NFL: Refs erred on missed Chiefs FG that cost Steelers postseason bid
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is taking no consolation from the NFL's admission the Chargers lined up illegally on the failed 41-yard field goal try by the Chiefs' Ryan Succop that kept Pittsburgh out of the playoffs.
“I think it's just best that I wrap a bow around the season and move on from there,” Tomlin said Monday. “I am not looking to assess blame on anybody else about our current position other than ourselves.”
But Tomlin said “a lot of work must be done from an officiating standpoint” — possibly including the hiring of full-time officials, an issue he might address as a new member of the NFL's Competition Committee.
On the field goal try with eight seconds remaining Sunday, the Chargers lined up seven defenders to the left of the center. A rules change enacted during the offseason permits only six players to be on either side of the center on a kick; the rule is designed to prevent teams from stacking a huge number of defenders on one side of the ball to attempt to block a kick.
With a multitude of defenders surging toward him from his left, Succop watched his kick sail slightly wide right. The Chargers went on to win in overtime, 27-24 — sending them to Cincinnati for a wild-card game Sunday and sending the Steelers home with an 8-8 record. The Steelers would have advanced with a Kansas City win.
If referee Bill Leavy's crew had penalized the Chargers, Succop would have tried a 36-yard field goal, rather than 41 yards. The play was not reviewable since there was no call on the field.
Tomlin, speaking at his season-ending news conference, said he noticed immediately on TV that the Chargers were lined up improperly. Asked his reaction, Tomlin said, “I'll leave that between myself, my sons and our basement.”
Tomlin was diplomatic about discussing the missed call, saying the NFL issued a statement, and he didn't want to expand beyond that.
However, asked his reaction to the way the game ended, Tomlin said, “What do you think?”
Wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery said the Steelers can't blame the league, the officials or Succop for missing the playoffs.
“At the end of the day, we have to start better,” he said, refereeing to their 0-4 September. “You don't want to be on your couch, hoping that a kicker makes a field goal for you to get into the playoffs.”
Still, of the officiating in general, Tomlin said, “There is a lot of work that needs to be done … I think it has been played out and well documented over the last several weeks, not only in stadiums we have played in but others. I look forward to being part of the process of helping it improve. I think that's the mentality that we all should have.
“I intend to roll my sleeves up and offer any insight I can in terms of making this the very best it can be moving forward.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.