Two weeks ago, in the Eagles' win over the Giants, Eli Manning got away with two blatant delay of game penalties.
Here, we see Eli Manning still pointing out what he's seeing from the defense as the clock winds down to :00. He notices the double zeros, whips around and calls timeout... late... and the officials award it to him instead of calling the penalty:
Later in that game, the Giants once again failed to get the play off in time, and instead got a 15 yard gain:
There was more of the same yesterday against Dallas.
In the 3rd quarter, the play clock clearly ticked down to :00, then another second or so went by before the Cowboys got the snap off. The result of the play... A first down completion to Dez Bryant:
On the very next play, Dallas once again failed to get the play off in time, with Tony Romo clearly calling a timeout way too late, and no Cowboys coaches asking for a timeout from the sideline:
In fact, on that play, you can't see it on the regular TV view (you would will be able to on the All-22), but the back judge actually threw a flag, and FOX put the 'flag' graphic up:
But apparently, another official felt the need to take it out of the back judge's hands (even though it's the back judge's call, and allowed the timeout.
This is a rule where there should be absolutely no ambiguity at all. If the clock runs down to :00, and if the ball isn't snapped, it should be a penalty. The reasoning that the back judge needs a half second to refocus his attention from the clock to the QB is pure nonsense.
If it has to be corrected after the play by somebody in a booth similar to what the NBA does with questionable shot clock calls, then so be it. Just get the call right. The four examples shown above happen to involve the Eagles, but it's happening across the league.
For example, a huge play occurred in the Saints-Patriots game because the officials ignored the play clock. The clock ran down to :00:
Then Drew Brees tried to call timeout:
He wasn't even awarded the timeout, and the ball was snapped:
Normally, an extended play clock is going to benefit the offense, but in this case, the ensuing awkward play (which looked like players were wondering if it would even count) resulted in an interception:
Officiating football games is not easy. On catches near the sideline, you have have to maintain possession all the way through the catch while keeping ball feet in bounds. There are so many things that an official has to look for on those. Correctly calling delay of game penalties, by comparison, should be a lay up. And yet, it's a rule that's treated more as a suggestion than an actual rule, and that needs to be fixed. There's really no excuse.