The Jets had a game-tying touchdown wiped out late in the fourth quarter of today's game because of a timeout that was called before the play. It appeared Marty Mornhinweg called it, but rules apparently state an assistant coach cannot call timeout. Only the head coach can.
Apparently, though, Mornhinweg did not call the timeout. Sheldon Richardson did.
Sheldon Richardson said he yelled at the ref to call timeout after he heard Marty trying to call it #nyj— Brian Costello (@BrianCoz) September 15, 2014
Sheldon says the timeout is on him "my mistake" #nyj— Brian Costello (@BrianCoz) September 15, 2014
Sheldon said there's no way refs heard Marty trying to call TO with 80,000 fans screaming. "It's my fault," he said.— Kimberley A. Martin (@KMart_LI) September 15, 2014
Here's more on how officials are instructed to handle situations like this.
From the league: only a head coach can or player on the field can call a timeout but play was called correctly because...— Seth Walder (@SethWalderNYDN) September 15, 2014
when a snap is imminent, refs are instructed not to turn attention away from field in order to verify who called the timeout.— Seth Walder (@SethWalderNYDN) September 15, 2014
Mike Pereira also takes this interpretation.
I get that people are ticked off about this, but to me this is a letter of the law vs. spirit kind of thing. The offensive coordinator saw something he didn't like. It stinks that it cost the Jets a big touchdown, but I think bad things are going to happen a lot more frequently than good if they don't take the timeout in that spot. I'd probably be more upset if they took the extremely literal interpretation, didn't grant a timeout, and see it cost the Jets.
I also think it's impossible in that situation for an official to be able to differentiate the voice of the head coach from everybody else on the sideline. If everybody else is yelling for a timeout, odds are the head coach will too. You think Rex wouldn't have wanted a timeout had he known Marty was screaming for one?
Bad luck. If you want a reason the Jets lost this game, this one probably doesn't rate very high.