One of the strangest officiating rulings we’ve ever seen occurred Sunday during the NFC Divisional Round contest between the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers. The ‘Boys were called for a 15-yard personal foul penalty after receiver Brice Butler was deemed to have gone into Dallas’ huddle before leaving the field because he wasn’t part of the play.
It’s an obscure rule that pretty much everyone in the football world was scratching their heads about as it happened.
Making matters worse, upon replay it sure didn’t look like the Cowboys ever did have a true huddle going on this particular play, and Butler didn’t exactly go into it. Instead, he kind of mulled on the outskirts before running back to the sideline because he realized he wasn’t going to be in on the particular play.
You can watch the play here.
Not surprisingly Butler had never even heard about this rule, and after the fact he’s understandably bitter.
“Never heard of it in my life,” Butler said, via the Dallas Morning News. “[We] couldn’t beat the stripes. You can quote me on that.”
This penalty ended up costing Dallas 37 yards of field position and killed an early scoring opportunity, contributing to the team’s 21-3 hole against Green Bay. No doubt, it was a huge moment in the game that helped the Packers tremendously.
But Butler never did make up for it, whether he believed it was his responsibility or not. He ended up being targeted three times and failed to make a single catch, dropping two outright, including a sure touchdown on a deep pass from Dak Prescott. Touching on these missed opportunities, Butler said, “I played like trash.”
Butler wasn’t a huge part of the team’s offense during the regular season, but he did catch 16 passes for 219 yards and three touchdowns. He’s about to enter his fifth season as a pro after being drafted out of San Diego State in the seventh round by the Oakland Raiders back in 2013. It’s going to be interesting to see if he’ll be around next year to make up for his postseason mistakes.