NFL Side Judge Suspended over Clock Error

Side judge Rob Vernatchi was suspended for one week with pay.
Side judge Rob Vernatchi was suspended for one week with pay.

The drama from Monday night’s Pittsburgh Steelers 24-20 victory over the San Diego Chargers didn’t end when Le’Veon Bell crossed the goal line for the game-winning touchdown as time expired.

Rob Vernatchi, the side judge who have failed to correct a clock mistake late in the game had been disciplined by the league.

It turned out later that there should have been more time on the clock, and Vernatchi was suspended for one week to make up for the timing mistake.

While the Steelers won the game, had Bell fallen short on the final play and the clock ran out, it would have resulted in a season-shifting controversy. Pittsburgh would have dropped to 2-3 on the season instead of 3-2, which would have left it a full three games behind the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North.

On the flip side, the Chargers theoretically should have been provided an additional 18 seconds to respond to Bell’s touchdown, although Pittsburgh’s game management may have been different with the correct time on the clock.

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