The Dallas Cowboys and LA Chargers locked horns in a penalty-marred slugfest on Monday night. It was a physical battle for all four quarters, and that tone was set mere minutes before kickoff when a swarm of players from both teams were seen shoving and throwing punches.
The definition of a "brawl" varies depending on the setting. In football terms, though, this absolutely qualified given how many players were involved.
Defensive linemen Dante Fowler, Mazi Smith and Sam Williams were among the Cowboys captured in videos. It's still unclear what instigated the scuffle, though reports claim Chargers players blocked Dallas' entrance to the field for warmups.
Whatever caused it, it was enough to set off Fowler. This new angle shows Fowler landing multiple haymakers on Chargers running back Austin Ekeler.
Cowboys' Dante Fowler landed multiple punches on Chargers' Austin Ekeler in pregame brawl.
Holy smokes. Fowler's punches were so ferocious that Ekeler's helmet went flying. The headpiece made its way through the horde of players like a crowd-surfer at a punk rock show before it was eventually thrown to the side. Luckily, Ekeler bailed before Fowler could land a punch on his unprotected head.
The veteran pass rusher was so full of rage that he even made contact with a Cowboys coach, who admirably stepped in between Fowler and Ekeler to diffuse the fight. In doing so, though, it appears he caught a stray from Fowler. The above video shows the coach's hat go flying and him lose his balance as if he was struck by a punch.
ESPN cameras captured a slow-motion video of Fowler's (initial) punch to Ekeler. It looks to be a cheap shot on Fowler's part, though, as Ekeler wasn't facing the DE when he was struck, which explains why his helmet was knocked off his head.
You have to think Fowler is subject to discipline by the NFL. Whether that comes in the form a substantial fine or suspension, the league will surely lay down the hammer on the Cowboys defender. While it remains unclear what incited these pregame fireworks, these clips are all the evidence the league office needs to discipline Fowler.
Former Cowboys DE Randy Gregory was hit with a one-game suspension with the Broncos for landing a punch on a Rams player last season, while former Cowboys DT Trysten Hill got hit with a two-game ban for a postgame punch against the Raiders in 2021.
The fact there are multiple angles of Fowler going ballistic doesn't bode well.