NEW YORK (CAP) - The NFL referees union is offering up yet another apology, this time for a missed neutral zone infraction during an October, 2008 game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Carolina Panthers. The league confirms that there will be disciplinary action against the head linesman who failed to make the call in question.
"We have reviewed the film and defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey clearly crossed into the neutral zone," said Chip Newton, chairman of the NFL's newly formed Steering Committee On Botched Calls. "We cannot fathom how anyone even remotely paying attention to that game could have missed that call.
"In fact, we're willing to bet that a retired player with early onset dementia due to severe head trauma could have made that call," he added.
With the call, Carolina would have received a five-yard penalty, which would have given Kansas City a first down on their own 47 and breathed new life into that drive. Without the call, Kansas City was forced to punt on fourth down and ended up losing the game, 34-0.
"With that call, maybe the Chiefs are able to get across midfield and kick a 53-yard field goal to get on the board and then rattle off 32 unanswered points to win the game," said ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter. "Maybe they don't then go on to lose 10 of their last 11 games but instead get into the playoffs with a first round bye, slip past the Steelers for the AFC Championship, and head to Tampa for the Big Game."
While pundits agree that the fate of Kansas City's 2-14 season hinged on that one blown call, there are differing opinions over its impact on their 4-12 season the following year. One of the charters of the Steering Committee is to try to determine if there is a way to undo bad calls after a game has concluded, no matter how far back it was.
"Can we get the guys back together and replay the game, or even just pick it up from the point of the blown call?" said Newton. "Or maybe replay the game and perhaps the rest of the season with Strat-O-Matic football, and let the statistics tell us who should win."
League officials say the spate of bad referee calls during the playoffs could hasten the timeframe for the introduction of the new Google Robot Referee, currently in beta testing at select soccer matches in South America.
- CAP News Staff