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Football Zebras
NewsVernatchi to be interviewed today by NFL Security

Vernatchi to be interviewed today by NFL Security

After serving a suspension for not recognizing a clock malfunction occurred, side judge Rob Vernatchi will be interviewed by the league office as part of the investigation into the clock error. (The league avoided the use of the word “suspension” in its statement.)

Football Zebras has learned that the interview will be conducted today in Sacramento by NFL Security. A representative of the referee’s union is expected to be in attendance, although this is not confirmed, as the union has not responded to multiple attempts for comment.

Vernatchi’s duties include the supervision of the game clock. The stadium clock — operated by a local, league-hired employee with officiating experience — reflects the official time, but the side judge must monitor that it is operated correctly. After a kickoff resulted in a touchback in the Steelers-Chargers game, 18 seconds ran off the clock, presumably inadvertently. The interview, an officiating source said, is to ascertain that it was, in fact, inadvertent, although there has been no indication that it was otherwise.

Vernatchi’s suspension was with pay, presumably to forestall an intervention from the union. Side judge Scott Edwards filled in on referee Pete Morelli’s crew this weekend. The league stated that it was evaluating any disciplinary action against the clock operator before the next San Diego home game.

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Ben Austro
Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)

2 thoughts on “Vernatchi to be interviewed today by NFL Security

  1. Ok, so will they suspend the SJ in the Lions-Bears game for taking off TOO MUCH time? Go to “quick calls” this week and watch the controversial video of Bill Schuster calling RTP. SJ comes in and says the clock did not run during the play (he reported the clock should go from 29 to 25 seconds). Go back and watch the video form the start. Play starts with 35 seconds and ends (correctly) at 29 seconds. Man, basic Pee Wee mechanics can’t get followed by these guys.

  2. Jerome you are the one who doesn’t know what is going on. At 44 seconds there was a 10 second runoff as part of the ING foul. Thus, the game clock starts on the ready for play. You can clearly see the R, Walt Coleman repeatedly signally for the clock to start which the stadium timer fails to do(this clock is in sinc with the TV clock). However, the SJ ran his watch on the field when the R wound. Thus, at the end of the play, the SJ and R confer and remove 4 additional seconds from the clock which is the amount of time consumed by the QB prior to the snap. Not basic Pee Wee stuff. Rather complicated to say the least. And, it was a good thing the SJ and R didn’t simply stop the game when the timer failed to start on the ready as that would have given an significant advantage to the offensive team.

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