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#pounditThursday, July 29, 2021

NFL had big clock issue that could have cost Steelers a win

Steelers-Chargers-clock-error

The NFL has to be relieved that the Pittsburgh Steelers scored a touchdown as time expired to beat the San Diego Chargers Monday night. Otherwise, league officials would be faced with a flurry of difficult questions about what happened to the game clock late in the fourth quarter.

Here’s what went down: After kicking a field goal to take a 20-17 lead with 2:56 remaining, San Diego kicked off to Pittsburgh and the ball went out of the end zone for a touchback. So why was there 2:38 left on the clock when the Steelers began their drive?

Good question.

The clock was running as there was a dead ball, and the time was never put back on. You can see a video of the inexplicable runoff here. The NFL has declined to comment on what happened, but Mike Pereira of FOX Sports gave some information.

As Kevin Seifert of ESPN noted, the NFL operations manual says the side judge has the responsibility of backing up the stadium clock operator.

At some point, the league is going to have to address the issue. You can only imagine what would have happened if the Steelers ran out of time or ended up tying the game with a field goal and losing in overtime. Mistakes happen, but that one could have been costly. While we have seen some bizarre errors with game clocks in the past, that one was up there with one of the worst.

UPDATE: The NFL has admitted that there was an error and their officiating crew missed it.

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