NFL snap infraction controversy

Redskins vs Cowboys and the way to tie the game was a field goal away


Photo courtesy of Google Images via Creative Commons

Graham Randlett, Author

On Sunday, October 21, one of the NFL’s biggest rivalries, the Cowboys and the Redskins, played for the first time in the this season. The score was 20 -17 in the fourth quarter, with the Redskins in the lead. All the Cowboys needed to tie was a field goal. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, they missed the potential game-tying field goal kick after receiving a penalty, one that has been under recent controversy, a snap infraction.

L.P. Ladouceur, the long snapper for the Dallas Cowboys, is a veteran center in the National Football League and has never been called for snap infraction before. Ladouceur says, “they told me I was the one responsible for the false start, and I did the same exact thing I usually do.” This was Ladouceur’s 212th game in the league and he was treating the snap just like any other.

The NFL has a guidebook of rules and regulations. However, the fans watching usually have not read up on every rule. The rule regarding the snap infraction states that “any movement after the offensive line is set is a snap infraction and the ball will be called dead and a loss of 5 yards will occur.” Ladouceur did indeed move the position of his hands causing the flag to be thrown.

This penalty has not been seen or even heard of by many football fans before. Jason Garrett, the Cowboys head coach, has only seen this penalty called a few times in his career. With that being said, the tying kick was within range for the Cowboys starting kicker, Brett Maher. Maher takes full responsibility for the loss saying, “”That penalty had zero impact on the result of that kick, I can promise you that. Ladouceur and Chris Jones [the Cowboys kick holder] played like they’ve done all year. They made my job easy, and it was the same in that situation. Yeah, I felt like I was very capable of making that kick. Just didn’t get it done.” The NFL record for the longest made field goal is 63 yards, so this field goal, being approximately 50 yards, was certainly in Maher’s range.

This game was a tearjerker for many football fans from both sides of the long, stressful battle. Maher’s choked field goal attempt put the nail in the coffin for the Cowboys, as the Redskins snatched the top spot in the division with the win. All of this sparked a nationwide discussion on what a snap infraction was and if it was truly fair at all.