(Highlight found at Sports on My Mind.)
….the NFL might be the one you call on, your candyman, the one who gives you more and more, if you’re Vegas. A 3.5 point spread in the Steelers’ favor, a last second touchdown on desperation laterals. 17-10 or 18-10, until the replay booth upstairs decided that the first lateral by LaDainian Tomlinson was a forward pass — which I have looked about a dozen times now and still don’t know where the hell that call came from. The official admitted the overturning of the call was botched, but it still doesn’t hold water.
You know this is whipping up a storm at NFL offices, because they’re sending emails about the rules to people like me, who don’t mean squat in the grand scheme. Here is part of the explanation:
There were three passes on the play. The first was a completed forward pass from San Diego’s Philip Rivers to LaDainian Tomlinson. The second, from Tomlinson to Chris Chambers, was initially ruled a legal backward pass but then reversed in replay to an illegal forward pass. The third, from Chambers, was a legal backward pass that hit the ground and was returned for the touchdown by Pittsburgh’s Polamalu.
The incorrect reversal of the on-field ruling of touchdown was acknowledged immediately following the game by referee Scott Green in the pool report interview with a representative of the media.
If any forward pass, legal or illegal, hits the ground, the play is dead immediately. The officiating crew mistakenly determined that the backward pass that Polamalu legally recovered and returned for the touchdown was the pass that was reversed in replay to being forward and illegal. Therefore, the crew ruled that the ball was dead when it hit the ground and the play was over. (The actual illegal forward pass – Tomlinson to Chambers – did not hit the ground and therefore the play is allowed to continue.)
If the situation had been handled properly, the defense (Pittsburgh) would have declined the penalty for an illegal forward pass from Tomlinson to Chambers and taken the touchdown.
So, a call is handled correctly by Jeff Triplette and his usually unconscionably bad officiating crew (13 penalties on the Steelers to one for the Chargers, including a complete BS pass interference call on Ike Taylor that should have been called on Vincent Jackson), yet it’s overruled by the replay booth incorrectly; as they don’t even have rule books on hand, apparently.
That was a $64 million dollar swing to Vegas right there on a bizarre play. You’ll have to excuse me if I think that there wasn’t some minor consideration of that. With that in mind, when do the big sports orgs loosen up and, y’know, actually acknowledge that people gamble on sports? It’s kind of childish and pie-in-the-sky not to, plus, in the case of sports leagues, they can sweep accusations under the rug becuase the people that cover them won’t bother with discussing it. It’s the same “speak no evil” policy that gave the NBA Tim Donaghy.
Again, we don’t have conclusive proof of a fix being in, but this is very, very suspect.