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NFL suspends side judge over clock mistake

Rob Vernatchi


The official who failed to correct a clock mistake late in Monday night’s Steelers-Chargers game has been disciplined by the league.

Side judge Rob Vernatchi has been suspended for one week with pay, a source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT.

The NFL has not yet responded to PFT’s request for comment, and the NFL Referees Association could not be reached. Vernatchi is expected to file a grievance.

The NFL released a statement on Tuesday, acknowledging a clock error had taken place on Monday.

“Because of an error by the clock operator, the game clock was incorrectly started before the Steelers’ first play from scrimmage following the touchback. That first down snap came with 2:38 left to play instead of 2:56, a difference of 18 seconds,” the league’s statement said. “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. Had the side judge or any of the other six on-field officials noticed the timing error, they could have corrected it.”

This week was the second consecutive Monday night in which an official made a significant mistake late in a close game. The week before, an illegal bat penalty that should have been called on the Seahawks was overlooked, potentially costing the Lions the game.