The NFL headquarters in New York better be doing damage control right now, because their complete incompetence when it comes to guaranteeing well-officiated games just changed the landscape of the playoffs -- and in this case, it's not even arguable.
Former NFL Vice President of Officiating and current FOX Sports Rules Analyst Mike Pereira made it abundantly clear that he disagreed with the overtime fourth down call made by Bill Leavy's crew, and went so far as to say that he believes the Chiefs should have won the game on that play, as he believes they rightfully scored a game-ending touchdown.
The thing is, in this instance, we don't need an expert to tell us what happened, because there were only two logical possible outcomes on this play.
1) The supposed "original" call on the field that the player's forward progress was stopped is correct (even though no whistle was ever blown) and as such, he failed to reach the line of gain -- this would mean the Chargers failed to convert on fourth down, and the Chiefs would be awarded the ball.
2) The player fumbled the ball, and the Chiefs recovered the fumble and scored a touchdown -- a touchdown that won the game for them, and rightfully put the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs.
Somehow, the officials saw fit to create a third -- and more importantly, completely illogical -- outcome, ruling that the player who was originally stacked up well short of the line of gain and then proceeded to run past the line of gain and fumble in the process was somehow both down by lack of forward momentum and past the line of gain.
There is no room in the NFL rulebook for this to be even remotely possible. If he was stopped, it was short of the line of gain, and the conversion attempt failed. Period.
As if this wasn't bad enough, the crew had only put themselves in this position because on the Ryan Succop missed field goal, they failed to enforce a new NFL rule that stipulates that a maximum of 6 defensive players may lineup on one side of the ball on a field goal attempt. In fact, this was confirmed by Mike Pereira as I typed that last sentence.
If the NFL wants to continue to be taken seriously when it claims to be addressing the issues that can improve the game, they absolutely must review this game and ensure that this crew doesn't even sniff the playoffs for a long, long time.