Steelers fans, you might want to turn away from this one. It's going to hurt.
In a year of officiating nightmares, Pittsburgh's season might have ended on one. The scenario: Kansas City vs. San Diego, four seconds remaining, the Chiefs setting up for a potential game-winning field goal. Ryan Succop's 41-yard kick drifted just right, sending the game into an overtime where the Chiefs would eventually lose. San Diego's victory bounced the Steelers from a playoff position.
But as it turns out, Succop should have gotten another crack at the field goal. Jim Daopoulos, a former NFL referee with 11 years of experience, took to Twitter to point out something curious about San Diego's formation on the field goal:
As Daopoulos pointed out, San Diego had seven people on one side of the center, which is an illegal formation. It should have been a five-yard penalty and a re-kick. Instead, this kick remained good:
And soon afterward, the Chiefs lost. It didn't cost Kansas City anything; the Chiefs were already locked into the fifth seed, and most starters rested on Sunday. But the Steelers could have completed an improbable playoff run. Just as significantly, the NFL could have kept at least some of the scathing criticism about its officiating at bay. Instead, here we are. Fire away, Steelers fans.