On Sunday the Cowboys blocked a Broncos punt, but the ball ended up going back to the Broncos because a Cowboys player touched the ball after it had crossed the line of scrimmage. It was an obscure rule that few knew.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he was not a fan of a rule that rewards a team for getting its punt blocked.
“It’s a very odd rule because it rewards the team that makes the bad play,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan, via the Dallas Morning News. “That’s a fundamental premise of rule making is that we try to not have these plays that you shouldn’t be rewarded for reward you. In that particular case, you could envision — smiling here — you could envision the kicker, rather than turning the ball over, just kicking the ball right to a defensive lineman and shanking it off him and having a recovery like an onside kick. And, so, you have to have two people to make the play, the one that blocks it, and of course, the one that tries to pick it up. But, that’s absurd of course. No, I guess I knew the rule, but I’d never seen it applied when it applied to us.”
Many of the more obscure rules on punts are 100 or more years old, have their roots in rugby, and feel out of place in the modern NFL. That one came back to bite the Cowboys on Sunday.