Jerry Jones wants to see “discretion” in how NFL games are officiated

Dallas Cowboys v Minnesota Vikings
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Cowboys owner and General Manager Jerry Jones was not a fan of the “throw up ball” he saw in his team’s penalty-fest of a Thanksgiving loss to the Raiders. And Jones indicated that the real issue is not the NFL’s rules, but over-officious officials.

Jones said he can’t fault the Raiders for the way their deep balls drew so many pass interference penalties, but he does think the NFL’s rules incentivize under-thrown passes to draw flags, and that the officials don’t need to throw a flag on every bit of ticky-tack contact.

“To their credit, I think [the Raiders] just did a real good job of getting their big plays, and a bunch of them were penalties in the throwing game,” Jones said, via the Star-Telegram. “They took advantage of it, and I think it influenced the win. We had some plays go with us too, it wasn’t like it didn’t go against them. So again, this is really not a criticism of the rules. It is a criticism of the discretion of how you use them and what play. Everybody knows you can call a penalty on every play many different ways, every time the ball snapped. And so you have to have a feel for what you’re trying to do in the ball game and this one turned out that way.”

The officials didn’t quite call a penalty on every play on Thanksgiving, but at times it felt that way. Still, until the officiating affects the popularity of the sport, the league doesn’t have much incentive to change things. And if there’s one thing we know from the Raiders-Cowboys game, the NFL remains staggeringly popular.

50 responses to “Jerry Jones wants to see “discretion” in how NFL games are officiated

  1. Disagree with Jones, if the refs aren’t consistent than we have a bigger problem. Why was it called for one play and not the other? Perhaps they need clarification, if the ball in under thrown offensive player cannot go thru the defensive player to the ball.

  2. A better suggestion, at least regardingface-guarding DPI, is: ‘young man, you need better technique and more practice to get there.’

    Belicheck would incur a fine by saying what Jones said.

  3. Stop me if you’ve heard this before… but Jerry Jones complaining when things don’t go his way… you can bet your bottom dollar that if the cowboys would have won he wouldn’t have said anything about the officiating

  4. If the situation were reversed he would be saying it was clearly Pass Interference because it was. He should be talking about his kicker missing a PAT and a FG along with a failed 2 point attempt. Taking advantage of their CB is smart football and Jerry better believe every team going forward will be looking for Brown downfield. It’s not the refs job to bail his CB out.

  5. Looks like Jerry got a bit of his own medicine… back in ’15 cowboys vs lions playoff game critical 3rd down Hitchens interferes with lions TE pettigrew in similar way, flag is throw penalty is announced then for some mysterious reason referee huddles with refs then with joy to the home crowd we are siding with the cowboys. no penalty

  6. The DPIs were consistent. It was the phantom false starts and holding calls which were getting annoying and the only thing keeping the Cowboys in the game. Especially the one that forced the Raiders to kick a FG with 2 minutes left in the game. One more first down and they were kicking that FG as time expired.

    The problem wasn’t the underthrown balls, it was Brown getting beat and being more focused on catching up to his guy than worrying about the ball.

  7. “Detroit has been getting cheated for years by the refs”

    Nowhere near as badly as they get cheated by their ownership.

  8. Jerry some Officials enjoy power even though minuscule besides the power you enjoy it impedes their ability to call a fair game.

  9. So let’s hear if from all the whiners that think the NFL officials “influence” the game to favor certain teams.

    Let’s see how they explain that, 1) the biggest tv draw team loses a national televised game and 2) owner of said favored team himself believe officials don’t use enough “discretion” in calls.

  10. Blame Belichick…Every year the Patriots knocked Peyton and the Colts out of the playoffs, Bill Polian would make PI contact more strict through the Competition Committee. nobody cared bc it was beat Patriots at all costs….

  11. don bur says:
    November 27, 2021 at 8:39 am
    Detroit has been getting cheated for years by the refs
    I’m sure you also blame their horrible record on the refs.

  12. Jerry we already expanded the number of teams that make the playoffs so that the Cowboys could get in. Maybe you just have to hire a decent GM so your team can win enough games to make the watered down playoffs.

  13. Jerry Jones just needs to shut up. I watched the game. Were the officials a little too flag happy? Yes, they were. But the Cowboys clearly don’t know how to play within the rules and there were a lot more flags that could have and should have been called. As examples, the Cowboys’ two-point conversion that tied the game should have been called back. A Cowboys’ receiver did an illegal pick. He put his hand out as he was “running his route,” slowing down the Raiders’ defender. This was a clear pick. On the Cowboys’ last drive, a Cowboys tackle literally grabbed ahold of Maxx Crosby as he beat his man and was heading to a sack. The Cowboys’ player threw him to the ground. Even on the pass interference call that Jones is complaining about, Hunter Renfrow was being held all of he way down the field. Maybe, just maybe, the Cowboys are not that good or talented and they just had calls go their way until this game. I’ve been watching the NFL since 1967, and the penalty hat Jones is complaining about most would have been called on 99.99% of games I’ve watched over the years. Jones doesn’t want a “fair shake,” he wants officials to use their discretion to benefit the Cowboys.

