The NFL admitted Monday that its refs made a big mistake by missing a penalty that likely would have changed the outcome of this week's game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Diego Chargers. The error also likely changed the AFC playoff picture.
On what would have been a game-winning play, Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop missed a 41-yard field goal in the final seconds. If he made the kick, the Chiefs would have won and the Pittsburgh Steelers would be heading to the playoffs instead of the Chargers.
However, Succop should have gotten another shot at the kick, only five yards closer, after the Chargers lined up with seven men on the line of scrimmage to one side of the snapper. Unfortunately for Chiefs and Steelers fans, the refs missed the penalty on the key play.
Kansas City Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop misses the possible game-winning field goal against the San Diego Chargers during the closing seconds of regulation of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013, in San Diego. The Chargers eventually won the game 27-24 in overtime. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)
"The NFL officials have not had a very good year. There have been a number of missed calls this season. This one was not a judgment call, it was a black-and-white rule that the officials simply missed," Yahoo! Sports notes.
On Monday, the NFL released a statement acknowledging the error, which likely won't satisfy Steelers fans much:
"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," the league said in a statement.
"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."
The apology from the league does not get the Steelers into the playoffs.
Watch the play -- and some humorous commentary by a Steelers fan -- below: