Giants coach Tom Coughlin hinted after Sunday’s game that the Cowboys may have been aided by a hometown clock operator.
In his post-game press conference, Coughlin indicated that he thought the Cowboys got an extra second, and therefore an extra play, at the end of the game, which the Giants won 29-24 at Cowboys Stadium.
“It’s been a long time since I saw three plays in 10 seconds,” Coughlin said. “I thought that was an incredible thing to have happen right there. I mean, we thought it was over, with the high ball over the middle. I looked up and the thing was stuck on one.”
After a replay review overturned what had at first appeared to be a game-winning touchdown pass from Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo to receiver Dez Bryant, 10 seconds remained on the clock. The Cowboys then got a 10-yard pass from Romo to Jason Witten, and four seconds ran off the clock. With six seconds remaining, Romo threw incomplete to Miles Austin, and five seconds ran off the clock. That 0:01 remaining on the clock is the “stuck on one” Coughlin refers to.
Watching the game live on Sunday, that’s what I thought, too: It seemed like the clock operator in Dallas might have had a quick trigger finger, stopping the clock quickly to wrongly give the Cowboys one more play. But I just watched the sequence again via the NFL Game Rewind, and I timed the play by hand with a stopwatch, and by my timing, the play took exactly 5.50 seconds, which means the Cowboys did, in fact, deserve to have time for one last play.
In the end it didn’t matter because Romo’s pass with one second left was incomplete. Coughlin’s complaints would likely be a lot more strenuous if the Cowboys had scored on that final play, but it appears that the officials and the timekeeper got this one right.