Al Riveron admits timing error that cost Saints

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The Saints can’t catch a break from officials.

They didn’t get the obvious pass interference penalty late in the NFL Championship Game in the Superdome, and eight months later, officials botched the play clock in the final seconds of the first half of their season opener in the Superdome.

Al Riveron, the NFL’s senior vice president of officiating, admitted in a postgame pool report that officials improperly applied a 10-second runoff that cost the Saints 15 seconds.

“The play ended at 41 seconds when we ruled him down,” Riveron told pool reporter Larry Holder of TheAthletic.com. “Then, we stopped the game for a replay review. After we did our administrative duties, we should have reset the clock to 41 seconds because that’s when we blew the play dead. At that time, we should have gone back to coach [Sean] Payton and asked him if he wanted to take a timeout in lieu of a 10-second runoff. Instead of setting the clock to 4, we inadvertently set it to 26 and then had a 10-second runoff because he did not want to take the timeout. Again, we should have reset it to 41, not 26, and then ultimately to 31 after the 10-second runoff.”

Saints quarterback Drew Brees completed a 17-yard pass to Michael Thomas on third-and-17 to the New Orleans 30. The replay official called for a review of the first down ruling, stopping the clock.

The play was upheld, but since it was a running clock, the stoppage required either a New Orleans timeout or a 10-second runoff by rule. The Saints elected not to use the timeout, snapping the ball with 14 seconds left.

The Saints missed a 56-yard field goal on the final play of the first half.

The Saints were not happy with officials improperly applying the 10-second runoff.

“That can’t happen. That’s a game-changer,” Brees said, via Jeff Duncan of TheAthletic.com.

44 responses to “Al Riveron admits timing error that cost Saints

  1. What there is a question about a timing error that might have cost the Saints some points? Where was Bill Belichick and Tom Brady were they talking to the Refs and telling them to have some time run off the clocks? Those dirty Patriots must be involved somehow let’s get Mueller on the phone and start an investigation into this, and while we’re at it let’s get some Lawyers on the phone and sue the league, and the officials because something shady must be going on here it simply couldn’t be a misinterpretation of the rules. No way man I know if we look hard enough I’m sure New England had something to do with this…Oh by the way did you see the Patriots added a team option for 2020 in the A.B deal? Oh my lord that has to be illegal adding a team option maybe we can get the league to take some draft picks from them for doing that…There are you happy whiners? #7Rings4Brady

  2. At what point does the NFL call a spade a spade and hire younger FULL TIME REFS that can keep up with the speed of the game.

  3. tylawspick6 says:
    September 9, 2019 at 11:48 pm
    Brees and the Saints will try to milk this victim
    mentality

    The guy who’s always talking about the League “victimizing” the Patriots for one of their many cheating scandals is talking?

  4. It’s hard to say who is more insufferable, Brees or Payton. Whatever, it’s easy to not like the Saints.

  5. They have to keep the human factor engaged in the ripoff process for Vegas.
    The NFL is becoming a major joke with all the laundry being thrown about.
    Can’t enjoy it anymore because, these idiots of ‘Officiating’, are taking the game hostage.

  6. I am generally not a conspiracy guy, but between last years call, the timing issue and then the personal foul on the missed Field Goal, The NFL is sure helping me change my mind.

  7. @dirtyharry1551

    I agree fulltime refs would help but that call came from the both which is called by a off site group who has every bit of technology and rules. This is a serious issue in the NFL.

  8. The biggest referee error was when Houston’s kicker Fairbarn realized he was going to miss the field goal so he fell down when a defender brushed his foot in order to get a roughing the kicker penalty. Fairbarn was not roughed but did a good job of faking it. And at the end of the game, the Saints lost some time by bad officiating again similar to the first half. Luckily, Lutz was able to nail a 58-yard field goal for the win. Referees should be penalized for making bad calls. I am neutral but just want to see officials make correct decisions. Saints fans have every right to whine. The cards seem stacked against them. The NFL can stuff their post-game sorries in a sack, mister.

  9. So the offense runs a pass play that is ruled complete on the field, the Replay Official…not either of the coaches…calls for a review, which is confirmed, and the team who just had its momentum interrupted is given the choice of being penalized by burning a time out or a ten second runoff? Am I the only person who sees a problem with this rule?

    Even if the officials had gotten the timing right…this is ripe for controversy.

  10. Reminds me of when all the media reacted to the “Philly Special” in SB LII – remember? Prob not because virtually only one person in the media (Mike Pereira) pointed out it used an improperly allowed illegal formation. The rest of the media and fans were too busy cheering.

  11. How can the officials and league be so bad at math that they run off 15 seconds for a 10 second run off?

  12. dirtyharry1551 ,agree with your point but in fairness it wasn’t the on field officials it was the booth officials who screwed up . This mistake had nothing to do with the speed of the game it was just another example of how even with replay it’s not a guarantee the officials will get it right .

