Get ready to feel outraged all over again.
Minnesota Vikings fans might recall Week 15 when the franchise mounted the greatest comeback in NFL history over the Indianapolis Colts. Kevin O’Connell’s team played buffoonishly in the 1st Half, falling behind the lowly Colts 33-0 after the 2nd Quarter. Thereafter, though, thanks to Kirk Cousins and a suddenly-stiff defense, Minnesota erased the deficit to win 39-36 in overtime.
Some egregious officiating marred the contest along the way, making the Vikings comeback even more improbable.
This was the first atrocity:
Followed by atrocity No. 2:
You get the idea. Neither would-be turnover + touchdown was allowed by referees, erased from the scoreboard before entering the box score. And on the second gaffe, Vikings cornerback Chandon Sullivan basically flipped out — rightfully so — and was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, a 15-yard penalty. Sullivan later apologized for “losing his temper.”
The NFL Had the Gall to Fine Chandon Sullivan
Well, the radio apology wasn’t enough, as the NFL fined Sullivan $9,444 on Friday for the penalty. You cannot make this stuff up. The NFL reasonably could’ve let bygones be bygones — but no cigar.
And the fine occurred after the NFL appeared to admit fault earlier this week over the second blunder. Vice President of NFL Officiating told ESPN, “We had a look and could tell right away that the runner was still up when the ball came loose. We had a good view that it was a clear recovery by [Sullivan]. But the ruling on the field was the runner was down by contact. All we could do was give Minnesota the ball at the spot of the recovery.”
Referees cannot reactivate play after a bungled call with the mere assumption that Sullivan “probably would have scored.” Instead, the referees awarded the ball to Minnesota, and thankfully for its sake, the rest is literally history.
The NFL also fined Colts DT DeForest Buckner $15,914 for roughing the passer call on Kirk Cousins.
Sullivan’s fine is the third notable of the season for the Vikings. In Week 6, Dalvin Cook was fined for throwing the ball into the stands as a touchdown celebration in Miami. Two weeks ago, Alexander Mattison was docked for firing up a mini-twerk in the endzone after a score.
The Vikings host the Giants on Christmas Eve — maybe even avoiding referee gaffes and fines for players — and are favored by four points to win. Minnesota holds the second-best record in the NFL behind the Philadelphia Eagles, with a 5% probability of winning the Super Bowl, per FiveThirtyEight.com.
Sullivan owns a 59.9 Pro Football Focus grade through 15 weeks and has logged 51 tackles, 6 passes defended, and 2 tackles for loss.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).