NFL defends last-second clock stoppage in Denver

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Broncos coach Vic Fangio thinks he got screwed twice on the last drive of what should have been his first career win. The league thinks he actually got screwed only once.

Although the NFL reportedly told G.M. John Elway that linebacker Bradley Chubb shouldn’t have been penalized for roughing the passer during what became the game-winning drive, NFL senior V.P. of officiating Al Riveron chose to address the decision to give the Bears one final second on Riveron’s weekly officiating video for the media, which this week includes only three plays from 16 games of action.

“Immediately when the player hits the ground, he’s touched,” Riveron explains. “So he’s on the ground, he’s touched, there’s a coach on the sidelines already asking for a timeout. He was granted the timeout. The clock did run to zero, but the officials got together and they realized they had one second left on the clock when he was down and then he was touched, and at the same time the coach called timeout. So the clock was correctly reset to one second.”

Some had speculated that a Chicago coach or player had informed the officials before the snap that the Bears wanted a timeout immediately upon conclusion of the play, which would better explain the decision to kill the clock the instant the receiver was down. Based on Riveron’s explanation, the player was down, the coach called timeout (that specific aspect of the play can’t actually be seen in the officiating video), the officials saw the coach calling for the timeout, and the officials called the timeout. All in one second.

As Peter King explained during Tuesday’s PFT Live, that kind of bang-bang-bang-bang action (even that takes longer than a second) would never happen during any other play in a game. So it shouldn’t happen on the last play of the game.

Of course, from the league’s perspective, it always makes sense to give the offense that one last second for one last play. Win or lose, a field goal attempt or a Hail Mary pass is always more exciting than a game ending via the innocuous passage of one second of time.

But if that’s the way it’s going to be, the league needs to make sure every team understands that it’s good enough to get a knee down with only one second left — and it needs to be called that way in every situation where the time is running out in the second quarter, the fourth quarter, or overtime.

43 responses to “NFL defends last-second clock stoppage in Denver

  1. Absolutely agree. Now that we’re in the Al Riveron era, the written rules have a few new exceptions that are sorta like um… unwritten… ya know? Yeah, so we sorta kinda need to maybe make sure everyone knows about them. Maybe. We’re not sure about that yet but we’re even thinking maybe we should write them down… but probably not.

  2. Why isn’t it done on any other plays of the game? Because there is only one second left two times a game. Would you care that much with 4:17 left on the clock? I don’t see the problem here.

  3. Horribly officiated game overall. There were two roughing the passer calls against the Bears that gave Denver an extended drive ending in a field goal. And can I just say nobody cares what Peter King thinks.

  4. The only people complaing about this are Bronco fans. Looked legit to me and I don;t have any rooting interest in this result.

    As for the roughing call on Chubb, he landed with his weight on the QB, which by the letter of the rule is not allowed.

  5. translation: “The Mirage sports book called and said there’s heavy Chicago money here, we need the Bears”

  6. I have no rooting interest other than i want the AFC team to lose to help my Bills. That said, Denver got screwed. It was obvious to anyone who knows football.

  7. No, it wasn’t obvious. It was close, but every time a close call goes against your team you can’t start whining about it and then act like the XFL is going to solve your problems.

  8. The Broncos have gotten so many sketchy calls in their home stadium over the years. How about the Ed Hochuli game vs. the Chargers?

  9. I’m a Pats fan so no love for the Broncos at all, but they got screwed. The roughing call was too much. And Robinson goes down just as the clock goes thru the 1 second mark. Now you can’t respond to a TO call before you’re certain he’s down and staying down and that takes at least a sec or two, and then you acknowledge the TO call and then you blow – min 3-4 secs. If Pats had won like that the salty mountain of hate would literally melt the internet.

  10. That probably wouldn’t be a bad rule. If a team within 1 score of tying has a timeout and a play ends before the clock hits 0 at the end of a game, a timeout is automatically used and the clock set to 1.

  11. … and it needs to be called that way in every situation…..
    —————
    Which it won’t. Every group of officials calls things differently.
    So basically Riverton/The NFL, gets to determine who gets a benefit and who doesn’t.

  12. carloswlassiter says:
    September 21, 2019 at 6:32 pm
    The only people complaing about this are Bronco fans. Looked legit to me and I don;t have any rooting interest in this result.

    As for the roughing call on Chubb, he landed with his weight on the QB, which by the letter of the rule is not allowed.
    ———————————————————————————–
    “as for the roughing call on Chubb, he landed with his weight on the QB”. Oh man, what has happened to the sport I love? We have actually reached the point where a sack involves making sure you shift the QB to one side or the other before gently placing him on the ground. What a farce.

