San Diego Chargers Make Playoffs On Blown Call?

The National Football League released a statement Monday that admitted the San Diego Chargers should have been penalized on the final play of regulation—a missed 41-yard field goal attempt by the Kansas City Chiefs—in Sunday’s overtime win that allowed San Diego to secure the final wildcard spot in the AFC Playoffs.

Rule 9, Section 1, Article 3 (b)(1) of the 2013 NFL Rule Book states: “No more than six Team B players may be on the line of scrimmage on either side of the snapper at the snap.”

“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 statement reads.

“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.”

Had the San Diego Chargers been assessed the 5-yard penalty on the play, Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop would have had another shot from 36 yards to try to win the game in regulation. Subsequently, the game went to overtime, where San Diego won with their own field goal from kicker Nick Novak, putting them in the postseason over three other teams contending for the wildcard spot.

Of course, there’s no guarantee Succop would have made the second attempt. Besides, the Chiefs, who had already locked up their wildcard berth a few weeks ago, were not the true victims of this uncalled penalty: the Pittsburgh Steelers are. Had San Diego lost to Kansas City, the unlikely Steelers would have advanced to the final wildcard spot after the Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens had already lost.

ESPN’s Skip Bayless weighed in on the missed penalty.

“The Steelers were robbed,” he said on ESPN’s First Take. “Succop should have gotten another opportunity from 36 yards.”

As a result of the non-call, the San Diego Chargers got the win in OT and advanced to the NFL Playoffs. San Diego is scheduled to do battle Sunday, Jan. 5 on the road against the third-seeded Cincinnati Bengals, champions of the AFC North. Kickoff for that game is 1:05 p.m. EST. The San Diego-Cincinnati game will be broadcast on CBS.

What do you think of the San Diego Chargers’ path to the playoffs?

[Photo: Ric Tapia/NFL]