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Cowboys’ Mike McCarthy explains what he would change about final play vs. 49ers


Mike McCarthy won’t back down on his defense of the play that sealed Dallas’ exit over the weekend.

The Cowboys head coach gave his season-ending press conference on Wednesday and was steadfast on his decision to call that fateful quarterback draw late in Dallas’ loss to San Francisco in the wild-card round.

The Dallas head coach explained that the final play that was run was a “13-second threshold,” meaning the play had a 13 second maximum in that spot to be effective. There were 14 seconds remaining on the game clock in that spot, which means the play was within the realm of successful execution, at least according to the head coach.

MORE: Dak Prescott apologizes for comments made towards officials

McCarthy did indicate that he would have made a change about the play:

“The part that we gotta talk about as a staff, and we had a chance to visit with Dak about it, speaking with Dak and officiating last night, is the mechanics. Our mechanics matching their (the officials) mechanics. I’m not gonna get into their mechanics. 

“As far as the draw play, the execution, the only thing that we talked about, Dak and I, was put a yard limit on it. Cut it to 10 yards. That’s probably gonna be the change, the adjustment that we make.”

McCarthy also explained that he believes the center can spot the ball on the play, while also saying all the official needs to do is touch the ball at minimum — if the spot is appropriate.

The touch by the umpire would indicate an OK spot, hence the umpire still needing to touch the ball before the start of the play. To avoid the situation (as Dallas did not, and analyst Tony Romo was screaming for), the player hands the ball to an official to spot the ball before the play begins.

MORE: Four McCarthy decisions that doomed Cowboys

In the Cowboys’ defense, former NFL VP of officiating Dean Blandino explained that the umpire, who was somewhat late arriving to the play, could have done a better job of trailing the play, and less time would have been wasted on the spot. 

Mike Pereira, current Fox rules analyst and also a former NFL VP of officiating, says that the mechanics for the officials could have been handled a little bit better. 

The NFL rulebook indicates that a spotted ball must still be touched by an official prior to the start of the play (Rule 3, Section 2, Article 2): 

A Dead Ball is Ready for Play while the 40-second Play Clock is running when the ball is placed down by an official at the spot where the ball will next be put in play, or when the Referee signals for the 25-second Play Clock to start.

The conversation may be all for naught, though: Game logs indicate that Prescott did get the final snap off and that the spike ended the game, not the expiration of time in the fourth quarter, meaning the Cowboys had their one last play and chose to waste it on the spike instead of a chuck down the field.

McCarthy says that he hasn’t watched the game “in detail” just yet, but has made an exception for the highly controversial final play.

Don’t lose sleep, Cowboy fans.




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