NFL confirms suspension of side judge Rob Vernatchi

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During Monday night’s game between the Steelers and Chargers, the game clock erroneously ran for 18 seconds after a touchback in the fourth quarter and went unnoticed by the officiating crew working the game.

PFT reported on Wednesday that side judge Rob Vernatchi, who was charged with supervising the timing of the game, would be suspended for this week as a result of his failure to supervise the timing of the game. The NFL confirmed that on Thursday and also addressed the rest of the officiating crew and the clock operator at Qualcomm Stadium in a statement.

“Side judge Rob Vernatchi will not officiate in Week 6 as a result of the failure to notice that the game clock was incorrectly started late in the fourth quarter of Monday night’s game between the Pittsburgh Steeler and San Diego Chargers. The mistake will also impact the evaluation of the other six members of the officiating crew, led by Pete Morelli. The official game time is kept on the stadium scoreboard, but it is the responsibility of the side judge to supervise the timing of the game. Had the side judge or any of the other six on-field officials noticed the timing error, they could have corrected it. The status of the clock operator in San Diego, who is an NFL employee, is under review. The Chargers’ next home game is in Week 7 on Sunday, October 25.”

While the statement doesn’t use the term “suspension,” it’s obvious that Vernatchi has been suspended; he won’t be working this week as a direct result of the clock error.

PFT also reported Wednesday that back judge Greg Wilson would be reassigned from Sunday night’s Patriots-Colts game to the matchup between the Titans and Dolphins after failing to penalize Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright for an illegal bat of the ball during the Week Four game between the Seahawks and Lions. The NFL has not commented on that situation.

32 responses to “NFL confirms suspension of side judge Rob Vernatchi

  1. “The mistake will also impact the evaluation of the other six member SOFT he officiating crew, led by Pete Morelli.”

    Now that is a great typo. That was truly some “soft” officiating

  2. suspended with pay huh…. how bout we fine these clowns? this actually deserves a fine, unlike D. Williams honoring his mother and Cam Heyward honoring his father

  3. This is a positive step in trying to improve the officiating. Fines, suspensions and loss of jobs for poor performance. Just like any other profession. The officiating in the NFL has become so inconsistent, it’s almost like watching the NBA. If u see it, call it. The same way, every time. No judgements on its effect on the play or the game. If u see it, call it.

  4. If he isn’t suspended without pay, what is the point? Reward him with a paid week off?

    Also the local yokel and all other local yokel scoreboard clock operators need to be canned and replaced with real employees that aren’t locals.

    But the again if they did all that, they would be removing a source for manipulating the outcomes of games.

  5. So wait, the NFL is basically admitting that working the Titans/Dolphins game is less important than Pats/Colts? That’s crazy. I get it from a fan interest perspective but the league can’t take that stance.

  6. I could blame it all on the “homer” San Diego man running the game clock, but i swear, with 40,000 Steeler fans in attendance, I would have sworn the game was in Pittsburgh!

  7. The lunching of the official is complete. I hope the media is satisfied.

    Lord knows that if a player screwed up somehow, he would be absolved of the screw-up and the media would cover the player by blaming the coaches or the owner.

  8. Thank God we have all these UNION officials on the job, because the replacement refs (who cost a TON less money) would have never caught things like this. Oh wait…

  9. Total scapegoat.

    The real culprit is the clock operator, and everybody knows that. Did he get suspended???

  10. The SD clock operator was an incompetent boob. How about no time running off the clock with 12 second left in the first half while SD the a pass to the left? How many clock mistakes can you put up with in one game?

  11. Wow. What is the NFL saying when it switches assignments on a ref as a punishment? The Dolphins/Titans game is less important?

    This is truly incredible!! Sure it is not as big of a game to the fans, but to the NFL all games should be equally important at this time of the season.

    Apparently that is not the case!!

  12. It’s not the teams involved, it’s because the Pats/Colts is on Sunday Night Football, i.e. Primetime.

  13. I could blame it all on the “homer” San Diego man running the game clock, but i swear, with 40,000 Steeler fans in attendance, I would have sworn the game was in Pittsburgh!
    Just thank be thankful the schedulers didn’t make it SD @ Pittsburg. How many SD fans would show up in Pittsburg? There’s a reason for that.

  14. It was a primetime game, surely Goodell was generally aware that the clock was moving when it shouldn’t have been. He’s ultimately responsible, IMO, and should receive 4 weeks.

  15. When did the NFL change the official time being kept by the refs to the scoreboard being the official clock.

    Must have missed that rule change, or thats the NFL excuse.

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