Kicker Ryan Succop looks on from the sidelines after missing a 41-yard field goal at the end of regulation play against the San Diego Chargers on December 29, 2013
The NFL did, indeed need to issue a statement when it learned the Chargers were not called for a penalty on Ryan Succop’s missed field goal on Sunday.
Kansas City, join the club.
The Chiefs (and by extension the Steelers, who were kept out of the playoffs when the Chargers won) are hardly the only ones to end up on the short of the stick when it comes to officiating mistakes this season. In fact, I seem to recall one that cost the Chargers themselves a game.
Remember the season opener on Monday Night Football, when San Diego lost to Houston 31-28? In that game, Chargers defensive tackle Cam Thomas was called for a penalty on a field goal attempt that gave the Texans a first down, then a touchdown. Here’s what NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said about it:
“No, this was not a correct call. This is not the intent of the rule as it was written. The rule is to protect the snapper on a field goal or extra point from a direct forcible blow to the head or neck area, or with the crown/forehead/hairline parts of the helmet to the body. It was not designed to prohibit any contact with the snapper, which is what happened on this play.”
The call cost the Chargers four points, and they lost by three points. Had they won that game, they would have had the playoff spot that Pittsburgh fans are so upset about missing out on locked up before kickoff. In the NFL, where every game has an impact on the season, a blown call in Week 17 is no more important than a blown call in Week 1.
Officiating mistakes are an unfortunate part of life in professional sports.
Just mention the name Matt Holliday to any Padres fan and see what happens. The NFL puts in a new set of rules before every season. It’s up to them to make sure all their officials know how to properly enforce them. So, sure the Chargers got lucky on Sunday. Let’s just say it’s a make-up call for not getting lucky back in September.