The Pittsburgh Steelers vs. San Diego Charger game just confirms what gamblers already knew. If NFL games aren't outright fixed, at the very least there are strong influential factors from the game within the game that effect the outcome of some contests. The Steeler game is the shining example that wagering on professional football is officially acknowledged by the League in some capacity.
Down by 1 with 5 seconds to play and needing 80 yards for a winning score, the San Diego Chargers, who happened to be 4 point dogs, tried a desperate combination of laterals hoping for a miracle TD. The second of two legal backwards laterals was knocked down and then scooped up for a game covering TD by Troy Polamalu with no time left.
Here's the play.
As the teams exited the field the referees huddled up and decided to review the play. Head referee Scott Green, in a sheepishly convoluted explanation, deemed the play an illegal forward pass that was therefore dead on the spot. The points were taken off, and Scott Green and crew hauled ass off the field. WTF? What illegal forward pass? There was none. Here's an AP interview with Scott Green, conducted by an AP reporter right after the game.
''We should have let the play go through in the end, yes,'' Green said. ''It was misinterpreted that instead of killing the play, we should have let the play go through.''
Green said the confusion occurred because there was a misunderstanding about whether Rivers' pass or Tomlinson's lateral was in question.
''The first pass was the one that was illegal, but it only kills the play if it hits the ground,'' Green said. ''That was incorrect to have killed it at that point. The ruling should have let the play go on. That's just the way that it played out. We believe the second pass (by Tomlinson) was legal.''
Green was asked why, since the first pass by Rivers did not hit the ground, the officials decided after huddling that the play should have ended there.
''We didn't kill it on the field,'' Green said. ''After (the) discussion we decided ... there was some confusion over which pass we were talking about and it was decided that it was the second pass that was illegal that did hit the ground and therefore we killed the play there.''
However, the officials realized afterward they erred.
''I know,'' Green said. ''The rule was misinterpreted.''
Asked about the officiating - the Steelers drew 115 yards in penalties to the Chargers' 5 - Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin declined to comment.
''No, I have never seen a game ended with 13-to-1 in penalties, but I am not answering questions about the officiating,'' Tomlin said.
So without the gambling angle in play, try to logically answer these questions.
Why else would a meaningless play in the grand scheme of determining a winner or loser be reviewed with no time on the clock? Why would this meaningless play then be incorrectly overturned by replay officials when it was called correctly on the field? Why else would the field official be admittedly confused about what aspect of the play was being reviewed and then consequently overturned? Why is there mass confusion on what actually happened on the play?
Oh and by the way, aside from the horrendous overturned call and the huge disparity in penalties, another game covering touchdown was also called back for holding on 3rd and goal from the four with under a minute left. Pittsburgh had to settle for a field goal instead.
RJ Bell of Pregame.com claims that the reversal led to a $64 million dollar swing in favor of Las Vegas books. And yes, I had the Steelers -4.