The Cowboys hosted the Rams on Sunday in a pivotal game for both teams as they each look to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Rams need wins to stay alive in the Wild Card chase at 8-5, while the Cowboys, despite a 6-7 record, could draw even with the Eagles once again in the NFC East with a win after Philly pulled out a come from behind win (and cover thanks to a horrendous bad beat fumble by Washington).
Before the game could even get started, controversy struck at the coin toss in Dallas. After the Cowboys won the toss, Dak Prescott was asked what he would like to do and said “kick it” before “defer.” By doing so, he theoretically allowed the Rams not only to receive the opening kick of the game, but defer their option to receive to the second half since Prescott didn’t say defer first.
“We defer to the second half.” Dak Prescott absolutely said “defer” before Walt Anderson called it. If the #NFL can send someone into a locker room and tell Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry to change their cleats, it sure as hell can (and should) fix this. pic.twitter.com/27VL94RrYK
— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) December 15, 2019
Improved audio has emerged. Dak said "kick it, kick it that way," which Walt Anderson accepted the kick option. Dak added, "defer to the second half," but by rule, the first choice is irrevocable. More in the liveblog: https://t.co/qOf3tDhRl4
— Fᴏᴏᴛʙᴀʟʟ Zᴇʙʀᴀs (@footballzebras) December 15, 2019
It is a rather incredible thing to have happen and, honestly, it’s a bit surprising it hasn’t come up before with someone saying kick rather than defer. However, it is a reminder of the importance of choosing your words correctly and how strict the NFL rulebook is in what you must say at the coin toss.
UPDATE: Despite the initial ruling, the referees changed after further review at halftime and allowed the Cowboys to receive the ball to start the second half since Prescott did indeed say “defer” eventually. As Erin Andrews reported on the Fox broadcast, that came as “news to [Sean] McVay,” who thought his team would at least be getting an extra possession that they desperately needed.
Dallas took a 28-7 lead into halftime thanks to some great play on both sides of the ball and a late touchdown set up by a Sean Lee interception of Jared Goff. The Rams could’ve really used a chance to get the ball to start the half to try and cut into the deficit, but either way given his play on the field Prescott should be able to laugh about this after the game.