So you had the Steelers and were giving 4.5 or 5 points, you may have thought you were getting screwed by referee Scott Green's decision to overturn Troy Polamalu's final-play touchdown. Now you can know for sure.
After the game, Green said he blew it:
Reporter: "So if the first pass didn't hit the ground, why was the play killed?'
Green: "We didn't kill it on the field. After 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.'
Reporter: "But the second pass was legal?'
Green: "I know. The rule was misinterpreted.'
Reporter: "So it should have been a touchdown?'
Green: "We should have let the play go through in the end, yes. It was misinterpreted that instead of killing the play, we should have let the play go through.'
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So the final score should have been Steelers 17, Chargers 10 (or Steelers 18, Chargers 10 if they made the Steelers kick the extra point). Instead it's Steelers 11, Chargers 10. Very few decisions will do more to anger gamblers and fantasy football players around the country.
And while it's unlikely it will come down to this, point differential is also a tiebreaker for NFL playoff spots, so there's a very small chance that the mistake could cost the Steelers a playoff spot or seeding as well.
But there's one thing I don't understand. Green said he misinterpreted the rule. There are very few times in NFL history that such a screw-up can be fixed after the fact, but in this case it can. Why can't the NFL just announce that the mistake will be fixed, the final score is Steelers 17, Chargers 10, and everyone walks away happy (except gamblers who bet on the Chargers). In almost any other instance, you can't go back and fix a misinterpreted rule because the rest of the game after that screw-up would have been played differently, but in this case, it already was the final play of the game, so announcing that the touchdown did count would simply right the wrong.
But the NFL isn't likely to do that, and over the next couple of days, they'll likely try to downplay how many dollars changed hands over their end-of-game screwup.