The NFL released a statement on Monday saying referees made a bad mistake when they failed to stop the clock and sort out their self-imposed mess on Sunday night after the chains moved, indicating a first down, despite other officials ruling it a first down on the field.
“In this situation where there is obvious confusion as to the status of the down, play should have been stopped prior to third down and the correct down communicated to both clubs,” the statement read in part. “This should have occurred regardless of the fact that Washington had no timeouts and it was inside two minutes.”
The result was mass confusion followed by blame when Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan claimed that he was not only verbally informed it was a first down, but called plays based on that information. Ultimately, the mistake had little impact on the outcome of the game as New York Giants safety Will Hill stripped wide receiver Pierre Garcon only two plays later, securing the win for Big Blue.
However, questions have lingered, including several posed to head coach Tom Coughlin. Most notably: "how would you have reacted if the clock was stopped?"
“Let’s face it, they don’t have any timeouts,” Coughlin said. “The clock is moving. It should have been straightened out in the first place, but it wasn’t. There’s a lot of things going on out there and the referee allowed that the game would continue to play and then made the correction and we would have been upset had the clock been stopped. Sure, we would have, not that it would have made a difference, but we would have been.”
And the reason the clock wasn't stopped? Because lead official, Jeff Triplette, said it would have offered an unfair advantage to the Redskins.
The NFL, of course, disagrees.
If only the Giants received that sort of respect and support from the league when blown calls go against them. Alas, we dream.
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