WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- A controversial penalty in the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' 33-25 victory over the Toronto Argonauts on Thursday cost a Canadian woman $1 million.
Karen Kuldys of Winnipeg could have won the money if there were two kickoff returns for touchdowns in the game. She was part of the Safeway/Sobeys $1,000,000 Touchdown to Win contest.
Blue Bombers returner Ryan Lankford took the opening kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown.
Kuldys looked like she became a millionaire in the second quarter when Toronto's Martese Jackson took a kickoff to the end zone. But a penalty flag thrown 25 yards behind the play nullified the score.
"My heart just sank, and I thought, 'Oh my God, how close could I get to $1 million?'" Kuldys told the CBC. "You got to be kidding me. My stomach is in knots just thinking about it right now."
"That should have been a touchdown," her husband, Stan, said. "I need to get in touch with the CFL. The guy was eight yards behind the guy running into the end zone. And the Bomber guy fell on his own."
CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie spoke to Karen Kuldys about the lost fortune.
"We're all fans, and whatever team you root for, we would all love to see a CFL fan win a million dollars," Ambrosie said. "So we all feel for Karen and what she must have gone through last night and what she must still be feeling today. I was in Winnipeg for the game, and I spoke with her today. On behalf of the CFL, I invited her and her family to come to Grey Cup this year as our guests."
"It was a very tough call made by our official last night, one that could have gone either way," Ambrosie added. "There are tough calls made all the time in our game because these are world-class athletes, moving at tremendous speeds, and we ask our officials to make difficult judgment calls in the blink of an eye, and we have to respect their decisions."
Kuldys did win a $25,000 home theater package for one kickoff return for touchdown. Additionally, Safeway/Sobeys announced the Kuldy's will receive free groceries for one year.
"That's terrible. This one was a really, really bad call," she said. "I go to football games and don't know the rules really well, but this was bad."