We've had some close calls with parabolic mic people over the years, and an actual collision with some broken glasses in 2016. But no one has felt the need for the folks standing on the sidelines with what look like inverted plastic shields quite like Rex Ryan.
Hanging onto a lead and their playoff lives, the Bills lined up to defend a Dolphins field goal attempt in the final seconds of regulation. Ryan claims he tried to call a timeout well before the ball was snapped, so much so that he broke down the multi-part process of him experiencing communication breakdown in real time.
"Obviously he never called it, he never blew it dead," Ryan said of head linesman Mark Hittner, via ESPN. "I was yelling at him. I went over to him. I'm sure you saw our players trying to call the timeout, trying to put our field goal block team on the field.
"And so then they're not saying (timeout), and I looked and I was shocked it hadn't been called. Then I'm like, 'Timeout, timeout.' Then I'm even trying to signal it to the guy.
"But I'm assuming the thing's gonna be done. But I'm over there, yelling timeout well before the thing was kicked. It will show up. I'm sure there was audio of it. So we'll get it."
The kick ended up being good, forcing overtime. When Ryan mentions audio, he's speaking about the microphones used for the television broadcast -- specifically, the parabolic mics. But take a listen below. There isn't a "timeout!" to decipher in the buzz of an anxious Buffalo crowd.
The end result was a Buffalo loss, the Bills' elimination from the postseason and perhaps the beginning of the final week for Bills head coach Rex Ryan. Players on the sideline appeared incensed by the lack of a timeout, but the bigger issue remains: Ryan's defense couldn't get a stop when needed most, which will likely be his ultimate downfall, hearing issue or not.