  14. The two penalties that drive me nuts more than anything are PI and Holding. Being an NFL ref is very hard and thankless job and nobody will ever catch every penalty but the inconsistency in PI and holding is absurd. You can watch a replay of every snap and see holding in the trenches that they don’t call but just called the play before. I just want clarification and consistency. Get the refs some help. If you don’t, I would rather see the refs only call egregious and dangerous penalties. Let them play unless there is a very clear penalty. Simple as that.

  15. Blame Belichick….Bill Polian would make PI contact more strict through the Competition Committee… wouldn’t you then blame Polian since he is the one that got the rule changed? I mean c’mon man, you can hate BB and the Pats all you want, but that doesn’t mean throw all logic out the window (sort of like, you know air pressure going down in cold weather)

  16. If you watched the game, the Cowboys played up in the Raiders faces all game. They showed pressure at the LOS, and played press man coverage on the receivers. They played that way all game. Very little zone coverage. If you play that much press man, teams will throw a lot of Go routes against you, and you will get a lot of PIs. Tell your DC to change up his coverage. BTW, didn’t Carr throw for 373 yards and that’s not adding in the PI calls

  17. Wow…been saying this for a few years now…it’s almost like the QB should intentionally underthrow every deep ball…then get a PI penalty 99% of the time…there’s no way a DB can run down the field full sprint with his head looking back at the ball…to make sure it isn’t underthrown…that’s a tremendous edge for the offense…dare I say an unfair edge…rewarding a QB for what is essentially a poorly thrown ball

  18. The real problem here is that nobody cares or chimes in until it affects their team. NFL owners should have been stating their opinions and displeasures when the Steelers/Chicago game happened or when the lack of calling cost the Saints their trip to the Superbowl a few years back. The owners are the only ones with the freedom of speech when it comes to officiating. It’s obvious the NFL has a broken product but the coaches and players are not allowed to say anything about it or they get fined. The elephant in the room continues to grow.

  19. Let’s get this straight: Jerry wanted the NFL to change the punt block rule after a player on his team who didn’t know the rule cost the Cowboys a possession, and now he wants the NFL to change the way the officials call DPI because his players can’t help but commit DPI.

    I have an idea, how about change the rule so that every time the Cowboys cross the goal line with the ball, they get 14 points, and their opponents will only get 7 points when they do it. That’s fair in Jerry’s eyes.

  20. NFL officiating like MLB umpiring is getting worse every year. Just not this game. The Cowboys have no one to blame but themselves. Dak hasn’t looked the same since his calf injury. That said NFL officiating is a joke. It’s like NFL Refs dont call PI, until the WR gyrates like a fool, then the flag comes out. Dalton Schultz was the victim of PI and he didnt jump around and act like a fool. I think it was Goff got blasted in the back in the 1st game, no penalty, and in the Browns Cardinals game, the Browns DL just pushed Murray in the back, didn’t even knock him to the ground, and the clueless refs called roughing the passer. NFL officiating is as bad as it’s ever been. Could it be because of NFL embracing gambling, perhaps, could it be the idiotic rule book that tries to call a penalty for every football play imaginable, yes, could it be incompetent refs, yes. It’s not a good look for the NFL regardless

  21. I think a simple rule that all penalties have to be directly related to the action, and the outcome, would eliminate at least some unnecessary penalties. Pass interference should be called only when it directly impacts the outcome. Many balls are not reasonably catchable, and yet PI is called. Holding calls should have a criteria that they demonstrably impact the outcome of the play. Jerry Jones is right, and I was sorry to see the outcome of that game decided by a PI call. But as much as I wouldn’t have wanted to call it on that play if I was the ref, I would have. The defender didn’t make an effort to play the ball and demonstrably impacted the ability of WR to catch it. It was PI, and they had to call it.

  22. It’s not just Brown folks…being a gambler who watches multiple games…I’d need more than 2 hands to count the number of times PI is called on a DB for an underthrown ball every Sunday…the only reason we don’t see 4 or 5 PI calls every game is because the QB isn’t intentionally underthowing the ball…but maybe they should…!

    I believe the NFL needs to look at this…and make a change…make the “underthrown aka bad pass” PI penalty a 5 yarder automatic first down…just like defensive holding…

  23. make the “underthrown aka bad pass” PI penalty a 5 yarder automatic first down…just like defensive holding…
    Can’t do that. It would be the death of the long pass. If you can stop a 60 yard pass for a 5 yard penalty why wouldn’t you?

