Steelers-Chargers: Wild Play, Bad Call Cost Some Gamblers

Andrew KahnCorrespondent INovember 16, 2008

The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the San Diego Chargers, 11-10, on Sunday. And that result was enough to make NFL history.

The final score was the first of its kind in 12,837 games. What makes this even more interesting is that it really shouldn't have been the final outcome.

With five seconds left and San Diego trailing by one, Philip Rivers completed a pass to LaDainian Tomlinson, who then pitched it to Chris Chambers. Chambers tried to toss it backwards to another teammate, but Pittsburgh's Troy Polamalu batted it away before scooping it and taking it into the end zone.

Originally ruled a touchdown for the Steelers, a replay overturned the call on the field, as the official claimed there was an illegal forward pass. Since the play would have been dead the moment San Diego committed the illegal pass, the score was disallowed and the final score remained 11-10.

However, referee Scott Green said the officials realized afterwards that the call on the field should have stood. Of course, this was too late. The 11-10 final was indeed the official score.

To those on the sidelines, and to most fans, whether the Steelers won by one point or seven (or eight, had the Steelers kicked an extra point) did not matter. As they so often say in sports, a win is a win.

But to many sports gamblers, a win is not always a win. The point spread for the game in most casinos had Pittsburgh between a 3.5 and five-point favorite. So the non-touchdown as time expired was the difference between a Steelers cover and a Chargers cover.

Casinos, as expected, honored the 11-10 result and paid those who bet on the Chargers and took the points and did not pay those who bet on Pittsburgh. It created an interesting scene in some sportsbooks.

Robert Kowalski, a supervisor at the sportsbook in the Wynn Casino in Las Vegas, said there were a lot of Steelers fans watching at his sportsbook.

"At first the ref shows a touchdown sign, and everyone is going crazy because (Pittsburgh) covered," Kowalski said. "Then the score flashes 11-10 and we post it and it was an equally loud crowd, and they were all pretty upset."

Todd Fuhrman, a sportsbook Supervisor at Caesar's Palace, said there wasn't much of an uproar.

“We've had a handful of people that were more curious than anything else," he said.

"It didn't create nearly the same headaches as that Phillies-Rays game."


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