The Denver Broncos couldn’t get their headsets to work for part of the game against the Los Angeles Chargers. Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy decided he’d use a walkie-talkie instead.
It’s something New York Giants fans may have picked up on. In 2016, when playing the rival Dallas Cowboys, the Giants had the same issue. They also used a walkie-talkie. The league said that was cheating and they had a fourth-round draft pick downgraded this spring.
The Broncos, though, aren’t going to be penalized at all. They weren’t cheating, according to the league. What’s different?
The rule. After the fiasco with the Giants, the NFL decided to update that rule. The Giants were still punished for breaking it as it was at the time, but the Broncos aren’t bound by the same constraints.
“There was a change during the offseason,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy wrote, per Mike Florio of NBC’s Pro Football Talk. “There were changes made to the system that gave all teams the ability to use a radio as a way to communicate play calls if there was an issue with calling in plays on the existing system. In 2016, club personnel were prohibited from using a radio because there was no way to cut off that radio’s communication as required by league rules (i.e., 15 seconds left on the play clock).”
So, with a radio that now fits the rule and keeps the game fair, McCoy was able to keep his offense running even without the headset.
Of course, that offense was shut out for the first time since 1992, so Chargers fans won’t care too much how he called those ineffective plays.
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