For most rules, the NFL doesn’t take up the topic of potential changes until after the season has ended.  As to the specific provisions of the rule book that contributed to Sunday’s crazy finish between the Chargers and the Steelers, the league uncharacteristically could be changing the rules on the fly.
New procedures could be implemented before the playoffs, V.P. of officiating Mike Pereira said Monday.
Currently, the rules prevent the referee from returning to the replay booth.  A revision to the procedures would allow the referee to consult again with the replay official after leaving the booth.
Another possible change would prohibit the referee from conducting a conference with the other officials after viewing a replay.
On Sunday, it appears that a post-replay review conference prompted referee Scott Green to mistakenly conclude that the illegal forward pass on an exchange that resulted in a defensive score for the Steelers had struck the ground, making the play dead on the spot.
Though the ruling didn’t affect the outcome of the game, it prevented the Steelers from covering the point spread.


  1. THE POINT SPREAD DOES NOT MATTER! The NFL should not be concerned at all about whether they’re making gamblers happy or not.

  2. somehow i think leaving a decision to one referee as opposed to a group of referee’s could lead to more blown calls and more accusations of one referee fixing games

  3. Duh, yeah that first post is spot-on! Why should the NFL worry about gamblers! Gambling only creates more viewers, just like fantasy football! Duh, why should the NFL worry about that!? Duh, why should the NFL worry about total TV ratings, all they do is increase advertising revenues?! Duh, that’s not essential is it?

  4. “Ben Roethlisbunger says:
    November 17th, 2008 at 10:30 pm
    THE POINT SPREAD DOES NOT MATTER! The NFL should not be concerned at all about whether they’re making gamblers happy or not.”
    I could care less about gamblers too, but the fact is that this was a blatant missed call. There have been far too many high profile messed up calls this season for the league to be able to just continue sitting on its hands doing nothing.

  5. If the NFL does not want to PROMOTE gambling they won’t change the rules. They are reacting to the fact that bookies won. Wow.

  6. freedomispopular,
    I agree. And as a Steelers fan I would be furious if that call cost us the game. But Florio keeps harping on the spread, and despite what hesawinner says, the NFL should at least officially be opposed to gambling.

  7. If the officials can’t get it right, they should eventually defer the whole replay review process to people who actually know the rules of the NFL. I realize that’s not going to work for this season, though. It would be nice to see for next season.
    Pereira certainly is disappointing as of late. First he says refs are doing a great job and don’t deserve any criticism, and now after another stupid mistake, his solution is to allow the refs to perform a “replay do-over”. Nice. How about in addition to the “do-over”, he actually suggests something to the refs that he leads so they don’t need such measures in the first place, like learning the rules of the sport that employs them?

  8. This rule isn’t about the spread, it’s a about a ref getting talked out of what he saw in the video pup tent and not being able to refer to back to the replay a second time after discussion. The point is what if the play had decided the game and not just the spread. This is about getting a call right. So many people bust on the refs on this blog, give the league some props for trying to fix something that could cause problems down the road.

  9. Do you guys really think that the point spread is what he’s talking about here? Florio was just making light of the fact that the call had absolutely no bearing on the outcome of the game…it just affected something outside of the game. He’s not saying they should change the rules for that reason, he’s saying they should change the rules so they get it right!

  10. The real question is, didn’t they get a good enough look at it under the hood? How could anyone look at that play for as long as they did and still need to look again? Poor excuse.

  11. No, they’re changing the rules because calls are being missed…..and missed during replay of all places. What should really make you sick is that it took outrage in the gambling community to get the NFL to start acknowledging the problem of bad officiating instead of fining players and coaches for talking about it and having its VP of officiating going around talking about how it’s “unacceptable” to criticize officials. Yet again, the NFL comes up craps (no pun intended) on the PR front when trying to sweep a problem under the rug rather than dealing with it.

  12. Ref Scott Green was not availiable for comment. He’s recently moved to the Cayman Islands after a brief layover in Vegas..

