Sunday’s game in Seattle ended with the Seahawks throwing an unsuccessful Hail Mary. If it had been successful, the league would have a huge controversy on its hands today.
That’s because the final play never should have happened. On the preceding play, Russell Wilson was sacked. The clock should have kept running, and if it had, the Seahawks — with receivers deep downfield — likely wouldn’t have had time to line everyone up for one last play. But the clock stopped, apparently because the clock operator wrongly thought Wilson had thrown an incomplete pass. In reality, the officials correctly ruled — and replay subsequently confirmed — that Wilson was down.
Former NFL V.P. of Officiating Mike Pereira said on a FOX video today that stopping the clock at 0:11 ended up being a huge mistake because it was 17 seconds later, with the Seahawks still not having run a play, that the officials buzzed the referee to review the Wilson sack.
“You had a clock error,” Pereira said. “You had 12 seconds when Russell Wilson went down on a knee, a whistle was blown ending the play. The clock operator stopped the clock. He stopped the clock with 11 seconds left to go. Seventeen seconds later — 17 seconds later, on a clock that was not supposed to stop . . . you had a buzz from replay. . . . The clock should never have stopped. I think it’s reasonable to say Seattle would have never gotten another play without this clock erroneously stopping.”
Pereira indicated that the league should discipline the clock operator for the mistake, which could have been decisive in the game.
“Obviously there’s a mistake made. Who’s accountable?” Pereira said. “To me, the league is pretty damn lucky that that pass was incomplete in the end zone and not a touchdown by Seattle.”
Two years ago the NFL suspended an official and investigated a clock operator over a late-game mistake. The league may take similar disciplinary actions this week.