  13. Every single official game clock read 0:00 as the whistle blew.
    Then, the officials decided to huddle up and make a decision.
    Why was the play not reviewed? Why not take a look at the precise moment the receiver was down and compare to the official game clock? Why just make a judgment call?
    It was a horrible call that the NFL is trying to cover up.

  14. Donkey fans it’s called Karma, for all the schetchy calls the NFL seemed to always make in favor of the Peyton Manning led Broncos. The NFL so desperately wanted megahead to get another ring they did everything they could to make sure it happened. Now that you are yesterday’s news and dont posses a franchise QB the NFL has kicked you to the curb like yesterday’s garbage. No tears will he shed over your predicament.

  15. nelly837 says:
    September 21, 2019 at 7:49 pm
    Donkey fans it’s called Karma, for all the schetchy calls the NFL seemed to always make in favor of the Peyton Manning led Broncos. The NFL so desperately wanted megahead to get another ring they did everything they could to make sure it happened. Now that you are yesterday’s news and dont posses a franchise QB the NFL has kicked you to the curb like yesterday’s garbage. No tears will he shed over your predicament.
    ————–
    Someone seems bitter. So nice of you to broadcast it to everyone.

  16. “as for the roughing call on Chubb, he landed with his weight on the QB”. Oh man, what has happened to the sport I love? We have actually reached the point where a sack involves making sure you shift the QB to one side or the other
    ———————————————————————————–
    I’m not defending the rule, I’m telling you what the rule is. The only people apparently unfamiliar with this now year old rule rule are the Broncos coaches, players and fans.

  17. “And can I just say nobody cares what Peter King thinks.”

    +++++++++++++++

    Why yes, yes you can. Please do. 😁

  18. carloswlassiter says:
    September 21, 2019 at 8:08 pm
    “as for the roughing call on Chubb, he landed with his weight on the QB”. Oh man, what has happened to the sport I love? We have actually reached the point where a sack involves making sure you shift the QB to one side or the other
    ———————————————————————————–
    I’m not defending the rule, I’m telling you what the rule is. The only people apparently unfamiliar with this now year old rule rule are the Broncos coaches, players and fans.
    ———————————————————————————–
    I’m aware of what the rule is and didn’t mean to suggest you were defending it. I was just making the point that the sport has changed oh so much (and not in a good way).

  19. Can we talk about why the defender felt the need to immediately touch him? If he doesn’t touch him there, I don’t think the Bears are granted the one second and timeout.

    I don’t think this has been brought up enough. I realize you want to touch him down at any other point in the game, but this is the one instance where it actually hurts your team.

    Situational awareness, people.

  20. Why doesn’t the NFL use the same kind of clock the NBA uses- that way you can see the tenths- and this would probably help avoid these controversies, but I guess that would make to much sense for goodell.

  21. The bad calls are bad enough on their own, but then Al Riveron comes along a few days later with his Baghdad Bob explanations and really makes them sting.

  22. sikoix says:
    September 21, 2019 at 9:18 pm
    The bad calls are bad enough on their own, but then Al Riveron comes along a few days later with his Baghdad Bob explanations and really makes them sting.
    ==============

    Baghdad Bob is an apt analogy. Well done. Have a thumb.

  23. “Immediately when the player hits the ground, he’s touched, Riveron explains.”

    If Denver were better coached–or their players more situationally astute–they would NOT have touched the WR immediately.
    Game over.

  24. everybody knows the clock expired, even worse it happened in Denver…getting screwd in your own house really hurts

  25. As for the roughing call on Chubb, he landed with his weight on the QB, which by the letter of the rule is not allowed.

    ……

    Uh, no. Watch the replay. Slow it down if you have to. Chubb lands on his knee and on his hand (you can see his white glove beneath another Bears lifted foot). He then moved his hands forward to continue to keep his weight off Trubisky.

    The league already admitted they blew the call, and they didn’t fine Chubb, which means they didn’t think it was roughing.

    And to those few saying Robinson went down with 2 seconds left…sorry, but no. Go back and review that, too. It was one second and then zero.

  26. The end of a game is more exciting than an innocuous run off of time when it happens organically. When it’s forced, it comes off as phony and wrestling-like. Is this the NFL you really want? If so then go watch longest yard and leave real football alone.

  27. NFL used to never allow that.. if a team didn’t have at least a good 3 or 4 maybe even 5 seconds to work with the refs would let the clock run out every time to end the game. Seen it happen 100s of times

  28. Phantom holding call took a TD away from the Broncos. Refs are working hard to improve the packers this year. 2 weeks in a row.

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