Last night, the NFL had no comment in the immediate aftermath of a Monday night game that could have been marred by a bizarre clock error prior to Pittsburgh’s final drive of the game. On Tuesday morning, a comment is coming.
According to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, the league is reviewing the situation and will have more to say soon.
The ESPN broadcast showed 18 seconds improperly run off the clock, from 2:56 to 2:38, after a San Diego kickoff went out of the end zone. The official clock could be seen ticking off 10 of the 18 seconds while the Steelers were taking the field for the start of the drive.
The Steelers scored a game-winning touchdown on the last play of regulation. If they hadn’t, it would have been a much bigger story.
It’s still a pretty big story, with ramifications that can’t be known without going back to the 2:56 mark and letting the Steelers begin their final drive from that point. Would the 18 seconds have been absorbed into the drive, with the last play still coming as the clock expired? Would they have scored a touchdown with enough time on the clock for the Chargers to try a Hail Mary play or at a minimum a Stanford band clusterfudge?
Those questions shouldn’t matter, because the clock should at all times be accurate. It’s a task that falls into the “you had one job” category, and if the NFL’s current approach isn’t getting that one job done, they need to find a way to do that one job better.