After Washington received a break from officials at the end of the first half with a clock stoppage before a field goal attempt Monday night, the NFL tweaked its end-of-half officiating procedures.
Ben Austro of Football Zebras reported the changes that transpired after quarterback Alex Smith carried the ball off the field with him as the team’s field goal unit ran onto the field with the clock running and Washington out of timeouts.
Umpire Roy Ellison, who didn’t quickly get a K ball from the team ball handlers to spot, stopped the clock under the rule that allows stoppages for administrative delays. Former NFL referee and NBC rules analyst Terry McAulay tweeted during the game that the officiating crew erred.
Walt Anderson, the league’s senior vice president of officiating development and training, sent a training video outlining changes to procedures, according to Football Zebras.
If the K ball isn’t readily available in a running-clock situation, officials were instructed to use the ball from the previous down. A clock at 20 seconds or less should result in forgoing the K ball. The previous time guideline was “approximately 10” seconds.
In addition, the referee now has sole responsibility for determining administrative stoppages in such situations, and the clock must resume as soon as possible.