A confusing unsportsmanlike conduct penalty negated a big play for the Dallas Cowboys during their 34-31 loss to the Green Bay Packers, and officials recently clarified the ruling.
Cowboys receiver Brice Butler was flagged for being in the Cowboys’ huddle and not participating in the next play. Butler and fellow receiver Cole Beasley were confused as to who should’ve been in the game, and Butler eventually went back to the sideline. Head official Tony Corrente explained the call following the game.
“They brought in a two-receiver set on a substitution, and (Butler) was one of those two players and came into the huddle, stayed in the huddle, then departed,” Corrente said. “He was substituted for. He has to stay either in the game or they can call a timeout and get out of it. Of course, he went out. It’s not an obscure rule, it’s just part of the substitution mechanics and part of the substitution rule.”
According to the NFL, the rule was instituted to “prevent teams from using simulated substitutions to confuse an opponent.”
“If (a player) approaches the huddle and communicates with a teammate, he is required to participate in at least one play before being withdrawn. Violations of this rule may be penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct.”
The penalty negated a 22-yard pass from Dak Prescott to Terrance Williams on the ensuing play, which would have put the Cowboys in scoring position.
(h/t All 22)