NFL admits timing error in 49ers-Rams game

November 12, 2012, 9:47 pm
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The NFL on Monday issued a statement about a timing error that occurred in the second quarter of the 49ers' 24-24 tie against the St. Louis Rams at Candlestick Park.The statement from the NFL: "Early in the second quarter of Sunday's game between the St. Louis Rams and San Francisco 49ers, the clock incorrectly ran for approximately 1:19 and was never corrected."With 13:40 remaining in the second quarter, San Francisco faced a 3rd-and-15 from their own 38 yard-line. Quarterback Alex Smith completed a pass to wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who went out of bounds at the St. Louis 48 after a gain of 14 yards. Line judge Ron Marinucci blew his whistle and signaled for the clock to be stopped, which it was with 13:32 remaining."While the chains were being brought onto the field for a measurement -- and despite no official having signaled for the clock to start -- the clock ran down until it was again stopped with 12:20 remaining."The ball was short of the line to gain for a first down, so once the ball was spotted and ready for play, referee Clete Blakeman blew his whistle and signaled for the clock to start. It then wound down for seven seconds to 12:13 when the officials signaled for the clock to stop."Blakeman then conferred with line judge Ron Marinucci and field judge Buddy Horton and announced "we are checking the game clock for accuracy." "Marinucci -- who as the line judge is by rule responsible for the timing of the game -- spoke directly to the clock operator from the sideline phone and was told that there was no issue with the game clock. "He relayed this information to Blakeman who then announced "the game clock is correct. Fourth and short." Blakeman blew his whistle and signaled for the game clock -- still at 12:13 -- to start."The next snap occurred with 12:02 remaining in the second quarter."No member of the officiating crew recognized that the clock was incorrectly started by the clock operator during the measurement. Once the next snap occurs, there is no mechanism to adjust the clock. Matters of timing are not reviewable by instant replay."The clock operator is employed by the Officiating Department at the league office. The clock procedures will be carefully reviewed this week with all game officials and clock operators to avoid further clock mistakes."

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