  24. Somebodies salty about my Raiders winning. Every game every week has calls that go against all teams that are unfair. Please act your age Jerrah and don’t be a sore loser.

  25. It hasn’t been talked about, but the last time the Cowboys and Raiders played was the infamous Index Card Game. Late in the season, both teams needing a win to stay in playoff contention, and on a crucial late fourth down play for the Cowboys Gene Steratore for some reason pulled out an index card, folded it in half which makes no sense, put it down next to the chains and awarded the Cowboys the first down even though the ball did not exceed the card. Oh, and he had a huge smirk on his face when he rose up to announce the call. It was such a disgrace that it wasn’t even mentioned during the telecast- the league had acknowledged that Steratore was way out of line pulling that nonsense. What was Jones’ reaction to that? He thought it would be “a great idea” if the index card was sent to Canton. Poetic justice for the Cowboys to lose this time around and for Jones to be openly begging for favorable officiating.

  26. The league needs to get rid of pass interference penalties, period. Stick with holding and illegal contact. Make it extremely simple for the refs. No more will quarterbacks or receivers be gifted with 50-yard free plays. If a defensive back makes a mistake, guess what? It’s just an automatic first down. It’s not an automatic loss, especially in an overtime situation.

  27. if they notice a pattern of underthrown balls then maybe they’d clue in and pick a few of them. Rocket Science!

  28. The NFL remains staggeringly popular in large part because of fantasy football & wagering. The product on the field has suffered IMO in part because of these phantom – I think he did it calls. DPI is the same as juices the baseball for higher scoring games.

  29. “ Belicheck would incur a fine by saying what Jones said.”

    Of course, because Belichick isn’t an owner.

  30. Jerry and his pals literally put these officials in the game and pay them. Yall crazy to think the officials are against Jerry Jones

  31. Is the officiating worse now than it has ever been? OR, is instant replay after every play made it possible for fans to see things that the officials, full time or not, cannot possibly see in real time? To catch every infraction, there would have to be one official for each player who would do nothing but watch their assigned player. How would that work? Probably the best solution is not more refs or full-time refs but a sky judge to watch the same replays that the fans and coaches see. The sky judge could alert the on-field officials when something is not right.

  32. Bottom line, if the Cowboys won the game, everyone here claiming Jerry is whining about the refs would be whining about the refs themselves.

  33. Jerry wants discretion that lets the Cowboys win. Rules are rules. Too many penalties? Change everything. See what the NBA has done. The product is much more watchable.

  34. There are tweaks and DPI should be possible to appeal against as it’s a ridiculously powerful penalty. But Jerrah is telling refs to go easy on the Boys for future games. Wonder if they will listen or be influenced by him.

  35. Not a Cowboys fan. There needs to be penalties and suspensions for officiating crews like that. Vast majority of those penalties should have never been called. The penalty against the Raiders when the center picked up his head was the WORSE call in that game. Every single center in the league does that. It ended up extending a game that the Raiders should have won in regular time. That entire officiating crew should be officiating Jaguar and Bears games the rest of the year

  36. We can all thank Bill Polish for the special emphasis on DPi and DBs inability to play adequate defense against WRs. He cried and cried to the league because the Pats DBs were too physical for Manning and his soft Colts’ teams to compete.

  37. I am a lifelong Cowboys fan. That being said the officials sucked for both sides and if Jerry wants to blame someone look first at Anthony Brown. He is horrible. The kicker sucks and Dak has been bad 2 out if 3 games. Pollard should be featured. He’s better than Zeke now. And help is on the way.

  38. Blame the former competition committee’s it human impossible to officiality an NFL game anymore it’s got way to many rules get serious and cut the rule book by 1/3rd .

  39. If we didn’t get to see slow motion replays, we’d never know if there were any bad calls. If we can see them, why can’t the refs? Don’t ever complain about bad calls as long as they won’t allow the refs to see the right call. Why won’t they? That’s the million dollar question.

  40. Due to all the penalties, the game was around 4 HOURS long. Sometimes the refs dont throw enough penalties and sometimes its like they want to see who could throw the most. They should be bias, but it seems they are not.

  41. eaglesfan22 says:
    November 27, 2021 at 8:55 am
    “Detroit has been getting cheated for years by the refs”

    Nowhere near as badly as they get cheated by their ownership.

    Bad ownership needs to be acknowledged more than it does. It’s so easy to say “The Lions suck” but that oversimplifies things and doesn’t point the finger to the top of the pyramid as it should.

    Teams that struggle to ever get out of rebuild hell have one thing in common: bad ownership.

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