Art McNally, NFL supervisor of officials, said yesterday he is "thoroughly convinced" the Redskins had run out of time Sunday before they could set up for a potential game-winning field goal against Dallas.
"There is no doubt in my mind about it," McNally said. "I'm firmly convinced the game was handled properly by the officials and by the stadium clock operator."
With five seconds left, Joe Theismann threw a nine-yard pass to tight end Don Warren. The Redskins desperately tried to stop the clock after Warren's catch, but referee Bob Frederic and his crew said time had expired. w
Some Redskins since have claimed that as many as two seconds remained on the clock when Theismann asked for time.
But McNally said that his study of the game film shows that the pass play, if anything, took a fraction over five seconds to complete.
"We've watched the video of the game, we watched the coach's film and we watched the end zone coach's film," he said. "We also ran stop watches on the play from the beginning until the whistle sounded on the film.
"The watches ran from the time of the snap until the play is blown dead. We consistently came up with 4.9 to 5.1 or 5.2. It's always in that range.
"You can see No. 38 (clarence Harmon) call for time near Warren with two seconds left. But he isn't a designated captain and he can't be recognized by the officials as someone who can stop the clock.
"As soon as Joe Theismann (a designated captain) throws the ball, he turns completely around and puts his hand up to indicate time out to Frederic, who is about seven or eight yards away from him.
"Then the referee sees if the play is continuing or if it is over. He looks downfield and when he sees the play is dead downfield, he signals time out.
"You can't stop the clock until the play is over. The crew talked on the field and they all said they hadn't seen any time on the clock when time was called. They talked again in the dressing room and they again agreed.
"There is no question in my mind that the game was over. The crew handled it properly."