FanPost

From the 46 to the 36 - Who knew?


I read earlier that there was some confusion on the Dallas sideline after Barron was called for holding on the Cowboys' last drive of the half.

Watching the game on TV, I could have sworn that the ref said the holding penalty was declined. I thought to myself "that's odd" that Washington would let Dallas stay on their own 46 yard line, but chalked it up to the Redskins just wanting to take the incomplete pass and the down. But sure enough when the Cowboys lined up a few seconds later the line of scrimmage was at the 36 yard line. Obviously either the ref was wrong when he made his official public announcement, or he was right and the Redskins quickly changed their minds and let the ref know and the officials marched off the ten yards accordingly.

My question is, how would the Cowboy coaches know what the Redskins coaches decided in terms of whether to accept or decline the penalty? How does it work in the NFL? Do opposing coaches find out from the ref's official miked announcement, or does a ref come over and tell the coaches what's going on? My point is, if it's the former, then Cowboys coaches might have indeed thought they had the ball at the 46 yard line, making a last-second offensive play call more palatable, as compared to the 36 yard line, where a kneel-down might have been more appropriate. And the team would have a legitimate gripe against the officials. Of course, if it's the latter situation, then there are not really any excuses. And certainly Romo and Choice knew where they were on the field when they each made their dubious decisions.

Anyway, if anyone can clear up the NFL rules on how they let the team know that committed the penalty if the other team accepted or declined the penalty, I would appreciate it. Also, let me know if my impression that the ref originally told the 90,000 people at the game and the millions watching on TV that the Redskins declined the penalty is accurate or not. Thanks. 

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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