The Dallas Cowboys hung 37 points on the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday night and enjoyed the most dominating victory over their division rival that they’ve had this century. Life is good.
While the Cowboys are now 4-3 and sitting in a good spot over their bye, the reality remains that a lot NFL games have been refereed to a questionable degree this season. Officiating has definitely seen better days across the league.
This was the case once again as the Cowboys trounced the Eagles, but the most flagrant error didn’t seem to actually come from an official. As Dallas marched down field to try and score (they eventually would), they were trying to hurry up in order to take advantage of the personnel that Philadelphia had on the field at that particular moment.
Derek Barnett did not seem to take too kindly to that. After Dak Prescott hit Randall Cobb for a big gain, Barnett saw that the Cowboys were going to hurry up and then, this is what it looked like, immediately sat down so as to buy his team time.
Derek Barnett is at the 22-yard line when Dak Prescott lets go of the football, no signs of injury.— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) October 21, 2019
He very clearly sees Dak, Randall Cobb, and Michael Gallup hurrying up at about the five-yard line (17-second mark).
He then walks to the goal line and sits down out of nowhere. pic.twitter.com/WlWPHKDh2v
Let’s be clear. It really is possible that Derek Barnett got hurt and went down as a result of it. Nobody here knows how his body was feeling, nobody in the world does except for him.
Given the context of the situation though, it looks an awful lot like Barnett went down to give the Eagles an opportunity to adjust to what the Cowboys were about to do. If this were the case it goes against the spirit of NFL rules, and even if Barnett did do this he would not be the first player in the history of football to do it.
This question needs to be asked, how does the NFL handle this? How can they even police it? You can’t definitively prove that Barnett wasn’t hurt, but there’s no doubt that what he did (again, it could have been sincere) influenced what the Cowboys were trying to do offensively.
This is a tricky issue for the NFL and one that will likely come up when they try to amend their rules (which they’re always doing). Hopefully the people tasked with this type of responsibility are able to figure out the proper way to handle situations like this.