  13. What is your hurry? You (officials) screwed the Steelers 13- 1(accepted);100+yards to yards. Tried to screw Palomalu on his INT> then the “GAMBLERS” oops: referees were playing the points when they took Troy’s fumble recovery for a TD away. Seems shady to me playing w/ the point spread like that & have NO CLUE as AN EXCUSE or rationalization of the call. Someone “ORDERED” those points GONE!!! Football needs FULL- TIME REFS!!( Only sport that doesn’t have them)> Pay them enough to not be tempted by gambling money. YES Roger, some of your England expeditions & Canadian trips would help pay them.Here was the conversation in the refs huddle: they are going to break my legs if I don’t lose the points from Troy’s TD!!

  14. Actually, the spread does matter for tie breakers. I don’t know all of the little tie breakers, but I know one of them is point differential.
    And it’s also that they got the call wrong. While it didn’t affect the W/L column, it very well could have.

  15. First post should receive a 10 instead of a 5. Who cares about the points spread? I swear, Florio, why do you post stuff like this up? Do you want people to rip you a new one for something as blatantly stupid as McNabb admitting he didn’t know about ties in the NFL? Seriously, the point spread? You’ve got no grounds to comment about anything stupid said by any player, coach, or towel boy in the entire NFL after posting such an ignorant comment.

  16. Maybe if refs made no decision in replay review it would be a lot better? In the NHL when a play is being reviewed the ref gives his opinion of what he saw to the NHL review officials sitting in an office in Toronto with all the video monitors of all games being played that night throughout the league. These guys are former referees who also have rulbook with them that they are experts on. It is they who decides whether a goal is overuled or allowed. And just like football, the only rulings they make to change what the ref called must be conclusive.
    There sure isn’t the same trouble in hockey after reviews and none of this Pereira bs that is now happening week after week.
    Maybe NFL could learn from NHL? Or maybe they don’t want to because this is how they make tax free money?

  17. I think a new Pic of the Day should be Florio holding his gambling tickets and crying because the Steelers didn’t meet the point spread. That would be hilarious!

  18. They shouldn’t worry about the spread, but because of the spread people are talking about this, and it has exposed a flaw in the replay system.
    The guy made the right determination and interpretation of the rules, announced it, and then changed it because they got confused in the conference. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t be able to look at the replay again to make sure the ruling is correct.
    That said, they really should just let the guy upstairs make the determination. He should be in a much more controlled and calm environment than the ref on the field in the little booth thing. I don’t know what goes on in the booth, but I’m sure the guy upstairs can have a much better set up to figure out what happened and what shoudl be done.

  19. Everyone here is missing one thing…points differential is a tiebreaker for playoff positioning. And while yes, it is only the #7 tiebreaker, you never know when it will matter. That is more likely why the NFL cares as opposed to making sure the spread is properly covered.

  20. In all fairness, I’m not a gambler, but it affected one of my friend’s fantasy football team games. (non buy-in league, just for kicks). He played the Steelers D and should have had 6 more points.

  21. 1st comment: How old are you? the NFL doesnt care about gambling? are you ignorant or live in a shell. Without gambling, the nfl would have alot less fans. just because goodell doesnt come out with his picks every week doesnt mean that they arent thinking about it. They know the deal. Less gambling equals less ratings. Its common sense. Im not even saying the game was fixed, i doubt they bet spreads. They stick to the over unders.

  22. Was I the only one that thought that it was a backward pass? And my concern about getting the play right comes down to tie-breakers for the play-offs. Before you get to the coin-toss you have the points scored. This could have monsterous implications if that comes to fruition. I could care less about the spread and fantasy. This blunder could cost the Steelers a playoff spot.

  23. Yeah, that’s the solution. Keep going back for review… What the hell is the ref up in the booth for? Why can’t he make the proper determination and call if the field ref is too dumb to make it? What, is the field ref going to review the call, walk back out to the field and tell everyone his judgement, and then all the sudden someone in the booth (or GOD) is going to call and say “wait, go back and review it again you moron”!? Yeah, that’ll work out great.
    Take your your f’ing time, come to a consensus between the field ref and booth ref, and get the damn call right the first time. How difficult can this be?!?!?

