NFL’s VP of officiating says officials handled final seconds properly

One of the questions I had about the replay challenge after Frank Gore’s failed goal-line run was why the play was not reviewed immediately. Gore was tackled with 15 seconds remaining in the game. The whistle did not blow to signal a replay challenge until there were four seconds remaining.

The 49ers, apparently, were under the mistaken belief they’d get 12 seconds back on the clock after the replay challenge. That guess, according to Mike Martz, came from the 49ers’ staff in the coaches’ booth.


NFL vice president of officiating Mike Pereira addressed the issue of the clock just moments ago on the NFL Network. Here’s what he said:


“You knew it was going to be reviewed. We had to take a look at that to see if he was actually touched down before he actually got into the end zone. Now, the difficult part of a review and stopping the play here is that you have to see if San Francisco is actually going to get a play off. Because you can’t stop it if they’re not going to get a play off. If you do and they never would’ve gotten another play off, obviously, you would’ve given them a chance they never would’ve had.


“So the replay assistant (David Coleman) did a great job of waiting until the last second, which is actually :04 when he buzzed Tony Corrente to take a look at the play.


“When he did, the one thing Tony saw clearly was, yes, he (Gore) was touched and he was, in fact, down and it was at the two-and-a-half yard line. What we did at that point is that we wanted to make sure that the quarterback, Shaun Hill, clearly knew the clock was going to start on Tony’s signal. At that point, we followed our normal procedures. . . . You actually see him (Corrente) running back in toward the formation to get to Shaun Hill to tell him and make sure he understood that the clock was going to start on his signal. We hold the umpire over the ball until everybody’s set. Then we move him away and let the ball be snapped. That’s our normal procedures, and I wouldn’t want to do anything different.”


Pereira was asked if it’s the responsibility of the referee to go notify the coaches and tell them exactly where the ball is spotted? (Niners players and coaches said they could not hear Corrente’s explanation over the public-address system at the stadium.)


“No, it’s not,” Periera said. “My normal procedure on any replay is to make the announcement for everybody to hear and then get back and get the play set up and make sure the teams on the field know the status of the clock. I can’t have different procedures for different situations. As long as we follow the normal things we do on replays, we’re fine.”