Why Wasn’t Dez Bryant Flagged For An Unsportsmanlike Conduct Penalty On This Play?

Everyone’s talking about the controversial penalty in the Dallas-Detroit game, the flag on pass interference that was ultimately picked up with no reason given. And sure, that’s worth talking about. FOX officiating guru Mike Pereira said he had never seen anything like that before, let alone in a playoff game.

But there’s something else on that play that’s being largely ignored, something else that officials missed. Moments after the flag came out for pass interference, Dallas WR Dez Bryant ran out on the field to argue with officials. He ran out on the field without his helmet, almost to the numbers in irate fashion, screaming and wildly gesticulating towards the linesman. Under NFL rules, that’s an automatic unsportsmanlike conduct penalty (and a fairly obvious one).

Article 3, Section 3h:

Removal of his helmet by a player in the field
of play during a celebration or during a confrontation
with a game official or any other player.

Here’s a close look at what happened.

There was no replay from FOX and Joe Buck and Troy Aikman didn’t say a word about it during the broadcast. And yet, that call is made almost 100% of the time.

In a game of several questionable calls, this one sticks out like a sore thumb.