NFL Network scared Cowboys fans with botched Tyron Smith report before kickoff

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys
Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The Dallas Cowboys are about to kickoff against the Detroit Lions, and they'll have bookend left tackle Tyron Smith protecting Dak Prescott's blindside.

Limited in practice all week with a back injury that caused Smith to miss last week's game in Miami, Smith was listed as questionable for the game. It wasn't all that surprising to see Smith avoid the Cowboys inactives list. He participated in the final walkthrough practice before the team released its final injury report and he made it through the week without any setbacks.

The Cowboys community speculated whether Dallas might rest Smith for the playoffs, but all signs pointed to No. 77 being out there tonight.

However, fans' alarm bells went off when NFL Network reported approximately four hours before kickoff that Smith wouldn't play in the game. While national insiders do great work and deserve all of the acclaim that comes their way, this misleading report just goes to show prove it's always wise to defer to team and local insiders.

NFL Network tricked Cowboys fans with misleading Tyron Smith report

Even though team owner Jerry Jones and head coach Mike McCarthy expressed optimism throughout the week that Smith would play, there was likely internal discussion Smith resting his back until the playoffs.

That said, this all begs multiple fallout questions. Where did NFL Network get their intel? Did the Cowboys experience a change of heart with Smith at the elventh hour? Was the source flat-out wrong? Why did a report leak on Smith's status almost two hours before Dallas announced its inactives?

All we can do is speculate, but it's a poor look for NFL Network regardless. They're home to some of the league's most esteemed insiders and analysts. They boast an established reputation and fans trust their information. That shouldn't change after one mishap, but Cowboys fans will probably take anything the network reports about the team with a grain of salt after this.

Let this serve as another remind to always trust team insiders over national reporters, or wait for the Cowboys themselves to release their inactives.