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Ref says he gave the 49ers two challenges they didn’t have

49ers Packers Football

San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh argues with referee David White during the second half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers Monday, Sept. 10, 2012, in Green Bay, Wis. The 49ers won 30-22. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)


The replacement referee working today’s 49ers-Vikings game didn’t know the rules about when a coach can challenge a call.

According to the Associated Press, referee Ken Roan said after the game that he had mistakenly awarded 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh two challenges after Harbaugh called his final timeout.

Harbaugh called his final timeout after Vikings running back Toby Gerhart was stopped on a third down. Harbaugh then challenged the play, and the referee ruled in his favor, saying that Gerhart had fumbled. But the ref said after the game that he shouldn’t have let Harbaugh challenge, because Harbaugh had already used up his final timeout.

On the Vikings’ next possession, Harbaugh again called a timeout and then challenged a Garhart fumble, and the ref again allowed the challenge. The ref said after the game that he shouldn’t have allowed Harbaugh to take that challenge, either.

The Vikings won the game, so any additional challenges given to the 49ers didn’t affect the outcome. But it is a bad sign when a referee is acknowledging after a game that he didn’t know the rules. As the lockout of the regular officials continues, the replacement referees don’t appear to be getting any better.