NFL: Clock started early on final Packers play

Updated: December 27, 2013, 11:09 PM ET

Rob Demovsky |

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy was correct when he claimed the officials mishandled the game clock in the final 10 seconds of Sunday’s 38-31 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

An NFL spokesperson said on Friday that the game clock was started too soon.

“Due to a miscommunication between members of the officiating crew, the game clock was started prematurely on the final play of the game,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

The problem began after referee Carl Cheffers correctly administered a 10-second runoff following a false start penalty on the Packers. Cheffers then gave the signal for the clock to start before umpire Undrey Wash gave Packers center Evan Dietrich-Smith the OK to snap the ball on a second-and-goal play from the 6-yard line.

By the time Wash gave his signal, several seconds had run off the clock.

Both quarterback Matt Flynn and Dietrich-Smith said they were looking at Wash and waiting for him to signal and didn’t realize until after the fact that the clock had already started. On the final play of the game, Flynn’s pass in the end zone was incomplete.

McCarthy said they should have been able to run two plays in the final 10 seconds. He said he spoke with the league about the matter but would not reveal the details of the conversation.

“We have an opportunity to send in our questions from the game in each and every week like we always do,” McCarthy said. “I had a conversation with the league Monday. Those are private conversations. That all took place on Monday.”

  • Covered Packers for Green Bay Press-Gazette from 1997-2013
  • Two-time Wisconsin Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association

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