The Dallas Cowboys lost a wild playoff game 23-17 to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday Jan. 17th. The Cowboys were very upset with the way the game was officiated and their fans were too. As the refs were leaving the field fans were seen tossing debris from the stands in their direction.
— Jane Slater (@SlaterNFL) January 17, 2022
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott understood the frustration from the fans.
“Credit to them,” he said. “The fans felt the same way as us. I guess that’s why the refs took off and got out of there so fast. I think everybody is upset with the way this thing played out.”
As did defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence.
DeMarcus Lawrence on fans throwing trash onto the field: “That shit was aimed at the refs. … It had nothing to do with me.”
— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) January 17, 2022
Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy also took a shot at the officials.
“I thought they would let these teams play today, but that’s for them to answer.”
Cowboys Coach Mike McCarthy said he thought the referees were standing over the ball when both teams tried to go tempo and were a little whistle happy.
“I thought they would let these teams play today, but that’s for them to answer.” pic.twitter.com/VKfbMxTMUM
— Sam Fortier (@Sam4TR) January 17, 2022
When your season ends in that manner emotions will run hot. We’ll allow the Cowboys a little grace here. The fans? Come on man. Do better. Throwing trash? Grow up.
As to the merits of the Cowboys’ gripe with the officiating? Eh…
Had the Cowboys played better they wouldn’t be in that situation in the first place. Coaches in all sports at every level preach the same thing, never let the officials decide the outcome of the game. If you’re complaining for a call or griping about officiating you didn’t do your job well enough.
The play in question came at the end of the game, after Prescott ran a quarterback draw that with 14 seconds left. With the clock still running, the Cowboys rushed up to the 24-yard line, where Prescott was marked down after a slide, and lined up for a spike. Instead of handing the ball to an official, Prescott handed it to center Tyler Biadasz, who tried to quickly snap it. That delayed the umpire spotting the ball. The umpire muscled his way up to the line, grabbed the ball and marked it ready for play. By the time Biadasz snapped it to Prescott for the spike, the game was over.
— NFL (@NFL) January 17, 2022
According to the referee pool report following the game. The officials did everything by the book.
“The umpire was simply spotting the ball properly,” referee Alex Kemp said. “He collided with the players as he was setting the ball because he was moving it to the proper spot.”
Pool report from interview with referee Alex Kemp pic.twitter.com/khZngJroQx
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) January 17, 2022
If there was no collision with the umpire maybe they would’ve gotten a chance to run five verticals from the 25 yard line. Maybe Prescott should’ve slid earlier, immediately got up and handed the ball to the umpire instead of his center.
But again, it shouldn’t have had to come down to this if the Cowboys played a better game. They were called for a playoff record-tying 14 penalties for 89 yards, continuing their regular season trend as the most penalized team.
“I’ve never seen that come down the way it came down, as far as the collision between the umpire and a quarterback,” McCarthy said during his postgame news conference. “We’re trying to get inside the 30-yard line to set up the last play. The mechanics were intact, it felt, from our end of it.”
When you don’t play well enough during a game and you need perfect outcomes from players and officials in the most crucial moments to secure the win, it almost never works out. The Cowboys learned that lesson, yet again, the hard way.