The NFL has admitted that a mistake was made with the game clock near the end of regulation in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ win over the San Diego Chargers Monday night.
In a statement on Tuesday, NFL spokesman Mike Signora acknowledged that an error by the stadium scoreboard operator resulted in 18 seconds being inexplicably taken off the clock before Pittsburgh’s last possession.
“Because of an error by the clock operator, the game clock was incorrectly started before the Steelers’ first play from scrimmage following the touchback,” Signora wrote, via Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports. “That first down snap came with 2:38 left to play instead of 2:56, a difference of 18 seconds.”
Signora said that while the official game time is kept on the stadium scoreboard, it is the responsibility of the officiating crew to make sure the time is accurate.
“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,” the statement continued. “Had the side judge or any of the other six on-field officials noticed the timing error, they could have corrected it.
“The game clock is not subject to instant replay review unless there is a timing issue on the last play of the first half or the last play of the game.”
In other words, a stadium employee screwed up and no one caught it. However, Mike Pereira noted earlier that the clock operator is typically a local person who is paid by the NFL.
As we mentioned before, this is not the first time we have seen an error with a game clock that could have changed the outcome of a game. Simply put, the NFL is incredibly fortunate that the Steelers ended up winning. This could have become a way bigger issue.