Football Zebras
2016 Postseason2016 Divisional PlayoffsDivisional Playoff liveblog: Packers at Cowboys

Divisional Playoff liveblog: Packers at Cowboys

2016 NFC Divisional Playoff

Follow us here for rolling coverage of the calls and rules interpretations of the NFC Divisional Playoff game from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

If you have any questions or comments, use the comments section of this post, or tweet us @footballzebras.

Today’s crew is headed by Tony Corrente.


      Yrs 2016 crew College Occupation
R 99 Tony Corrente 22   Cal State-Fullerton retired educator
U 102 Bruce Stritesky 11 Vinovich Embry Riddle airline pilot
HL 32 Jeff Bergman 25 Triplette Robert Morris president and chief executive officer, medical services
LJ 2 Bart Longson 2 Corrente Brigham Young co-founder and CEO, digital finance company
FJ 82 Buddy Horton 18 Corrente Oregon State water service worker
SJ 75 Rob Vernatchi 13 Corrente California-Riverside enforcement investigator
BJ 133 Steve Freeman 16 Triplette Mississippi State custom home builder
  • Replay: Carl Madsen
  • Alternates: John Parry (R), Gary Arthur (LJ), Dave Meslow (SJ)

Ben Austro Ben Austro January 16, 20174:26 pm

Referee Tony Corrente was interviewed by a pool reporter after the game regarding the illegal substitution call and the defensive pass interference foul right after the 2:00 warning.

Q: [on the unsportsmanlike penalty for 12-men on the field]

They brought in a two-receiver set on a substitution, and number 19 [Brice Butler] was one of those two players and came into the huddle, stayed in the huddle, then departed. He was substituted for. He has to stay either in the game or they can call a timeout to 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.

Q: [on the pass interference penalty]

The ball was in the air. Once the ball is in the air, and he grabbed him, which normally would be a defensive holding, now becomes a pass interference. It prevented him from continuing down to make a play on the ball.

Q: [on if it should have been called on 30, not 42]

They gave me the wrong number.

Ben Austro Ben Austro January 15, 201710:15 pm

The officiating crew — as well as the teams, media, and some leftover fans — were detained as AT&T Stadium was under lockdown following the game.

Mark Schultz Mark Schultz January 15, 20178:06 pm

:03 | 4th qtr. Outstanding call by side judge Rob Vernatchi called the Jared Cook catch good right on the sideline Cook got his toes down before his knees touched out of bounds. Vernatchi’s sideline partner, head linesman Jeff Bergman acknowledged his outstanding call right on the field.

Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 15, 20178:02 pm

Packers 34-31, final

Penalties, 6. Dallas 6/50 (+1 declined), Green Bay 3/22.

Replays, 1. Booth review under 2:00 (call confirmed).

Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 15, 20178:00 pm
:00 | 4th qtr. Packers FG — Mason Crosby 51 yd. GB 34-31 key
Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 15, 20177:59 pm
:12 | 4rd qtr. | video pending Booth review (2:00) — Completed catch. Call confirmed. key
Rich Madrid Rich Madrid January 15, 20177:52 pm

2:00 I 4th qtr. Penalty on Cowboys for DPI. Looks like it could’ve been illegal contact but if it’s close in relation to when the ball is thrown, officials will call DPI.

Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 15, 20177:51 pm
:35 | 4th qtr. Cowboys FG — Dan Bailey 52 yd. Tied 31-31 key
Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 15, 20177:45 pm
1:33 | 4th qtr. Packers FG — Mason Crosby 56 yd. GB 31-28 key
Mark Schultz Mark Schultz January 15, 20177:42 pm

1:52 | 4th qtr. Good call on Anthony Brown for pass interference. He hooked and turned the receiver. Buddy Horton with the flag.

Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 15, 20177:26 pm
4:08 | 4th qtr. Cowboys TD — Dez Bryant 7 yd. pass from Dak Prescott (2-pt: Dak Prescott run). Tied 28-28 key
Mark Schultz Mark Schultz January 15, 20177:26 pm

3:59 | 4th qtr. Good pass interference call on the Packers’ Gunter by head linesman Jeff Bergman.

Mark Schultz Mark Schultz January 15, 20177:14 pm

7:11 | 3rd qtr. Umpire Bruce Stritesky’s heart may have skipped a beat on this Packers’ interception. When an interception happens up the middle, the referee and umpire have to make sure they get out of the way first, officiate the play second. This play ended right in Stritesky’s lap.

Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 15, 20177:06 pm
11:39 | 4th qtr. Cowboys TD — Jason Witten 6 yd. pass from Dak Prescott (Dan Bailey kick). GB 28-20 key
Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 15, 20176:35 pm
11:25 | 3rd qtr. Packers TD — Jared Cook 3 yd. pass from Aaron Rodgers (Mason Crosby kick). GB 28-13 key
Mark Schultz Mark Schultz January 15, 20176:33 pm

14:50 | 3rd qtr. Outstanding call by head linesman Jeff Bergman ruling Randall Cobb caught the ball.

Mark Schultz Mark Schultz January 15, 20176:26 pm

0:00 | 2nd qtr. Dallas had a chance to score three more points before going to the locker room. When the receiving team fair catches a scrimmage kick, they have the option of lining up for a free kick to score a field goal. Even if the clock shows zeros, the team can still have an un-timed free kick. The rules work just like a kickoff (except the kicker can’t use a tee), and if the kick splits the uprights, the kicking team is awarded a three points. The positive is that the kicker can really get a running start and boom the ball. The downside is that the other team can return the kick and if it goes for a TD, the kicking team has egg on its face.

Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 15, 20176:23 pm

Packers 21-13, halftime

Penalties, 6. Dallas 3/25 (+1 declined), Green Bay 2/10.

Replays, 0.

Mark Schultz Mark Schultz January 15, 20176:18 pm

A lack of defensive holding flags is a big factor in the first half of the game, and twice, Packers’ wide receiver Davonte Adams was the victim. On the first play at 1:10 in the first quarter, Adams’ jersey was pulled so hard his shoulder pads were exposed. The second foul happened at 5:10 in the second quarter. Adams was running a route and Cowboys clutching and grabbing held him up while running his route.

Then, at the 1:08 mark of the second quarter, it looked like the Packers got away with holding Jason Witten.
Defensive holding is the main responsibility of the field judge, side judge and back judge. A former NFL official and supervisor is not impressed.

Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 15, 20176:12 pm
1:00 | 2nd qtr. Cowboys FG — Dan Bailey 33 yd. GB 21-13 key
Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 15, 20175:52 pm
6:03 | 2nd qtr. Cowboys TD — Dez Bryant 40 yd. pass from Dak Prescott (Dan Bailey kick). GB 21-10 key
Mark Schultz Mark Schultz January 15, 20175:48 pm

1:10 | 1st qtr. Missed defensive holding call on the Cowboys. When the receiver has his shoulder pads exposed after the play, that’s a good indication he had a jersey tug. Either the deep wing (Horton) or the back judge (Freeman) would have the best look.

Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 15, 20175:45 pm
7:37 | 2nd qtr. Packers TD — Ty Montgomery 1 yd. run (Mason Crosby kick). GB 21-3 key
Ben Austro Ben Austro January 15, 20175:29 pm

Rule 5-2-5 on the illegal substitution:

The following are applicable to any offensive substitute who is entering the game: …

(b) If he 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.

Note: The intent of the rule is to prevent teams from using simulated substitutions to confuse an opponent, while still permitting a player (or players) to enter and leave without participating in a play in certain situations, such as a change in a coaching decision on fourth down, even though he has approached the huddle and communicated with a teammate. Similarly, if a player who participated in the previous play leaves the playing field by mistake, and returns to the playing field prior to the snap, he is not required to reach the inside of the field numerals, provided that the defense has the opportunity to match up with him. However, a substitute (i.e., someone who did not participate in the previous play) is required to reach the inside of the field numerals.

Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 15, 20175:28 pm
14:05 | 2nd qtr. Packers TD — Ty Montgomery 3 yd. run (Mason Crosby kick). GB 14-3 key
Ben Austro Ben Austro January 15, 20175:27 pm

5:55 | 1st qtr. The Cowboys were flagged for an unusual illegal substitution foul. An incoming substitute entered the huddle and then did not participate in the play. This is an illegal substitution foul, and because of its deceptive nature, it is a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct foul. The incoming substitute must be part of the next play, and it is not related to the amount

Washington was flagged for this foul in this stadium with the same referee on Oct. 27, 2014, which I mentioned in my book, So You Think You Know Football?

The foul is not part of the 2&DQ rule, so it does not count towards a player’s ejection.

Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 15, 20175:08 pm

10:23 | 1st qtr. Aaron Rodgers was able to draw a flag on Dallas for having too many men on the field at the snap. Umpire Bruce Stritesky had just spotted the ball for Green Bay, and Rodgers snapped the ball in order to draw the substitution foul as quickly as he can. Even through Stritesky was able to move out of the way, he wasn’t back in his position. This was very close to being an illegal snap. Officials will warn an offense first, which Stritesky most likely did.

Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 15, 20174:57 pm
8:58 | 1st qtr. Packers TD — Richard Rodgers 34 yd. pass from Aaron Rodgers (Mason Crosby kick). GB 7-3 key
Cameron Filipe Cameron Filipe January 15, 20174:48 pm
11:23 | 1st qtr. Cowboys FG — Dan Bailey 50 yd. DAL 3-0 key
Ben Austro Ben Austro January 15, 20174:42 pm

This is Tony Corrente’s 22nd season and 19th as referee. This is his 16th postseason assignment, including 5 Wild Card Playoffs, 5 Divisional Playoffs, 5 Conference Championships, and Super Bowl XLI.

Ben Austro Ben Austro January 15, 20174:39 pm

Ben Austro Ben Austro January 15, 20173:51 pm

54°, foggy

The roof will be closed.

25 thoughts on “Divisional Playoff liveblog: Packers at Cowboys

  1. No wonder the Packers win so much the officials are either afraid to call all the flagrant holding calls against the Packer Offensive line or they are be told not to. Either way there is a huge eithical and honesty gap by the officials in today’s game and whenever the Packers play. I double dare any official to refute my comment or defend their non-action and keep a straight face. None of them will or have the guts to because they know I am right. Wonder what these officials teach their kids and grandkids about ethical behavior and honesty, nothing I will bet.

  2. 2nd Quarter: 1-10-DAL 11(8:14) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers pass short right to D.Adams to DAL 1 for 10 yards (M.Claiborne).

    This was right before Green Bay’s third touchdown. As Buck/Aikman on Fox acknowledged, great spot by HL Bergman with SJ Vernatchi assisting. The heel of Adams’ foot touched out of bounds just before the ball touched the pylon, and the officials properly spotted the ball at the 1. This avoided Corrente having to stop the game for the review and overturn, and kept the game moving along at a good pace.

  3. More non calls on Packers DPI twice. Tell me the officials are not calling the game in fvor of the Packers. I seriously do not know how these officials can look at themselves in the mirror in the morning. Probably all Democrats.

  4. Don’t think this crew will be getting more action… Mike Periera commented that he felt entire crews should go together, not just spot pick officials from crews. Seems this might help because this crew seems a bit out of sync. Lots of missed holds in the secondary, with blatant jersey grabs. Those should be easy for these guys to pick out. Hopefully the second half will be better. I’m all for letting the guys play, and a little touchy-feely as they move is fine. But jersey grabs? That’s a bit much.

  5. Too bad jimmy has a point me. I see 70 and 65 on Green Bay get beat out on most plays and just hang on Dallas afterwards. 70 throws a hell of a lot of chop blocks too but that’s totally ok.

  6. Wow, that’s a very astute FOOTBALL commentary. I thought this forum was about officiating correctly, not team bias and homer-dom… You should take that commentary to a Cowboys fan site… I’ve seen calls missed both ways equally. Funny how those blinders work.

  7. Just because I don’t see it the same way you do doesn’t mean I’m biased. Lol. I’m calling specific players for specific things. Rodgers would have been sacked multiple times if his o line didn’t hold all game. Js

  8. Anybody want to guess how many beers Jimmy has had today? The number is as irrelevant as his comments but probably more than the number of games he has officiated.
    The foul is “interference with the opportunity” so even if there is contact it doesn’t mean the receiver has been affected. NFL officials treat virtually every pass as catchable whereas in lower levels “catchable” passes are less common due to skill levels.

  9. HL Bergman one of the last to be using an acme thunderer metal whistle with mouth guard. TWEET TWEET TWEET.

  10. As usual, when it gets to the postseason you have to pretty much mug a receiver to get a penalty called. In fact, I think Davonte Adams had his wallet stolen from him on one of the plays. How do you NOT call a hold when a guy pulls a jersey off the pads of a receiver? But that’s how they always call these playoff games, which is why the playoffs often play out differently than the regular season. The rules are treated differently.

