NFL Referee Error Angers GamblersPublished November 18, 2008 by OCR Editor
Bad call in Steelers-Chargers game costs bettors around $64 million.
A referee error at the end of the NFL match between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the San Diego Chargers Sunday has resulted in a swing of around $64 million to bookmakers, angering bettors worldwide.
Pittsburgh won the game 11-10, but an extra touchdown scored on the game's final play by Steelers safety Troy Polamalu was overruled after a replay review and consultation by the match officials.
NFL referee Scott Green later said the officials had made a mistake and the touchdown should have stood, which would have given the Steelers a 17-10 victory (not including the likely one-point conversion that would have followed).
The admission was hardly any consolation for the hundreds of thousands of people worldwide who put money on Pittsburgh to win by more than the 4.5 point spread offered by most Las Vegas casinos.
Big money line
The average NFL game draws about $10 million in Las Vegas betting alone. Las Vegas-based Website Pregame.com estimated that 100 million dollars was bet worldwide on the game, with two-thirds of that amount bet on the high-flying Steelers, who are now a 10/1 third-favorite - at Ladbrokes - to win the Super Bowl.
Had the touchdown counted, those who bet on the Steelers according to the point spread would have won an estimated 32 million dollars. Instead there was an approximately 64 million dollar swing in favor of the bookmakers.
Change in rules
NFL vice president of officiating Mike Pereira told ESPN Monday the league is considering modifying rules about using instant replays to allow second consultations. He said the NFL rules committee might even change the rule before the NFL playoffs, which begin in January.
Just as well, as a similar mistake in a game such as the Super Bowl could cause one hundred times the grief for punters than that caused in the Steelers-Chargers debacle.