Jaguars call timeouts to help ESPN

Many fans were left wondering on Monday night why Jacksonville used two timeouts after the two-minute warning to stop the clock when the Jaguars and Titans appeared content to let the final ticks run off in a one-sided game.

When Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio called the timeouts with his team on defense and trailing 23-3, it could be argued he was refusing to let his team quit and trying to get the ball back for one final shot.

But on the previous possession, the Jaguars ran a deliberate drive, huddling on each play and refusing to hurry up despite the crowd urging the offense to speed things up.

So why did Del Rio call the timeouts?

“My understanding is they (ESPN) needed network timeouts, and that’s why Jack used his timeouts,” Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher said at the postgame news conference. “They came over and asked me to do it, but I said, ‘I was hoping to get a first down and kneel on it.’ “

What he’s saying is that the timeouts were used explicitly to give the network two extra commercial breaks and that Fisher also was asked to take timeouts even though his team was up 20 points and trying to run out the clock.

Titans running back Chris Johnson then broke through the line and extended the lead on a play that never would have happened had the coaches just allowed the clock to run out as they appeared to want to do.

“You can check with Jack. I believe that they asked them to use them. It’s the first time I’ve heard of it,” Fisher said. “I just said I would have a hard time using them, because I’m ahead.”

As it turns out, the touchdown didn’t appear to affect any betting outcomes, excluding fantasy leagues and player props. The Titans and under was still the winner for the game and the second half despite the extra score.

But who’s to say this type of scenario hasn’t decided bets in the past? And what if a player gets hurt because there are a few extra plays just for the benefit of the network?

Leftovers ventures to guess Fisher will be asked to retract his comments in the near future and this all will go away, but something doesn’t seem right here.

On a related note, Chris Webber issued a news release to announce he simply was trying to help the network get its spots in when he called his infamous timeout.

■ YOU’RE BLIND, REF — Auburn was awarded two touchdowns on two horrendous calls by the officials Saturday during the Tigers’ victory over Arkansas.

Replay officials made matters worse by upholding the rulings.

Razorbacks fans still are seeing red over the officiating, and one Fayetteville company is doing its part to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

McDonald Eye Associates has promised free lasik surgery to any on-field or booth official that worked Saturday’s game, according to 4029tv.com in Northwest Arkansas.

“Errors and incorrect calls from the game could have possibly been avoided with better vision,” stated a news release from the practice.

It’s a nice idea, but even eye surgery might not help. Even Stevie Wonder could have correctly made those two calls the officials missed Saturday.

COMPILED BY ADAM HILL
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

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