I agree that in any occupation, if there is no accountability, you run the risk of complacency and poor quality.  In the photo at the top of this article you can clearly see that there are two officials very close behind the defensive line of scrimmage...what if the official to the right says to the NFL that in his judgement, the man to the far right was far enough off the line to be considered not on the line of scrimmage...should he be disciplined for his judgement?? That's my point...there are a lot of people, who until yesterday, wouldn't have even known that there was such a rule, yet they now have something to say about it.  I'd also like to know the reasoning as to why there can't be more than 6  to one side of the ball or the other.  ??  What if KC had faked the FG and ran away from the stacked defensive line...maybe scored a touchdown??


BFitzy
BFitzy

@zereoue20@carg04Yeah, except Succop didn't get his teeth knocked out... Clearly it was an illegal formation and the call should have been made, but the point is the penalty did not affect the snap, hold or kick even one iota, so this no-call is just a cop-out for a FG that should have been made and a game that KC should have won.

boltmanlives
boltmanlives

Speak for yourself us Charger fans have been jobbed so much in other games we feel A-OK being in the Playoffs and our team has a good shot at the Lombardi.

Frotoon
Frotoon

"I'd also like to know the reasoning as to why there can't be more than 6  to one side of the ball or the other"

It's a safety issue. If too many defensive lineman overload an offensive player, the offensive player is at high risk of injury.

aquaman1nj
aquaman1nj

@EdgarMartinez, Hey Edgar, wasn't Bill Levy the referee??  This would not have been his call to make.  Under the mechanics of officiating teams, the referee's responsibility is to the officiate the issues of the offense and in a field goal situation to watch for contact against the holder and the kicker.  He would have been too far into the offensive backfield to make a judgement if all 7 defensive players are on the line or not.  This would have been more a judgement for the linesman, head linesman, and the side judge, collectively.  please check out this url...it will help.  http://blog.nola.com/saints_impact/2009/09/NFL-referee-positions-duties.pdf

EdgarMartinez
EdgarMartinez

@aquaman1nj@EdgarMartinez, Bill Levy has a bad history. That's my point. He's trained to enforce the rules, as crazy as you or even he thinks they are. It doesn't matter why the rules committee chose any particular rule. It's his job to make sure games are called fairly and evenly. Refs are trained on any new rule changes in the offseason. 

But he'll keep his job and his huge salary and probably won't feel bad enough that he's cost both the Seahawks and Steelers now big games.