  24. Sure, lets make the game even more complicated so that the refs have more problems refereeing the game. This is beyond ridiculous. Football is not rocket science. The league needs to clean up and simplify the rule book, not make it even more convoluted than it already is.
    The game is never going to be a perfect game. If the league truly wants to do something, then they would make sure the refs don’t blow the whistle until the player with the ball is down or out of bounds. In other words, someone has to have possession of the ball before the whistle is blown. That would get rid of the inadvertent whistle garbage. The most important issue is the inadvertent whistle because that whistle blows the play dead. Not even replay can overturn the inadvertent whistle.

  25. Don’t change the rules because of gambling; change the rules to ensure that the outcome of the game is what it should be. If this blown officiating call would have resulted in either team winning or losing. Let’s say that the touchdown was needed for the Steelers to win, and the blown call resulted in them losing the game. Then by all means, make the necessary changes. Whether you’re a Chargers or Steelers fan, or any other team fan for that matter, I think it’s safe to say that all of us are getting sick of these bad calls that potentially change the outcome of the game, and then after the fact apologizes by the league that they made a mistake.

  26. in addition
    the points differential could possibly determine the final placing of a team not only in the playoffs(or out of them) AND there order in the next year’s NFL draft. which could change destination of the nxt year’s top draft picks.

  27. The most important thing is that we had an 11-10 score. That’s what the CBS guys kept telling us. I don’t even know why Polamalu felt compelled to try to score a touchdown rather than just taking a knee. Jerk!!!

  28. Here’s a solution: Just get rid of replay altogether. It causes more headaches than anything else, and it never satisfies everyone. I say screw it, the play stands as called on the field, you can watch the replay all you want, but you can’t change the call. This is how it should be played. If not, than at least limit the number of views the replay official gets to see, or limit to ONE TIME look at any particular replay view. I mean, really, this is b.s. How much time is wasted on this crap?

  29. Two Reasons why point spread absolutely matters:
    1. If this ref was “touched” by an outside influence or worse betting on the game my guess is the NFL might want to investigate the matter.
    2. Playoff tiebreaker. Running up the score is practise employed by teams who don’t want to leave anything to chance regarding making the playoffs.
    I don’t care if the bettors are happy or not but this game wreaks of being a stitch up. The penalties and blown calls were obscene.

  30. That’s great work there, Mike Pereira. One would think that this would have been fixed after the terrible call by Hoculi. I guess hindsight is not 20/20 for Pereira.


  32. Dear NFL, could you also make a change to the system, to not allow ties, I wouldnt want the Super Bowl to end in a tie, or even worse, have the SB forfeited to one team, because the other Conference championship resulted in a tie,
    Thank you so much,
    Donovan McNabb

  33. Someone smarter than me, which is probably everyone on this thread, can do the math but I would think the 7th tie-breaker on point differential would have at least as good as chance as benefiting the Chargers as it would as hurting the Steelers. The Chargers aren’t in the hunt for a wild-card so if it came into play it would be to break a division tie between the Broncos and the Chargers. Wouldn’t it be ironic if these seven points were the difference between San Diego winning a tie break with Denver and the division? Ed Hochuli must be hoping….

  34. In the past the NFL just used to discard any tie games you played when they figured out standings, basing it on win/loss percentage with any ties thrown out and ignored. There was no overtime played during the regular season.
    In 1963 the NFL played a 14 game season then, Pittsburgh Steelers, who to that point in their history never even won a single division title, and were still in the National Football League Eastern Conference. The final game of the season was Pittsburgh at the New York Giants. The Giants were 10-3 heading into the game, the Steelers were 7-3 and 3 ties(THREE TIES). If the Steelers would have won the game they would have become the Eastern champions. AND with 2 less wins than the Giants. With a win the Steelers would have been 8-3 with those ties thrown out and ignored or a .727 percentage and the Giants with a loss would have been 10-4 or a .714 percentage. A few years later the NFL began to treat a tie as a half win and a half loss. The Giants won that game and it was the last time the Giants would make the playoffs until 18 years later in 1981 when Lawrence Taylor arrived.

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