BOCA RATON, Fla. — The confusion over the Detroit Lions begin awarded a timeout it did not have against the New Orleans Saints last season was used as an example for a potential rule that could be instituted next season.

If passed by a vote, the rule would penalize teams for a delay if they call and are granted a timeout it does not possess. The penalty would only come if the timeout is granted — not just called for by a team — by an official.

Vice president of officiating Dean Blandino pointed to last season’s game between the Saints and Lions as the reason for instituting the rule.

The incident occurred when the Lions called for and were granted, a timeout they did not have at the end of the first half with the Saints marching toward their end zone. The down was replayed and the half ended when the Saints were determined to have an ineligible player down the field during the play.

Blandino said the impetus will remain on the officials to keep track of the timeouts. He said they typically keep track of those things without issue, but it happens at times.

“That team has really gained an advantage. The defense have the ability to rethink, have the ability to reset, whatever it is,” Blandino said. “Going forward the mechanic will change to not grant the timeout, but if we do that’s when the penalty will be assessed.”