A prison inmate in Pennsylvania has reportedly filed a motion to sue the NFL, arguing that the Pittsburg Steelers were robbed of their spot in the playoffs due to improper refereeing during a Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Diego Chargers game in Week 17.
Inmate Daniel L. Spuck of the State Correctional Institution in Mercer County filed a motion on Jan. 2 against the NFL and its commissioner, Roger Goodell. The motion, written by hand and filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, requests an "emergency injunction" in the current NFL playoff games due to the "negligent and fraudulent" actions of NFL referees who oversaw the Week 17 game between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers.
Spuck argues that the referees overseeing the game were wrong to not call an illegal formation penalty against San Diego during the Chiefs' 40-yard field goal attempt. The Chiefs missed their kick, but had the referees called the illegal formation, they would have been given a second chance at a field goal from five yards closer. Had they made that field goal, they would have almost certainly won the game with four seconds left in regulation. If the Chiefs had won the game, the Steelers would have been the sixth-seed in the American Football Conference instead of the Chargers.
The NFL acknowledged a day after the wild-card game that in fact a penalty should have been called against the Chargers. Chargers rookie coach Mike McCoy also said in a statement earlier in January that his team had in fact been misaligned, but that plays such as that one even themselves out as the season progresses.
"We misaligned on it. I'm not going to deny it," McCoy said. ''But hey, those calls all balance themselves out over the year. They're part of the game. We're all human. ... Things happen for a reason. We didn't do it on purpose, I can tell you that.''
Pittsburgh Coach Mike Tomlin also said in a statement that he acknowledges the Chargers were lined up illegally and should have been called for it. Tomlin was quick to add, however, that he wouldn't "lose any sleep" over a separate game of which he had no control.
''What transpired yesterday was unfortunate for our hopes moving forward. We'll have to find a way to accept that and move forward,'' Tomlin said. ''I'm not going to lose any sleep over something that happened in a stadium that we weren't even in.''