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Conspiracy Theory? Refs Screw Up Call, Steelers Don’t Cover vs. Chargers

So Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh the Steelers had just kicked a field goal taking an 11-10 lead on the Chargers. San Diego had one play left after the kickoff and decided to throw over the middle where they attempted to lateral their way up the field. That fun lasted for a few seconds before Troy Polamalu broke up one of the laterals, recovered it, and ran it in for a touchdown that made the score 17-10 Steelers at the final gun (watch the video here). Naturally I was pleased considering the Steelers were one of Doc Brown’s picks to cover the 5.5 spread. That fluke play would have given me the win and would have swung millions of betting dollars in Vegas and in the online sportsbooks. Only problem is the referees decided to review the final play where they overturned the ruling, saying there was an illegal forward lateral that killed the play prior to Polamalu’s touchdown. Final score: 11-10. Here’s the kicker from the San Diego Union-Tribune via Rotoworld:

[Referee Scott] Green ruled (correctly, by the way) that LaDainian Tomlinson’s lateral to Chris Chambers was forward, and therefore illegal. But he said the play should have been killed at the spot of that pass, thereby ending the game right there, before Polamalu ever touched the ball.

After the game, however, the league told Green — and Green admitted to a pool reporter — that “the rule was misinterpreted” and the touchdown SHOULD HAVE COUNTED because the ball never hit the ground.

Far be it from me to think that the referees can talk to someone in New York or the league office when ruling on a play from the instant replay booth on the field. Far be it from me to think they told him to rule the play dead and keep it at an 11-10 score since most of the money was on Pittsburgh. Far be it from me to think there’s any sort of a conspiracy working here! If there’s more proof that some of this stuff is fixed, then I don’t know what it is. Or maybe it’s some sort of wanna-be makeup call to the Chargers for Hochuli screwing them against the Broncos, not that this would have undid San Diego’s loss. There’s some fishy stuff going on here I tell you and it all meets the eye!

UPDATE: A statement from the league office confirms the mistake, outlining the rules for the situation

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Best Referee Penalty Call Ever

We’re all pretty familiar with the dissertations Ed Hochuli gives when handing out penalties. And when it comes to cinema, the description from Necessary Roughness was pretty tight. But as far as real life football goes, this might just be the best penalty call EVA:

Thanks to the Brothers, Mottram of Mr. Irrelevant. I am somewhat alarmed, as this referee may have jacked the line!

Being an NFL Official Is Not Safe

This is why you must be on the look out for everything … head on a swivel, head on a swivel, head on a swivel …

Yes, that was from Sunday night’s Steelers/Eagles game. I know they don’t do it full time, but I sure hope the refs get good health benefits.

Chest Bump to The 700 Level for the video.

Tim Donaghy Was Pretty Good at That Whole Fixing Games Thing

Henry Abbott at True Hoop has some excellent info on the Tim Donaghy scandal. Matter of fact, it was so good, ESPN was promoting it on the front page of their website. Betting expert and founder of Pregame.com, RJ Bell, sent an email over to Henry with some juicy content. From True Hoop:

Fact #1: The first 15 games of the 2006-07 refereed by Tim Donaghy that had big enough betting to move the point spread by at least 1.5 points were PERFECT against Las Vegas – meaning that the big money gamblers won a 15 of 15 times on his games. The odds of that happening randomly are 32,768 to 1.

Last season alone, 13 games refereed by Tim Donaghy fell within A SINGLE POINT of the Las Vegas point spread. In the last two seasons alone, the winner of 14 NBA games refereed by Tim Donaghy was decided by a single bucket or less.

Yeah, what I said in the title was a complete understatement.  This guy knew exactly what he was doing.  And from the sounds of things, he was getting paid quite well for his services.

More Tim Donaghy on LBS:
Tim Donaghy’s Bookies Were Only Mob Wanna-Be’s
Uh Oh, Did an NBA Ref Bet on Games?

Tim Donaghy’s Bookies Were Only Mob Wanna-bes, So We’re Told

Boo, Boo!!! Disappointment!!! That’s what the New York Daily News is reporting, leaving me quite saddened here. Actually, that’s really good news for the NBA, you know, that the Gambino family might not have been involved as was originally suspected. But who knows at this point. From the Daily News report:

Two catholic high school chums of disgraced referee Tim Donaghy have been identified as the bookies in a gambling scandal rocking the NBA, the Daily News has learned.

But the two bet-takers apparently exaggerated their Mafia connections. “They’re nobodies,” a law enforcement source said.

The mob wanna-bes attended Cardinal O’Hara High School in Springfield, Pa., with Donaghy, who was a varsity standout on the school’s basketball and baseball teams.

Hah, sounds just like a couple of wanna-bes who were trying to make a name for themselves. Or, are they just changing their stories to try and protect others? This is a tough call, but lets hope for the League’s sake that these guys were indeed nobodies. I think that would certainly help David Stern breathe easier.

More on Tim Donaghy:
Uh Oh, Did an NBA Ref Bet on Games?

Uh-oh! Did an NBA Ref Bet on Games?

Jimmy the GreekThis is deep doodoo for the NBA — really bad news. Apparently the ref in question got himself into the trouble by wagering on games with the wrong people to begin with. From the New York Post:

THE FBI is investigating an NBA referee who allegedly was betting on basketball games – including ones he was officiating during the past two seasons – as part of an organized-crime probe in the Big Apple, The Post has learned.

The sources indicated the referee apparently had a gambling problem, slipped into debt and fell prey to mob thugs.

“That’s how he got himself into this predicament” by wagering with mob-connected bookies, one source said.

Now that is some messed up stuff if I’ve ever seen anything. You know, wouldn’t be the first time people had suspicions that games were fixed and that the refs had something to do with it. This would give us second thoughts every single time we saw a questionable foul called towards the end of a game. This is incredible. This is insane. This will positively blow the lid off of sports.

Big Ups to SPORTSbyBROOKS who was all over this story

All We Can Ask Refs for is Consistency

My first question asked to Pistons connoisseur and proprietor of Detroit Bad Boys, Matt Watson, in regards to Detroit’s Game 2 victory was, “was that a foul by Rip on LeBron?” You figure someone with a natural bias like his would flat-out say no, or say it was questionable. Or say it was just good defense. Instead, he pointed out something else — the opinion that the refs hadn’t been calling those fouls all game long. And you know what — he’s right. It doesn’t matter if the refs call it a foul, or let the guys play. What matters is that they’re consistent.

See, the officials meet with the teams before each series. They make their policy well-known way in advance — notifying players and coaches what will fly and what won’t. And if teams know they will be allowed a lot of wiggle room on defense, then who’s to blame them for taking advantage of it? All I know is that the refs were consistent last night, and that’s all we can ask of them. On another note, why wasn’t more of a deal made about this questionable elbow by LeBron in Game 1, as noted at DBB via True Hoop:

hmm, looks pretty bad to me.