KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The 41-yard Ryan Succop field goal attempt that went wide to the right in the final seconds of the fourth quarter of Sunday's loss in San Diego could be a bad omen for the Kansas City Chiefs as they head into the playoffs.
The franchise has been tortured by missed field goals in the postseason perhaps as much or more than any other team. Jan Stenerud later would be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame but had one of the worst days of his career in the Christmas Day playoff game against the Miami Dolphins in 1971. Stenerud missed three field goal attempts and the Chiefs lost in overtime 27-24, the same score as in Sunday's overtime loss to the Chargers.
Lin Elliott missed three field goal attempts on a brutally cold day in January 1996 in a three-point playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Nick Lowery came up inches short on a 52-yard try that would have beat the Dolphins in a one-point loss in 1991. Lawrence Tynes missed a chip shot in a January 2007 game in Indianapolis.
As Pro Football Talk first reported, the Chargers should have been penalized for having seven players on one side of the ball for Succop's attempt. The NFL has acknowledged the officiating error. The correct call would have allowed Succop to try again, this time from 36 yards.
But as Succop would tell you, he should have made the 41-yard kick to begin with. San Diego's penalty had no bearing on his ability to put the ball through the uprights.
Succop is a tough-minded guy, perhaps as much or more so than any other kicker. He's made plenty of clutch kicks before and this failure shouldn't drag him down.
But given Kansas City's playoff field goal history, it's fair to wonder.