The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


January 10, 2014

Convicted murderer sues NFL for blown call that hurt Steelers

PITTSBURGH — A Pittsburgh Steelers fan imprisoned for murder has sued the National Football League and wants a federal judge to delay the remainder of the playoffs so the Steelers can have another chance to qualify for them.

The Steelers were denied a sixth and final playoff seed in the AFC when the San Diego Chargers beat the Kansas City Chief, 27-24, in overtime in their final regular season game.

The Dec. 29th game went into overtime after Kansas City kicker Ryan Succop missed a last-second 41-yard field goal try that would have won the game. The NFL has since acknowledged San Diego should have been penalized for lining up too many players on one side of Kansas City’s center, meaning Succop should have gotten another chance to make the kick from 5 yards closer.

Daniel Spuck, 45, who’s serving an 11- to 22-year sentence for third-degree murder at a state prison in Mercer, about 60 miles north of Pittsburgh, filed a hand-printed federal lawsuit on Jan. 2, against the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Spuck argues that the Steelers were eliminated from the playoffs “because the defendants through their employees (game official and instant replay booth) were negligent and fraudulent when they missed an illegal alignment by the Chargers ...”

Chiefs coach Andy Reid called timeout after the missed field goal to argue with officials about the illegal formation. But illegal formations are not reviewable under the NFL’s instant replay policy, so the play stood.

Spuck’s complaint seeks a court order for relief “on behalf of Plaintiff, Pittsburgh Steelers players, coaches and fans.”

Among other things, he wanted the playoffs delayed for seven to 10 days to allow time for a re-kick by Succop, a coin toss, or a neutral site game between Pittsburgh and San Diego to determine a sixth seed in the AFC playoffs.

The NFL isn’t commenting on the lawsuit and, so far, federal judges in Pittsburgh have not scheduled a hearing on it.

Since it was filed, the sixth-seeded Chargers won their wild card playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals last week and face the Broncos Sunday afternoon in Denver.

Spuck isn’t represented by an attorney and filed the lawsuit himself. Federal court records indicate he frequently files lawsuits – most often habeas corpus petitions seeking to overturn his conviction or related appeals – or otherwise claiming his civil rights have been violated while incarcerated.

He was convicted in March 1996 and sentenced a month later for the February 1995 stabbing death of his estranged wife’s ex-husband. He was also convicted of endangering his wife, who survived, by stabbing her until she uttered the words “I love you.”


Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • racin 0416 Jennerstown Speedway gearing for May open

    Jennerstown Speedway released a very ambitious schedule on its website and continues to prepare for its 2014 reopening.
    The track is set to hold a practice day for drivers as well as an open house and media day on April 26.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • Pirates 0416 Dominant Cueto drops Pirates in matinee

    That playoff loss in Pittsburgh last year? Johnny Cueto never thought about it much. So getting a chance to shut out the Pirates in a rematch wasn’t any more special.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0416 Penguins rally to wear out Jackets

    Brandon Sutter scored on a wrist shot from the left circle 8:18 into the third period, helping the Pittsburgh Penguins rally for a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on Wednesday night.
    Beau Bennett and Matt Niskanen scored power-play goals 45 seconds apart in the second period, erasing Pittsburgh’s two-goal deficit.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shelley and McElligot Series serves as reunion for former Chiefs personnel

    Not so long ago, Bob McElligott, like most Western Pennsylvania hockey fans, would savor a long Pittsburgh Penguins playoff run.
    The Somerset native followed the Pens’ Stanley Cup-winning teams in 1991 and 1992.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Malkin nearing return

    The Columbus Blue Jackets are the closest NHL team to the Pittsburgh Penguins, at least geographically. The two franchises are separated by 185 miles of highway.

    April 15, 2014

  • Reds swing way past Pirates

    Mike Leake doubled and hit a two-run homer Tuesday night, ending Gerrit Cole's winning streak and leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 7-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates that completed two days full of homers and delays.
    First, the NL Central rivals completed a game that was suspended in the sixth inning because of rain the previous night.

    April 15, 2014

  • Pirates Game 1 0415 Pirates edge out Reds in suspended game

    After all those home runs and an overnight delay, it was settled by a single.
    Andrew McCutchen doubled and came around on Russell Martin’s single in the seventh inning on Tuesday, giving the Pittsburgh Pirates an 8-7 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in the completion of a game that spanned two days and 10 home runs.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0414 Pressure on Penguins to capture Cup

    The statistics are gaudy.
    And if the Pittsburgh Penguins can’t find a way to extend their season into the final days of spring, ultimately forgettable.
    The same team that led the NHL in man games lost due to injury (more than 500) also earned 109 points, led the Metropolitan Division from mid-October on and received another peerless effort from star Sidney Crosby, who topped the league with 104 points and is a near lock for the second MVP award of his career.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0413 Brewers sweep away Pirates

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Senators dump Penguins in shootout

    April 13, 2014


Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

I'm not sure
     View Results
Order Photos

Photo Slideshow

House Ads