The NFL is by far our most popular sport for a variety of reasons, and one of them is gambling. People that can't fathom a Las Vegas line in Major League Baseball and would never consider putting money on a college football, basketball or NBA game will bet on the NFL. Teams play once a week and information is easy to come by. That's why the end of Sunday's Pittsburgh-San Diego game was such a disaster for bettors and for the NFL.
The Steelers were 4 1/2-point favorites. They led by only a point as the teams lined up for the final play. Everybody that put money on the Chargers was thrilled. And then the Steelers scored off a San Diego turnover as time expired. This put them up by seven. They covered. And now everybody that had bet on the Steelers was thrilled.
According to RJ Bell of Pregame.com, 66% of the money on the game was on the Steelers. If this is true, bookies also are thrilled, since that's money they don't have to pay out.
Referee Scott Green admitted after the game that officials had misinterpreted a rule and that the Steelers should have been credited with a touchdown on the final play.
If the perception is that officials are aware of and influenced by the betting line, the league loses credibility. The folks that put money on the Steelers lose cold, hard cash.