NFL admits officiating error on Chiefs’ field-goal attempt

December 30, 2013

Kansas City Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop misses a field goal that would have won the game in regulation. (Lenny Ignelzi / AP)

This is going to come as scant consolation to the Pittsburgh Steelers, but the NFL has admitted that game officials missed a call on a field-goal attempt in the game between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers.

Kansas City kicker Ryan Succop missed a field-goal attempt that would have won the game with 8 seconds left in regulation and the Chargers went on to win in overtime, advancing to a wild-card game next weekend. On Succop’s attempt, officials missed the fact that the Chargers had overloaded the line. Bill Leavy’s officiating crew should have thrown a flag, giving Succop another shot at the winner from the 36-yard-line.

The league’s statement:

“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 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 rule was adopted this year as a player safety measure.

“The penalty for illegal formation by the defense is a loss of five yards. This rule is not subject to instant replay review. Had the penalty been assessed, it would have resulted in a fourth-and-7 from the San Diego 18 with 0:04 remaining, enabling the Chiefs to attempt a 36-yard field goal.”

If Succop’s kick had been successful, five teams would have been tied for the sixth AFC playoff seed — and the Steelers had the tiebreaker there.

Oof. It’s another officiating blunder that the league has admitted in a season that was filled with them. This one, though, may have changed the playoff picture.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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Cindy Boren · December 30, 2013