Despite the 24-20 final going in their favor, Dallas Cowboys fans appear to be the only people who believe they actually won Sunday’s NFC Wild Card playoff game. Most NFL experts agree that referee Pete Morelli’s crew botched the pass interference call/no-call that resulted in a Cowboys victory.
Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy spoke out against the ruling on Twitter, as did NFL officiating expert Mike Pereira. Even the team’s own safety, Barry Church, said he “would have made that call.”
And for a time, referees did make the call.
Those of us who are neither Dallas Cowboys fans nor Detroit Lions fans watched Sunday’s game incredulously, as referees called a pass interference on Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens against Detroit’s Brandon Pettigrew.
The initial move was correct. Hitchens had his back to the ball and was actually hanging on the front of Pettigrew’s shoulder pads. Allowing the penalty to stand would have placed the Lions deep in Dallas territory with a first down, giving them the opportunity to run more time off the clock and add to their lead.
After the call was waived, they faced a fourth down and were forced to punt.
In a strange twist, refs made the controversial decision without explanation until this one via ESPN one day later. From what fans saw on Sunday, it appeared as if Dallas Cowboys star Dez Bryant, who ran on the field without a helmet (a penalty in itself) to argue for his teammate, had talked referees out of it.
None of these facts were lost on the Dallas Morning News Monday morning, as it attempted some light-hearted (though ill-advised) humor at its audience’s expense through Facebook.
“Monday’s forecast: It’s going to be wet and rainy and… wait… wait… Dez Bryant has rushed onto the field and says it will be sunny. And the NFL refs agree and have canceled the winter storm. Huh. That’s odd. But that’s the call. So it’s going to be sunny today, high of 45. Let’s just accept this good fortune and keep moving…”
Fans were not amused, launching into profanity-laced tirades and threatening to cancel their DMN subscriptions. Here were some of the more sanitized comments.
“Dallas morning news hating on its own team smh. Who’s the editor??? Must be a hater!!”
“F you DMN. You just got two subscriptions canceled. Whoever wrote this should move to the sh t hole that is Detroit.”
“And you wonder why nobody buys your paper.”
“Wow really Dallas Morning News. Bad business!”
“Whoever writes these articles for the news. Needs to find something else to do. Your so-called humor sucks!!”
“Hey, guess what, Dez told me that the DMN is full of BS and I should not read that newspaper. Right! subscription canceled and no more reading on FB either. Good-bye.”
What do you think about the controversial call that sent the Dallas Cowboys to the next round of the NFC playoffs? Sound off in our comments section.