Pennsylvania Man Sues NFL After Chargers Make Playoffs on Missed Call

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2014

Dec 29, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers players celebrate after a win against the Kansas City Chiefs at Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers won 27-24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

The San Diego Chargers are preparing to face off with the Denver Broncos in the divisional round of the 2013-14 NFL playoffs are beating the Cincinnati Bengals last week in the Wild Card Round. If a Pennsylvania man had his way, however, the Chargers wouldn't have even made the postseason.

A report from The Baltimore Sun states Daniel L. Spuck filed a motion against the league before last weekend's wild-card matchup in an attempt to stop the playoffs from starting. The suit was based on a missed penalty call in Week 17 when the Bolts played the Kansas City Chiefs; the motivation was based on the fact that the Chargers got into the playoffs over the Pittsburgh Steelers.    

Along with requesting "a temporary emergency injunction" to keep the Chargers from taking part in the playoffs, he also included some potential ways to solve the problem:

In the filing, Spuck suggested some possible remedies for the missed call. The NFL could suspend the playoffs for a week to 10 days, allow Succop to re-kick the field goal, or let the Steelers play the Chargers at a neutral site to determine who plays on.

Dec 29, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop (6) prior to the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

None of those suggestions occurred, of course. San Diego took advantage of its second chance, beat the Chiefs in overtime and proceeded to roll past the Bengals in the first round of the playoffs. Now the team stands two wins away from the Super Bowl.   

There's no denying the call was missed when Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop failed to convert a field-goal attempt in San Diego's Week 17 win. ESPN passed along a statement issued by the league in which it admitted the error:

"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."

Unfortunately for Spuck and Steelers fans around the country, there was never a realistic chance the result would be overturned by the NFL.

There's no guarantee Succop would have converted if given another opportunity following a penalty call, and the NFL wasn't going to alter its playoff schedule to accommodate a play-in game.

Furthermore, the botched formation call was far from the only infraction missed during the regular season; teams around the league could argue they would have won a certain game if not for a bad call. This one just got a lot more attention because it was the final week of the regular season and had immediate playoff repercussions.

In other words, it's an interesting story, but the playoffs roll on with the Chargers focused on scoring their second straight upset.


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