Skip navigation
sponsored by 

Errant call in Steelers-Chargers affects betting

Approximately $32 million in bets affected when TD wrongly overruled

Image: Tomlin
Gregory Shamus / Getty Images
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin celebrates after Pittsburgh's 11-10 victory over San Diego on Sunday.
Special feature
Oakland Raiders v Miami Dolphins
NFL's top shots
A look at the best photos from Week 11, including a primal scream from Joey Porter.

NBCSports.com

Novacek's picks
Lions will get 1st win this week
Picking weekly NFL winners: Minnesota primed to stumble, while Giants, Cowboys will win close games

NBCSports.com

Video: Football from NBC Sports
Favre, Mangini aim to keep Jets on top
Dec 4: Brett Favre and Eric Mangini look to get the Jets back on track in Week 14 when they face the 49ers in San Francisco.

Fantasy football
Reggie Wayne
Best fantasy football plays
Rotoworld.com's Chris Wesseling breaks down Week 14's top players at each position.

NBCSports.com

Slideshow
Minnesota Vikings v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sideline support
Check out some of the NFL cheerleaders from across the league.

NBCSports.com

NBCSports.com news services
updated 11:20 a.m. ET Nov. 17, 2008

PITTSBURGH - The first 11-10 game in NFL history shouldn't have ended that way, referee Scott Green said after a last-minute touchdown was errantly taken away from the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

The officiating mistake didn't affect the outcome since the Steelers still would have won, but the touchdown would have changed the score to 17-10 — or, more likely, 18-10, since the teams were lined up for an extra-point try that was never attempted.

But the call affected betting on the game since the Steelers were 5-point favorites and would have covered if the touchdown counted. An estimated $100 million was wagered on the game, Pregame.com reported, and 66 percent of that was on Pittsburgh. That means the call resulted in a swing of approximately $64 million to the bettors, Pregame.com reported.

Story continues below ↓
advertisement | your ad here

On first-and-10 from San Diego's 21 with 5 seconds remaining, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers threw a short pass to LaDainian Tomlinson over the middle for 3 yards. Tomlinson turned and made a handoff-type lateral to wide receiver Chris Chambers, who attempted to pitch the ball to a teammate only to have safety Troy Polamalu scoop it up and score from the 12.

Both teams left the field on what looked to be a game-ending play, but were called back by the officials for the extra-point attempt. At that point, the replay official called for a review.

After watching the play, Green initially announced the ruling on the field was upheld and the touchdown counted. But the officiating crew huddled again before the extra-point attempt and changed the call, deciding that an illegal forward pass should have ended the play.

Green, in a postgame interview with a pool reporter, said that call was errant — even though his explanation for the confusion was almost as confusing as the play itself.

"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 which 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 was legal."

Green was asked why, since the ball didn't hit the ground during any of the tossing, the officials decided after huddling that the play should have ended.

"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."

Slide show
Image: Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing
  Week in Sports Pictures
Dogs on the ski slopes, motorcycles in the harbor and more madness from the sports world.

more photos

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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Sponsored links