Every Friday, the NFL publishes an officiating video, in which V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino reviews various calls from the prior week and comments on the decisions made or not made. This week’s video started with an acknowledgement of the error that resulted in 18 seconds ticking off the game clock near the end of Monday night’s game between Pittsburgh and San Diego.
“Our focus now is just making sure we have the right processes in place to prevent that from happening, the right controls in place,” Blandino said. “It’s not something that’s reviewable by instant replay, something that will probably be discussed as we move forward during the offseason. But again the focus now is ensuring that doesn’t happen again. We’re working with our clock operators and our crews to make sure that, again, we have the right controls in place.”
Even if it were reviewable by replay, it has to be noticed before action can be taken. On Monday night, no one noticed that the clock was running when it shouldn’t have been.
The easy solution is to give the clock operators a method for quickly contacting the game officials when an error occurs, and then to allow replay review to be used to determine the correct time remaining on the clock.
The league suspended side judge Rob Vernatchi for his role in the mistake, and the league will be questioning Vernatchi as part of its investigation. The other members of referee Pete Morelli’s crew will have their grades for the week adjusted downward.