The Dallas Cowboys romped to a 44-21 win over the Los Angeles Rams. Because of the way the game played out, it turned out that defer-gate wasn’t going to be a big deal. Still, the oddity of the coin toss to start the game hung over the proceedings until things were finally resolved by halftime.
It all started when the Cowboys won the toss and Dak Prescott said the Cowboys wanted to kick it, when technically if you want to receive the ball in the second half you need to defer. After referee Walt Anderson asking him again, Prescott said the Cowboys would defer, but somehow Anderson didn’t acknowledge that and for the first half of the game it was believed that the Cowboys would kickoff to start the game, and kickoff to start the second half.
Check out the exchange for yourself.
Certainly sounds like Dak Prescott says we want to defer to the second half pic.twitter.com/hFAkwMlwkD— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) December 15, 2019
At halftime, Anderson notified both teams that the league office had changed the ruling and the Cowboys would receive the ball to start the second half. It was explained that the league acted under this rule:
According to the NFL, the league office was authorized to step in under Rule 15, Section 3, Article 9 of its rule book. It states: “The replay official and designated members of the officiating department may consult with on-field officials, or conduct a replay review, of game administration issues, including: (a) penalty enforcement; (b) the proper down; (c) spot of a foul; and (d) the game clock.”
The Cowboys led 28-7 at halftime so it might not have seemed like the biggest deal at the time, but given how the Cowboys have collapsed at various times this season, they wanted every advantage they could get. Normally the Rams have an explosive offense so giving them the ball after halftime could have started a rally. It turned out that the Rams were no better in the second half than they were in the first half, so the whole thing ended up just being a curiosity.
You can bet that Dak Prescott, or any Cowboys player, wont’t make that same mistake again.
“Definitely a weird start,” Prescott said after his team won in a rout, 44-21. “We wanted to set adversity there instead of on the field, so we could play from behind immediately. Just bad use of words by me. We listened to the audio. We got it figured out. Just wasn’t the cleanest coin flip I’ve been a part of.”