clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Pennsylvania inmate filed motion against the NFL to prevent Wild Card playoffs between Chargers and Bengals

Because of an officiating error, a resident of a Pennsylvania correctional facility attempted to block the Chargers at Bengals Wild Card game, and requested a judge issue a ruling against the NFL, forcing either a field goal attempt made days after the game, the Chiefs be given a victory or the Chargers and Steelers to play for the sixth seed in the AFC Playoffs.

Donald Miralle

It's all fun and games until the lawyers get involved.

That's when all the weirdos go crazy.

Daniel L. Spuck of Mercer, Pa., has filed a motion against the NFL to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania for "a temporary emergency injunction" because the plaintiff believes a missed call in the San Diego Chargers' win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 17 cost the Steelers a playoff spot.

Officials failed to recognize an illegal formation by the Chargers on a field goal attempt missed by Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop (to whom the plaintiff refers to as "Brian Succup"). The league has admitted the error, and confirmed the correct call would have been to issue a penalty against the Chargers, and allow the Chiefs another fourth down from five yards closer to the end zone.

The motion was filed before the Chargers eventual victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild Card round of the AFC playoffs last week. The plaintiff requested the playoff game be delayed, or for the Chargers and Steelers to meet at a neutral site for a one-game playoff to qualify for the playoffs.

Such an action would have been unprecedented in the NFL. It likely would have been followed by the Oakland Raiders' lawsuit challenging the now-defunct Tuck Rule, and scores of other officiating mistakes many feel cost their team a victory at some point.

The plaintiff also offered to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell the option of simply giving the Chiefs the victory, and allowing the Steelers to advance to the playoffs. He also wanted $25,000 and legal costs for all damages incurred.

Also pointed out in his request was a challenge of the league's rule of stopping play in the event a player's helmet comes off. He argues this rule is "improper and unconstitutional, due to problems enacting clause amendments recognized in Pennsylvania and other states."

Specifically to the helmet removal rule, the plaintiff explained, "the defendants inserted the rule, which was not founded on their forefathers and should not take away the touchdown thus sending the Pittsburgh Steelers to the playoffs instead of the San Diego Chargers (NFL Playoffs)."

The forefathers of the NFL likely didn't envision many aspects to today's game, both for better and worse. One Week 17 game being the difference between an 8-8 team making the playoffs or not likely wouldn't rank highly on things the founding fathers of the league would fret.

Any response from the league in regards to this, particularly the alleged illegality of the helmet rule based on the Constitution, would be entertaining, though.