A House Divided

Steelers Fever Exclusive Editorial

Monday, December 30th, 2013
By Tiger Rowan
Steelers Fever Columnist

My wife is a life-long Chargers fan. That said, for the duration of our marriage, she has watched every single Steelers game with me, and more importantly, she has supported the Steelers, just as strongly as I have.

Then came the Chiefs-Chargers game. And, for the first time, our alliances were divided. Bets had already been placed at sports bookmaker bwin and we was ready for the game.

Now, we have watched several Steelers-Chargers games over the years, but those games were different. There was friendly banter, as well as interesting wagering. But, never once was anything as big as a playoff berth been at risk… until the Chiefs-Chargers game.

As Ryan Succop lined up to kick the game-winning field goal, which would have launched the Steelers into the sixth seed, I rubbed my wife's back tenderly. And then, Succop missed. Needless to say, I was in shock… and my wife breathed a sigh of relief.

Fast-forward to overtime, when San Diego went for a fake punt on fourth down. The ball came out, a Chiefs defender had the ball, and that Chiefs defender ran into the end-zone. I tried to control my excitement, but then… Bill Leavy said that the Chargers player's forward progress had been stopped: first down San Diego. Once again, I was in shock… and my wife breathed a sigh of relief.

After San Diego took the lead, Kansas City was driving, my wife was once again tensing up… and then, the game was over, and for one final time, I was in shock… and my wife breathed a sigh of relief.

Seeing how my wife had supported me & my Steelers for quite a long time, I told her that I would root for her Chargers with equal vigor.

But, deep inside of me, I was torn.

I love my wife, and I wanted to support my wife's team (just as she has always supported my team)… but, I could not shake an unnerving feeling in my gut. That Chargers victory just felt wrong. In turn, I did what any loving husband would do: I started reading news stories and listening to analysts on different media outlets… which, alas, only confirmed what my gut had told me: the referees in the Chiefs-Steelers game botched things up.

First there was the missed field goal. Do not get me wrong: Ryan Succop is now my Scott Norwood, and in turn, he shall not be receiving a Christmas card from me next year. But, adding salt to my already gaping wound, was the fact that the Chargers had used an illegal formation: seven guys lined up on the right side. Maybe Succop looked over and saw two unblocked Chargers, and thus, he shanked the field goal (or, maybe he just sucks); regardless, it should have been a five-yard penalty and a re-kick.

Andy Reid noticed the illegal formation, and he called a time out, in order to point it out to the referees, but they said that the play was "not reviewable." This makes the second (soon to be third) time in two weeks, that I have heard that phrase ("not reviewable"). My question last week, as well as this week is: Why not???

Missed calls occur; I get that. But, when those calls are blatantly obvious, but can not be reviewed, it makes no sense not to review them. The referees can analyze if a wide receiver has his left pinky on the ball for exactly three seconds, without juggling the ball, while simultaneously getting every single millimeter of his foot in bounds…. but, the referees are not allowed to look at the tape, in order to see if six or seven guys are lined up on the line of scrimmage. That makes absolutely no sense to me.

So… I did what any devoted spouse would do: I read more articles and listened to even more analysts.

Low & behold, an even more flagrant "non-reviewable" play was being discussed: the "fake punt fumble."

Dan Patrick, Marshall Faulk, Mike Pereira, and many others, flat out stated that the "fake punt fumble" was indeed just that: a fumble. As I had felt during the game, and these analysts confirmed: the Chargers player was moving forward, and the Chiefs defender pulled the ball out & across the thirty-yard-line. Heck, one referee even followed the Chiefs defender into the end-zone… so, even the other referees thought that it was a fumble. That said, if Bill Leavy is correct, if the Chargers player's momentum had indeed been stopped, then it should have been a turnover on downs, because the Chargers player was stopped well short of the thirty-yard-line. Either way, it should have been Chiefs' ball at around the 30 yard line.

Yet, when Andy Reid asked about this play, once again, Bill Leavy informed him that the play was "not reviewable."

I get that the play was convoluted; there was a ton of moving parts, and thus, it was difficult to see exactly what was going on… which is exactly why reviewing the play (to make sure that the correct call was made) was & is so important. Not allowing certain plays to be reviewed discredits the entire review process. Either it all should be reviewable, or none of it should be.

Ultimately, there is absolutely nothing that can be done about those two blown calls. Ergo, this entire diatribe is simply my way of venting and/or crying over spilt milk. That said, I hope that the competition committee takes notice, and looks at what exactly "not reviewable" actually means.

In the meantime, now that I have said my piece, exorcised my demons, and stuck a pin in my Bill Leavy voodoo doll, I can whole-heartedly root for the Chargers. Go Bolts!!!