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What if the penalty flag on Anthony Hitchens back in 2014 wasn’t picked up?

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How would have that Cowboys-Lions playoff game played out, and what would it have meant for the future?

NFL: Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

There are a lot of interesting “what if” scenarios to consider when it comes to the Dallas Cowboys.

A lot of people would look to recent memory when the team traveled to Green Bay for a divisional round date against the Packers. You know the story: Dez jumped, Dez caught, heartbreak.

In the interest of exploring areas that haven’t seen as much attention, fellow FPWer Tom Ryle and I went on an excursion down a different “what if” path, one that took place a week before.

You’ll remember that back in the 2014 playoffs the Cowboys defeated the Detroit Lions in order to earn the right to face Green Bay. It was a thrilling victory, one of the finest in the Jason Garrett era, and one of the most pivotal for Tony Romo’s legacy.

One of the more pivotal moments of that game was a penalty call against Anthony Hitchens that ultimately was not called. A thrown flag was picked up which helped the Cowboys defense get off of the field in order for the offense to get the ball. The sequence led to Jason Witten’s famed Y-Option fourth-down conversion and Tony Romo’s touchdown pass to Terrance Williams.

When you examine what would have happened had the penalty stood, a scenario that likely would have left to a Cowboys loss, you’re left with three people who likely would have seen their legacies altered the most: Jason Garrett, Tony Romo, and Dez Bryant.

With no playoff win on his résumé, would Dallas still have extended Garrett in the offseason following? With Tony Romo and Dez Bryant not having played in the game at Green Bay where they were robbed, would their legacies be viewed any differently?

Tom and I got into it all. We hope you enjoy. You can subscribe to the BTB podcast feed and get access to all of our shows right here.