View Full Version : Steelers-Chargers Chaos Rattles Las Vegas

11-17-2008, 12:46 PM
Steelers-Chargers Chaos Rattles Las Vegas


So, you think the end of the Steelers-Chargers game Sunday was confusing for people watching at home? The folks in Las Vegas had it worse — far worse.

“It was chaos,” the prominent professional handicapper Ted Sevransky told me a few minutes after the dust finally cleared, audibly trying to catch his breath. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

The closing line at most casinos was the Steelers by 4 1/2 points. So even when Pittsburgh’s field goal with 15 seconds left changed the score from 10-8 Chargers to 11-10 Steelers, the Chargers were still the winners in Las Vegas, on the betting front. Even a successful Hail Mary from San Diego on its one final play wouldn’t change the outcome of those wagers.

But then Philip Rivers threw to LaDainian Tomlinson, who lateraled to Chris Chambers, whose apparent lateral was tipped by Troy Polamalu — who ran it into the end zone for an apparent Pittsburgh touchdown. (Link to NFL.com video here — play begins at 3:46.) All of a sudden it was Steelers 17, Chargers 10. Pittsburgh had covered, 0:00 stood on the clock, and those with Steelers slips went completely berserk.

“I went downstairs and started smashing things,” Sevransky said. He had good reason — his top pick this week was to take the Chargers and the points, and his 100-or-so clients had just lost a bundle on one of the silliest, craziest, how-in-the-world-did-that-happenest bad beats of all time. Sevransky doesn’t disclose his own wagers, but for a professional handicapper like him, chances are it was in the $4,000 to $10,000 range.

“I took an old piece of pottery that was kind of sitting around and made pieces of it against the wall,” Sevransky said. (For the record, he owns.) But then, like everyone else in the pro betting community, Sevransky’s telephone and instant-messaging gizmos started flashing like the Las Vegas strip itself. Apparently that last play was being reviewed. Eyes refocused on the CBS game feed to find out what had happened, but for several minutes little help came. At one point, the referee signaled “touchdown,” only ripping open the wounds again.

A few minutes later, undoubtedly eager to cue up its “60 Minutes” exclusive with the two nobodies named Michelle and Barack Obama, CBS did briefly flash an 11-10 final for a few seconds. Jim Nantz and Phil Simms coughed out some hesitant words under their breath about how the play appeared to have been reversed. But when the network signed off and the “60 Minutes” stopwatch started ticking, confusion still reigned.

“I got a call from a friend of mine that was at the Santa Fe — nobody knew what to do,” Sevransky said of the Santa Fe Station hotel and casino in Las Vegas. “This stuff usually happens very quickly — people know the final score and go up to the window with their winning tickets. This time there was at least a 5-, maybe 10-minute delay for the final score to be posted. For that 10 minutes, you have hundreds and maybe thousands of people in sports books all over Vegas who don’t know if they won or lost — whether they’re eating tonight or not.”

ESPN.com was no help; fans clicking on the scoreboard there for those key few minutes found a 17-10 final posted, but an explanation underneath that the call had been reversed. Talk about having your betting slip and eating it, too.

In the end, word finally whooshed down Las Vegas Boulevard that, yes, the play was reversed — that one of the laterals was in fact an illegal forward pass, meaning the ball was dead at that point, regardless of what Polamalu decided to do with it afterward. The final score was 11-10, period, and only those who had Chargers slips could go to the window for their winnings.

“I can remember some crazy bad beats — when the final play changes things at the last second,” Sevransky said. “And this happens in the N.B.A. from time to time, when a final buzzer shot could get waved off and the final score changes. But after the game, a 10-minute gap trying to figure out what the actual score was? After the game had gone off the air with everyone waiting? I can’t think of a game like that.”

But wait, there’s more. After the game, the referee Scott Green said that Polamalu’s touchdown in fact should have counted, and Pittsburgh should have won, 17-10. But this matter is quite certainly closed with respect to wagering — the league will not change the score, and even if it did, sports books can’t get money back from Chargers bettors they’ve already paid. And they aren’t in the business of paying twice.

“When it comes to the bigger scheme of things, Pittsburgh wins either way,” Sevransky said. “It was irrelevant to the outcome. But to the outcome in Las Vegas, you’re never going to find more chaos.”

In the end, Sevransky’s customers were made whole. No word on the pottery.

http://fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com/2008 ... gas-strip/ (http://fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/11/16/steelers-chargers-chaos-rattles-vegas-strip/)

Bookies Win Millions, Bettors Lose on Bad Steelers Call

WEBWIRE – Sunday, November 16, 2008An Estimated $64 Million Swing in Favor of Bookies

Las Vegas (November 16, 2008) – The Pittsburgh Steelers were 5 point favorites over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday. As time expired, the Steelers scored a touchdown to put them up by 7, with the extra point pending. Then came a video review. The official initially announced the ruling on the field was upheld and the touchdown counted. But the officiating crew huddled again and changed the call – taking the points off the board without explanation. The game was ended with Pittsburgh the 11 to 10 winner. Pittsburgh bettors lost. After the game, the official admitted that a mistake was made, and the touchdown should have counted.

An estimated 100 million dollars was wagered worldwide on the Pittsburgh/San Diego game, according to RJ Bell of Pregame.com. Approximately 66% of that money was on the Steelers; with only 34% on the Chargers.

”If the touchdown was properly upheld, Steelers bettors would have won about 32 million dollars instead of losing big. This admittedly incorrect call resulted in a 64 million dollar swing in favor of the bookies.” said RJ Bell of Pregame.com.


11-17-2008, 01:06 PM
This smells really bad. I always want to believe the NFL is free of this kind of stuff but I guess this is pretty solid evidence that I'm wrong. I guess we should be happy that we won. But it makes you wonder about all those penalties called against us and very few on the Chargers.

11-17-2008, 02:12 PM
I read on profootballtalk that the blown call at the end of the game cost Vegas $64 million.


I'm not a big one with conspiracy theories, and I'm not really a believe that the game was fixed. I just hope that I'm not proven wrong on that.