ESPN Orders NFL Coaches To Call More Timeouts So They Can Show More Ads*


Photo: By brandon king on flickr

UPDATE: Reporters close to the Titans are now saying that Fisher was joking. If so, that’s an odd joke to make and an odd way to make it.Watch for yourself and decide what you think. Of course, anyone who believes in a conspiracy would also believe in the coverup wouldn’t they?

It still doesn’t explain del Rio’s bizarre decisions to call timeouts down by 20.


Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher let slip in last night’s postgame interviews that TV officials came to him during last night’s Monday Night Football game and asked him to use up all his timeouts, so that they could get in more commercial breaks.

Fisher declined, because his team was leading by 20 with under two minutes to go and he was hoping to run out the clock. (He said it was the first time he’d ever heard of that request being made.) But his opposite number, Jaguars coach Jack del Rio, did use his timeouts, extending a game he had no chance of winning.

Because the clock kept stopping, Fisher decided to call a running play on fourth down—rather than the traditional kneel-down—giving Chris Johnson a shot at a 35-yard, garbage time touchdown. (You’re welcome, fantasy players.)

Fisher did not criticise del Rio for calling the timeouts, but did make it clear that he mostly likely called them because someone from ESPN (or perhaps the NFL) asked him to. It’s absolutely outrageous that the NFL would let TV executives influence coaching strategy, no matter how meaningless the game, but it’s also no surprise to learn that the networks are allowed to call the shots.

Or maybe they just wanted to continue to rub it the face of Major League Baseball that a terrible regular season contest featuring two uninspired markets outdrew a playoff game in the ratings.

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