Dallas Cowboys: What Goes Around Comes Around


The only question concerning the Dallas Cowboys hard fought victory over the Detroit Lions last Sunday is this one:

Was the Detroit loss karmic in nature for the Lions?

Yes, the football Gods are always watching and perhaps they finally spoke on behalf of America’s Team – and make no mistake; the Cowboys still carry the title of America’s Team even now.

Otherwise, this game would already be a memory consisting of no more than a great postseason comeback for the Cowboys or a lousy missed opportunity for the Lions, depending on which combination of blue and silver you prefer.

The outcry over the alleged pass interference call committed by Anthony Hitchens has truly amazed me. I figured that the only way we could possibly see the amount of reflecting coverage we have regarding this wild card playoff game was if quarterback Tony Romo committed a late turnover to effectively decide them game.

Instead, Dallas actually won this game for reasons that extend far beyond a single yellow bean bag being thrown and then picked up. Frankly, Bob Sturm of the Dallas Morning News sums up everything you need to know as far as the on the field ‘nuts and bolts’ of this playoff game at the venue formerly known as Cowboys Stadium. If you’re really of the belief that officials cost the Lions the game with this over-publicized sequence, give it a read.

However, there is a bit more to examine pertaining to this game.

Clear is the fact that rookie linebacker Anthony Hitchens could have been called for defensive pass interference at the 8:18 mark of the 4th quarter.

Well, there’s a few more things that are also clear, yet there’s positively no national uproar over any of this.

On Detroit’s second possession of the game, Lions punter Sam Martin was forced to kick from inside his own endzone. On the play, Dallas linebacker Dekoda Watson rushed the punt but didn’t get there in time. Watson landed horizontally on the navy blue surface before Martin came down on top of him, the second-year veteran then falling to the ground as though he had just been shot.

Running into the kicker was called, despite the fact that Watson never actually ran into anything but the ground – first down Detroit following the 5-yard gift. That drive would end up a 99-yard touchdown drive for the Lions as opposed to a third Dallas possession that likely would have had great starting field position.

Now, this was a flag that didn’t have to be thrown, yet it was.

With 2:15 left in the first half, Dwayne Harris fielded a punt from Martin at his own 36-yard line. A moment later, Lions wide receiver Corey Fuller gave Harris a moderate passing shot to either the helmet and/or shoulder pads well after the whistle had blown. No flag was thrown for that unnecessary contact, but one was thrown for holding against the receiving team (Dallas) and a 10-yard penalty was marked off.

Then, just three plays later, tight end Jason Witten made an apparent first-down reception along the sideline on a 3rd and 2 from the Cowboys 34-yard line, but wide receiver Terrance Williams was called for – wait for it – offensive pass interference.

This came despite what appeared to be inadvertent contact as he was getting into his route just beyond the line of scrimmage. Right or wrong, Fox color commentator Troy Aikman stated his opinion that nothing should have been called.

Following Williams’ big touchdown catch and run on the very next play, Lions receiver Golden Tate was originally given a 4-yard sideline reception on a key 3rd and 5 from the Dallas 36-yard line inside the 2-minute warning.

Following further review, Tate was given credit for a 6-yard reception and an obvious 1st down during a drive that ended up in a field goal for Detroit just before halftime.

The Tate call was correct and I only mention that because the perception of ‘injustice’ concerning the poor Lions is pretty tired, boring and not even appropriate really.

Back to the word karma, which for this part of the discussion takes us completely beyond Sunday’s game.

While a couple of New York tabloids desperate for web hits copied one another with a headline that read, “How ‘Bout Them Refs?” earlier this week, I wonder why an even more shocking reversal about this time last week didn’t get labelled a ‘crime’ by some in the national media.

Remember when Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was suspended for last weekend’s playoff game – and then suddenly reinstated with little more than a financial tap on the wrist?

You kidding me?

Suh is a repeat offender of the NFL’s conditional code of conduct laboratory and clearly stepped out of bounds when he also stepped on Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers‘ leg during a Week 17 loss at Lambeau Field. Suh not only stepped on Rodgers once, but twice.

Yet for reasons that few in the media pointed out, Suh was clearly given a pass, and in some places what he did might have actually been considered a real crime that had to be answered for.

Not that time – or either time, in this case.

Yet there’s some who want to suggest that there’s some type of favoritism going on for the Dallas Cowboys – a team that just now has two playoff victories in close to 20 years?


If this is true, then why were the Cowboys penalized $10 million dollars over the last two seasons for salary cap manipulation by who other than the NFL?

How about that Lions ‘victory’ over the Cowboys back in 1981 when kicker Eddie Murray nailed that gorgeous 47-yard field goal to beat Dallas 27-24 as time expired – with 12 men on the field? Wasn’t it the league commissioner, who’s name I won’t bother to mention, that essentially scoffed at the mistake the following day?

No national outcry that time, at least not that I recall.

Was that a crime as well?

Finally, let’s get back to Mr. Tate of Detroit right quick, along with the subject of offensive pass interference.

Back in 2012, Tate was a third-year veteran still playing under his rookie contract with the Seattle Seahawks, as you might very well recall.

During a Week 3 matchup with the visiting Green Bay Packers, the Seahawks faced a 4th and 10 with just seconds remaining in a 12-7 contest. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson launched a ‘Hail Mary’ after scrambling around and Tate, after an obvious push of Packers cornerback Sam Shields, jumped up meagerly for a pass that appeared to be intercepted by Green Bay safety M.D. Jennings.

After further review, it was determined that both Jennings and Tate came down with the ball simultaneously. But that was well beyond the obvious penalty that was clearly missed by all officials locked into that location as time expired.

Should offensive pass interference have been called?

Of course.

The difference here is that Hitchens’ play can be perceived as legal under face guarding – nevermind the facemask penalty that could have also been called on the intended receiver, tight end Brandon Pettigrew, just before Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford‘s pass arrived.

Tate’s ‘game-winning play’ was simply a missed penalty, period.

The point here is that football games will never be officiated to perfection. It’s simply not something that exists in any game, to be totally honest.

What is true, however, is that what goes around comes around and I find it quite karmic, if not poetic, that the ‘motley crew’ from Detroit ended up falling short in this game. This happened not because of a single play but rather because the Cowboys were just the better team, period.

Anyone who happens to disagree can cry a river for Cowboys Nation.