  11. I would like to protest the outcome of this game. The Packers may have scored more points (34-31), but the Cowboys gained more total yards during the game (429-414), and I feel like that’s a better measure of a team’s success. Of course, both teams knew the rules before the game started, and the Packers would have employed a much different strategy if the objective was to gain the most yards, but I feel like we should ignore that.

    Also, Vladimir Putin hacked into the game clock and made it run slower than normal, allowing the Packers to make that field goal at the end.


  12. They marked the unsportsmanlike penalty off 5 yards instead of 15, lucking Mike McCarthy was paying attention.

  13. The NFL is counting on fans to complain about officiating when it impacts the results for their favorite team. The fact is that the NFL officials are simply not good enough. Sites like this are entertaining and they claim to be neutral and suggest that interpretation of the rule book is most interesting to fans. That is wrong. Fans want to know why holding isn’t called on Dallas when the GB receiver has his jersey pulled over his shoulder pads but it is called for something less. They want to know why the Dallas TE can get mugged with no call. It’s not about calls evening out or “letting them play”, or “good no calls.” It’s about a lack of accountability to the fans, officials being allowed to continue on in a way that is similar to a lack of term limits for politicians, and the selling out on this topic among mainstream media. The NFL needs to rebuild their officiating teams and quit hiding behind “pool reporters.” Have the guts to be accountable to the paying customer and stop making excuses for poor performance.
    I am a fan of a team that won today. The NFL and the game of football should be indebted to the Cowboys and the Packers for providing entertainment value that will push aside poor performance from an officiating standpoint. In the later game, jump over to the blog and note the response by the author in regards to the Kelcey comments. How dare he criticize the officiating? According to the author, now he can watch the same official work the super bowl “while sitting on his couch.” What if a player said, “thank god this official is not working the big game.” Are officials and their supporters vindictive, absolutely? Are they arrogant and a protected class? Yes. Officiating skills, accountability, and judgement are huge issues for the NFL. As fans, quit complaining about officials from your heart. Instead, look at a game when you don’t care who wins. Then you become a threat to the establishment because you will see the deficiency known as NFL officiating.

  14. Good comment Rob. I am not a Dallas or Packers fan, I just want to see the same rules applied to both teams. To those who have called me names as a rebuttle, I would have enjoyed a real rebuttle rather than petty insults.

  15. And we would have enjoyed it if you knew how to correctly spell rebuttal… Truth is it’s silly to come onto a site devoted to refereeing and say one team is getting favored. I’m not a referee, never have been. But I’m bright enough to know that the referees aren’t calling one way more than the other with any purpose. It’s too hard to cheat in today’s climate, with all the cameras and media, particularly in the playoffs. Did the officials miss calls? Sure. They do entry game. Both ways. You have to hope they don’t miss one egregiously that turns a game. But to say they are favoring one team over another is out of line, and when you make a comment as such you open yourself to ridicule and negative commentary because it shows either that you are a homer or you just don’t know the game well.

  16. If we are are allowed to be “homers” here, I do want to mention that as a longtime Packers fan who watched many Packers/Cowboys games in the 1990s, the Packers are still owed about 1,000 more makeup calls. (I can’t tell you how often the Packers would get hosed by the refs at Texas Stadium… usually by a referee with a Texas accent.)

  17. My husband also saw many missed calls on the GB offense of line and has been coaching hs football for over 20 years. I know that some calls were missed against Dallas too. The referees have been doing a sloppy job and seems to be worse in some games. What bothered me was seeing the conversation that Rodgers had with the referee before the game and later the pat on the rear and the money sign Rodgers did with his coach. It’s over but I hope the Falcons keep their eyes open because something is fishy. Also go ahead and check how many times Rodgers is helped up by a referee when he is tackled. I believe I saw at least 4 different referees help him. I didn’t see the referee help Tom Brady get up when they played Houston or any other quarterbacks. Smh

  18. Excellent comment from Rob. Officials are human, therefore they make mistakes. In order to ensure that their mistakes do not influence the game, head coaches should be given more freedom to challenge the decisions made by the officials. Those officials who make more mistakes than average should be retired and replaced. NFL rules which do not allow challenges to certain decisions should be changed.
    Also officials should not be allowed to physically assist players since, not only could this cause injury to the official, but could be seen as showing bias to him or his team.

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