I touched on this very briefly with the last comic but lets take a deeper moment to appreciate the worst call of the playoffs so far: Dak Prescott getting “sacked” by his own lineman, La’el Collins.

Maybe it’s just recency bias but it feels like refs have been calling plays done way too early a lot more. Makes some sense, player safety and all that.

I think it’s crap. I’m all for player safety but I also think plays should end when a player is down. How many amazing plays have we been robbed of because the refs blew the whistle a little too early? Things should be left up to judgement as little as humanly possible. A player going down is fairly strong visual evidence. A player having his “forward momentum stopped” is a judgement call.

Sure, most of them are fair. Most of the time this call happens when a running back runs into a pile and it becomes a rugby scrum moving slowly backward because the RB wont give up. But how many amazing escapes have we been robbed off due to the whistle getting blown too early? One of the greatest plays in football history happened because Mike Carey managed to hold off just long enough so Eli could escape the pocket and heave a bomb down the field to David Tyree. We could have been robbed of that play, easily, by the forward progress being stopped rule. That amazing piece of football lore that I totally don’t masturbate to at least once a month would have never happened.The Patriots would probably have gone 19-0. It’s disgusting to think about.

How many helmet catches have we been robbed off? How many game-changing fumbles never happened because a ref blew the play dead right before the defender popped it out? The Browns in week 17 could have had a 99 yard fumble return touchdown against the Ravens but the refs had already called the play over. Then we get to this nonsense. Dak Prescott got sacked by his own dude. While doing a remarkable job avoiding the rush Dak and La’el basically collide and La’el temporarily hugs him. Dak escapes and has an open pocket in front of him to extend the play…but it’s blown dead. I hate the Cowboys and want them to suffer in endless torment but I want them to suffer fairly. This is pretty bullshit. If Collins had knocked him down, I could buy it. The refs were like 1 step away from calling roughing the passer on their own team.

Usually the playoffs are a marked improvement for officiating because the refs tend to back off a little and let the players play more. The officiating this year started extremely poorly but got better as terrible roughing calls eased up a bit, but this was just a shame. There is no guarantee this play would have ended better or worse for Dallas. Dak could have thrown a garbage pick, still gotten sacked, thrown it away, or got a first down. The problem is we never got a chance to see what it could have been.