Stephen Jones Thinks Obscure Rule In Cowboys-Broncos Should Be Reexamined

'It's certainly something to look at it again'


November 8, 2021

Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy was asked Sunday if a controversial rule which impacted Dallas negatively during a Week 9 game was a rule he agreed with.

“It doesn’t matter,” McCarthy told reporters, as shared by the team. “You’re not going to solve anything today.”

And while McCarthy’s short-term assessment obviously is true, it doesn’t mean Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones, the son of owner Jerry Jones, is going to let the opportunity pass by. Jones discussed the controversial play Monday on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas and said the rule should be reexamined in the future.

“It’s certainly something to look at it again,” Jones told the radio station. “It’s never the intention in the NFL to have something bad happen against making a good play. … Obviously, that one’s a tough one right there in the traffic, five yards downfield. But, once it crosses the line of scrimmage, then that is the rule.

“Certainly, it will come up,” Jones continued. “We’ll discuss it at length again and go back through the history of it, why we have it in and is there any reason to discuss changing the rule.”

The rule in question occurred at AT&T Stadium as the Cowboys hosted the Denver Broncos. And it was Dallas who had a potential game-altering opportunity taken away.

Here’s how it went down: The Broncos lined up to punt the ball on their first drive of the second half after appearing to go three-and-out. Cowboys special teamer Malik Turner came up the middle and blocked Sam Martin’s punt and the ball bounced off Dallas rookie Nahshon Wright’s hands. Broncos linebacker Jonas Griffith snagged the ball and ran a few yards, but was tackled before the first-down marker. 

Still, after a discussion between officials, the ball went back to the Broncos, who were awarded a first down because of the obscured rule. Said rule indicates if a punt is blocked and goes beyond the line of scrimmage, where it’s touched by the receiving team, the kicking team is eligible to recover the ball.

If the rule was different, the Cowboys would have taken over deep in Denver territory while facing a 16-0 deficit early in the third quarter. Instead, the Broncos drove down the field and made it a three-possession game en route to a rather surprising 30-16 victory.

Thumbnail photo via Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports Images
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