NFL: Our refs got the call correct

The Timeout

December 05, 2007|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Sun reporter

Although the Ravens probably are second-guessing themselves for calling a timeout on fourth down, the officials were correct in granting the stoppage in play, an NFL spokesman said.

With 1:48 remaining and the Ravens leading 24-20, the defense stuffed Tom Brady on a quarterback sneak on fourth-and-one, only to find out a timeout had been called from its sideline before the ball was snapped.

Because Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan called for the timeout, there have been questions about whether the referees should have granted the request because it didn't come from coach Brian Billick.

According to an NFL spokesman, the officials are instructed to grant a last-second request from the bench area for a timeout. The head linesman is positioned in front of the bench area and can't look at who is calling timeout because he is watching for the ball to be snapped.

The head coach is responsible for the actions of his staff and players in calling last-second timeouts from the sideline, the spokesman said.

In an interesting twist, head linesman Phil McKinnely was the official who heard the Ravens' request for a timeout and called off the play. McKinnely is the official who, according to Samari Rolle, called the veteran cornerback "boy" late in the game.

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

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