In the AFC Divisional Playoff round game between the Steelers and Broncos on Sunday January 17 2016, I noticed a hesitation longer than usual before the first snap from scrimmage on the opening drive.

The opening kickoff was downed, and there was no time lost on the clock. With 15:00 to go in the first, Roethlisberger seemed to take some time being sure of the play call. I noticed for the first time that the game clock was running down in this scenario.

My question is: is it legal for either team to call timeout given this scenario? I am well aware that to do so is not the height of coaching mastery or game management.

As a follow-up question, if it is legal, has anyone ever done it?

1 Answer 1


From the NFL rulebook:

Section 5 Timeouts
Article 1. The Referee shall suspend play while the ball is dead and declare a charged team timeout upon the request for a timeout by the head coach or any player to any official.

That's really all it says about charged timeouts in terms of when they can be called. So I assume it'd be perfectly legal. I've been unable to find an instance in which it's actually occurred though.

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