Jets at Packers (video)
The Jets scored an apparent game-tying touchdown, but the play was dead because the Jets bench called timeout prior to the snap.
Television replays (with the sideline partially out of frame) show assistant coach Mike Mornhinweg giving a timeout signal, and head coach Rex Ryan is apparently not making a signal. Veteran line judge Byron Boston granted the timeout, however there is no penalty if one is erroneously granted. (Update: Defensive end Sheldon Richardson, pictured above behind Ryan, admitted to yelling “timeout” as reported by Darryl Slater of the Newark Star-Ledger.)
Rule 4-5-1 indicates only a head coach or any player on the field (non-substitute) may call a timeout, but in this situation, the officials do not have to acknowledge who made the call. The league says the crew will not be downgraded. (And, thus, the asterisk in the headline.)
“When a snap is imminent, game officials are instructed not to turn their attention away from the field to verify who is calling the timeout,” NFL spokeman Michael Signora told Football Zebras in a statement. “A game official should not grant the timeout only if he is certain it is not being requested by the head coach.”
Head coach Rex Ryan acknowledged in a post-game interview that he did not call timeout (video).In an ironic twist, Ryan, as a defensive coordinator for Brian Billick on the Ravens staff, called a timeout in a 2007 game under similar circumstances.
Because Richardson was not on the field, he was just as wrong as Mornhinweg to call timeout. And Boston still made the correct call under the circumstances.
The full statement from the league on the play:
With 5:06 remaining in the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers, a coach on the New York Jets sideline requested a timeout shortly before the ball was snapped. The officiating crew correctly granted the timeout. When a snap is imminent, game officials are instructed not to turn their attention away from the field to verify who is calling the timeout. A game official should not grant the timeout only if he is certain it is not being requested by the head coach.
Rule 4, Section 5, Article 1: Charged Team Timeouts — The Referee shall suspend play while the ball is dead and declare a charged team timeout upon the request for a timeout by the head coach or any player (not a substitute) to any official.
Image: New York Jets photo