  13. dirtyharry1551 says:
    September 9, 2019 at 11:56 pm
    At what point does the NFL call a spade a spade and hire younger FULL TIME REFS that can keep up with the speed of the game.
    ================================================================================
    While the speed of the game is one thing, the other larger issue is the complexity of football rules. The rules at every level of football are convoluted, complicated and confusing. For almost every situation, there are options. When we factor in the speed of the game, the multiple options on every play, the constant whining when officials discuss a call, which by the way, is a necessary evil and the impatience of fans, players and media to allow them to get it right, mistakes are going to happen. Fulltime or parttime isn’t going to change those dynamics.

  14. I assume Players, Coaches, and Fans, were arguing and pleading to the officials that they got the rule all wrong. And I’ll also assume that the officials ignored the pleas. If 99% of the people know the rules and that refs messed it up, why can’t they come to that conclusion during their “Discussions” mid game, and Why couldn’t Al Riveron buzz down to the officials to reset the clock? What was Al Riveron doing during the game? He’s supposed to be supervising the play on the field. Riveron is as useless as nipples on a Bull

  15. I understand the runoff when there is a penalty or if there is a challenge, but this was a review called for by the officials upstairs. The fact that officials can just decide to take 10 seconds away like that doesn’t seem fair to me.

  16. takemytalentstosoutheuclid says:
    September 10, 2019 at 8:43 am
    I understand the runoff when there is a penalty or if there is a challenge, but this was a review called for by the officials upstairs. The fact that officials can just decide to take 10 seconds away like that doesn’t seem fair to me.
    ——–
    They didn’t “just decide” to take 10 seconds away. It’s a rule. The error was where the clock was set. Now, I agree that the rule should probably change. But that’s another thing.

  17. Al Riveron has been a disaster from moment one. Think about the number of absurdly horrible mistakes and calls that have been made under his watch. From overturning touchdowns with little evidence, to blatantly missed calls, to huge errors that often impact the outcome. Enough is enough. #FireAl

  18. As a Texans fan, I was shocked by the 10-second runoff. Ultimately, it made no difference.
    Even with replay review, an ear to HQ and every conceivable angle available, the calls took too long and decisions were still wrong. There were plenty of missed calls all over the field, but it was still a relatively clean game.

    If the Saints need that chip on their shoulder all season, so be it. I’m sure Sean Payton will take whatever motivation he needs to keep those fires lit. Maybe he can teach O’Brien how to do so.

  19. Why isn’t there someone in NY to stop the game and get it right? Is everyone brain dead? Not like there was more than 1 game going on. Could almost see this happening with 10 seconds left in the championship game happening and they do the 10 second run off and the game is over.

  20. They should have called the holding call on the Aints’ final completion it was obvious. They lost but were given a gift win by the officials.

  21. “At what point does the NFL call a spade a spade and hire younger FULL TIME REFS that can keep up with the speed of the game.”
    ________________

    Agreed but not sure this wouldn’t have also been screwed up by younger refs. The issue is the ultra-complicated rulebook. The officials stopped the clock for a review… why would a team be facing a potential 10-second runoff in that situation? It’s not like you can force the officials into doing a review and thus game the system. If a team didn’t want to take a timeout why not just blow the whistle and start the clock like you would normally? It’s all complicated just for the sake of being complicated and invites screwups like this.

  22. eljefedelmundo says:
    September 9, 2019 at 11:50 pm
    Doesn’t matter. Saints fans are over it already.

    W is all that matters. What a game though!
    =======================

    Yup…y’all are definitely known for letting things go and not holding grudges…

  23. Saints 1-0, Texans 0-1, Refs 0-1, NFL tied because tickets sold out and commercial revenue is up but they failed to screw the Saints again. Good thing they go the Antonio Brown thing going for them…

  24. NFL refs are still inept clock mess up here, Cowboys DB’s tackle a Giants WR and they call incidental contact and then later pick up the flag because Eli was out of the pocket. Brutal, start fining refs and if it continues suspend & fire these guys.

  25. re xenova1
    whether it was Roughing the kicker OR running into the kicker it would have beena rekick.
    clearly the kicker was run into.

  26. I have ZERO respect or sympathy for the Saints. Yes, you are getting hosed a bit, but do remember how you cheated in 2009 for an ENTIRE SEASON? This is karma and it couldn’t happen to a nicer team.

  27. Why should the Saints have to take a timeout or face the time runoff when the replay was initiated by the booth? It’s not the Saints’ fault the clock was stopped.

  28. To englishguy24601 says:
    September 10, 2019 at 12:32 pm
    “I have ZERO respect or sympathy for the Saints. Yes, you are getting hosed a bit, but do remember how you cheated in 2009 for an ENTIRE SEASON? This is karma and it couldn’t happen to a nicer team.”

    Just like we have zero sympathy for you. Think you know karma, you have no idea, just wait until it pays you a visit.

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