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#pounditTuesday, September 28, 2021

Report: NFL admits referees made crucial mistake in Packers-Cowboys game

The NFL has reportedly admitted that a crucial 15-yard penalty the Dallas Cowboys were assessed in last weekend’s playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers should not have been called.

With Dallas trailing 7-3 in the first quarter and the ball on the Green Bay 37-yard line, officials called a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on wide receiver Brice Butler for entering the huddle and then not participating in the play. The call erased a 22-yard completion to Terrance Williams that would have placed the Cowboys at the Packers’ 16-yard line.

According to NFL reporter Michael Lombardi, the league admitted the call was a mistake.

Had the play happened in the fourth quarter, it would have been magnified. But the fact that it took place early in the game doesn’t make it any less important.

Instead of having a first down in the red zone, the Cowboys faced 2nd-and-20 at their own 48-yard line. They punted two plays later, so you could argue that the incorrect call took a score away from them in a game that ended on a last-second field goal.

As CBS Dallas notes, NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino defended the call on Twitter during the game, saying a sub can’t come off the bench and into the huddle without participating. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett and several players said they had never heard of the rule.

We have seen the NFL admit in the past that a mistake cost a team the game, but hearing that has to really sting for Cowboys fans.

Photo: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

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