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Officiating error proves pivotal in Chiefs-Chargers game

December 30, 2013|By Sam Farmer

NFL officials blew a call at the end of regulation that probably would have changed the outcome of Kansas City’s game at San Diego.

On the would-be game-winning 41-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining by Kansas City’s Ryan Succop — one he narrowly missed — the Chargers lined up in an illegal formation, with seven defenders on the line of scrimmage to one side of the snapper. The maximum allowable is six players.

Had the infraction been called, Succop would have gotten another chance from five yards closer.

But referee Bill Leavy’s crew missed that. The game went into overtime, and the Chargers won.

The loss didn’t affect the Chiefs; they were locked in as the No. 5 seed in the playoffs. But it meant everything to Pittsburgh, which would have made the playoffs if the Chargers lost.

It has been a rough year for NFL officiating, and Sunday’s gaffe won’t make it easier. The last thing the NFL wants is for officiating errors to be as much as part of the Monday conversation as how the players performed in the games.

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