Dean Blandino throws a flag on the Cowboys’ final play of the season.
The former NFL vice president of arbitration took a look back at the fateful final play that ended the Cowboys’ 23-17 loss to the 49ers on Sunday, ultimately deciding that both sides bear a little bit of blame for the way the play unfolded.
“A couple of things: With 14 seconds on the clock at the snap, it’s a risky play decision. The players understand that you have to pass the ball to an umpire. And the umpire has to follow that play and anticipate and be there.” in position to receive the ball. spotted the ball or, at a minimum, touch the ball and get out of the way.
With the line of scrimmage at the 40-yard line, Prescott passed it quickly after the snap, but it appears the umpire didn’t start tracking the play until it was finally dead, to the point of Blandino.
The next view of the play doesn’t show the umpire in frame, but Blandino says he’s about 15 yards behind the line of scrimmage before the snap, which is where he’s supposed to be.
However, the referee doesn’t enter the frame until Prescott slides down at the 25-yard line:
According to the report from the group of referees after the game, the team was in the correct position, because the referee has to remain in view of the entire field to correctly call any penalties as necessary. (Dallas had plenty of those.)
Speaking with Rich Eisen on Monday, Mike Pereira, also a former NFL vice president of officiating, said the refereeing process could have been handled better mechanically. Pereira says that although the mechanics of the arbitration in that place are not reviewable, the time remaining on the clock is. He points out that it was an argument in the field.
Really, the whole situation could have been avoided if the Cowboys hadn’t taken such a risky bet on the play to begin with, or if Prescott had slipped a little earlier. Coincidentally, game records indicate that the Cowboys got the final kickoff and that the game ended with the spike, not the expiration of the clock. That means the Cowboys technically had a chance to throw the ball into the end zone in a last-ditch effort to win or tie the game if they hadn’t spiked it.
Let the speech begin.