Dak Prescott on coin flip controversy: Just bad use of words by me

AP

It turns out Sunday’s game at AT&T Stadium was not a flip of the coin. Dak Prescott threw for 212 yards and two touchdowns, and the Cowboys rolled to a 44-21 victory over the Rames.

Things got off to an inauspicious start for the Cowboys, though, when Walt Anderson heard Prescott say the Cowboys wanted to kickoff after winning the coin toss.

“Definitely a weird start,” Prescott said. “We wanted to set adversity there instead of on the field, so we could play from behind immediately. Just bad use of words by me. We listened to the audio. We got it figured out. Just wasn’t the cleanest coin flip I’ve been a part of.”

Coin toss controversies have happened in the NFL previously, most notably when Jerome Bettis called tails and referee Phil Luckett insisted after the Thanksgiving 1998 overtime coin flip landed tails that Bettis called heads.

But Prescott clearly said the Cowboys wanted to kickoff, and, when asked again by Anderson if he was sure, Prescott repeated his option. Prescott, though, already had said defer and didn’t know Anderson hadn’t heard him.

Prescott admits he said “a little bit of everything.”

Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence took the blame for the near miscue, saying it was his decision to defer because he wanted the Cowboys defense on the field first.

“We was gonna receive the ball, but I wanted to defer,” Lawrence said. “But once you said kick, that means you’re kicking off and you got to kick off the second half? I don’t know. We was supposed to say defer. That was the little confusion, but it’s all good.”

The situation was resolved by the league office at halftime when game officials consulted with the NFL’s supervisor of officiating, Al Riveron. The Cowboys kicked off to open the game and, leading 28-7 at halftime, received to open the second half.

“Yeah, Dak told me he used the word ‘defer’ out there, so we felt like we had a case there,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “But they needed to kind of hear it. I actually was coming into the locker room when [Fox sideline reporter] Erin Andrews made me aware that there was some audio they were going to refer back to.”

Riveron made the decision, using Rule 15, Section 3, Article 9, which said that officials can use replay for game administration issues.

“If you look at what happened, you see that the Cowboys actually say three different things, and then we hear at the end where they say, ‘defer,'” Riveron said in a pool report. “So we go ahead and look at it. We pulled up the audio. We knew that I was going to have a conversation with Walt Anderson at halftime to make it right.”

In the end, it didn’t matter. But Cowboys owner Jerry Jones joked that he is firing Prescott from ever calling the coin flip again.

22 responses to “Dak Prescott on coin flip controversy: Just bad use of words by me

  1. Typical situation where the intent is obvious. The officials had the opportunity to affect the game negatively for a stupid reason. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed. The NFL doesn’t need to have games with playoff implications affected by non standard phraseology.

  2. posers2015 says:
    December 15, 2019 at 10:12 pm
    Typical situation where the intent is obvious. The officials had the opportunity to affect the game negatively for a stupid reason. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed. The NFL doesn’t need to have games with playoff implications affected by non standard phraseology.
    ====================

    Non standard phraseology? Not at all. The rules and terminology have existed forever. Some folks like to pop off when they should be quiet and learn the rules first.

    The coin flip determines who gets to CHOOSE. If the flip winner elects to defer, that means they are deferring their choice until the 2nd half. when the 2nd half comes, they can elect to receive or kick-off. So, since they have deferred, the other team gets to choose the first half kickoff, to receive or kick. They usually decide to receive because the other team will most likely elect to receive the 2nd half, thus if they don’t receive the 1st, they would likely have to kick both halves.

    Why would a team choose to kick the 2nd half after deferring? Maybe their QBs are all hurt. Maybe their defense is dominant. Who knows? The fact it seldom happens doesn’t mean it never will or does. So the important thing to remember is the coin flip winner gets to choose, and they can defer but if so, they are deferring their CHOICE.

  3. This is another case of the referees trying to interject themselves into the game. Anderson knew exactly what Prescott’s intentions were but was trying to catch him in a phrasing screw up. NY did the right thing and fixed the refs mistake.

  4. The rule is kind of stupid to begin with since there’s no difference by what a team usually means between kick or defer. The implication is the same for the team that wins the coin toss, that they want to kick in the first half and receive it in the second half. So, it shouldn’t matter if they say defer or kick. It’s common sense.

  5. I don’t blame the ref- he obviously didn’t hear
    I don’t blame Dak- it’s and obscure and stupid rule

    Only the NFL can complicate a coin toss. It should just be Kick or Receive. Why have all the unnecessary deferral stuff on top

  6. “Non standard phraseology? Not at all. The rules and terminology have existed forever. Some folks like to pop off when they should be quiet and learn the rules first.”
    ______________

    Actually, the rules and terminology have existed only since the deferral option was adopted. Prior to that adoption the rules and terminology were radically different. Folks should learn the history of the rules before popping off.

  7. I understand the rule, & as a Cowboys fan, I can see where the confusion/mistake was.

    Having said that, I’d be curious to know if, a team has ever kicked off both halves..? Seriously. Has that EVER happened..?

  8. Garrett is the only coach in the NFL that will not defer when winning the coin toss.
    Not very smart….

  9. Jerome Bettis can sympathize.
    Maybe Dak should hold up a cardboard sign with his decision next time.

  10. Demrcus Lawrence makes the decisions on kick off? Why does the head coach not make the decision whether to receive or defer? This is incredibly dysfunctional!

  11. I think that the Rams did get screwed after all.
    Prescottsays 1. We want to kick off. 2. Then he said says we want to kick that way ( making the Rams play into the Bright sun in the second quarter) 3. He then refers.

    So this Cowboys kick in the direction they wanted and got the ball first in the second half. Refs in NY got confused and screw it up.

  12. Having said that, I’d be curious to know if, a team has ever kicked off both halves..? Seriously. Has that EVER happened..?
    ——–
    Chargers-Bengals ’81 AFC Championship game. more recently, the Raiders pulled a Dak in a 2011 preseason game and kicked off twice.

    College football has the same rule. Texas did it vs UCLA a few years ago.

    The main reason to choose to kick would be weather.

  13. I remember when Texas did this against UCLA in Dallas. For the life of us we couldn’t figure out why the Longhorns kicked off to start both halves, until after the game when we found out our captain won the coin toss and elected to KICK!!!

  14. I understand the rule, & as a Cowboys fan, I can see where the confusion/mistake was.

    Having said that, I’d be curious to know if, a team has ever kicked off both halves..? Seriously. Has that EVER happened..?
    …………………

    If you understood the rule you’d know that’s a foolish question.

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