Here’s How an Index Card Decided the Winner of the Dallas Cowboys-Oakland Raiders Game


The Oakland Raiders’ season is all but finished — thanks, in large part, to an index card.

With the score tied 17-17 with just over four minutes left in Sunday night’s game between the Raiders and the Dallas Cowboys, the ‘Boys lined up to attempt a critical fourth down conversion on their own 40 yard line. Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott attempted a sneak, and was deemed to have landed (and we cannot emphasize this enough) right at the the first down marker.

The officials brought out the chains to measure. And referee Gene Steratore was unable to determine whether the the nose of the football reached the stick. He looked at it from several angles. It was tantalizingly close.

Something had to be done. So Steratore pulled out a folded up index card, and tried to place it between the ball and the stick. The ball appeared to oscillate ever so slightly as the referee put the card down. And as a result, it was ruled that Dallas made the line to gain.

It was a truly wild scene. NBC announcer Al Michaels noted the irony.

“Here we are across the bay from Silicon Valley,” Michaels said. “The high-tech capital of the world. And you have an index card that determines whether it is a first or a fourth down.”

The index card ruling proved costly to the Raiders, as Dallas went on to kick what proved to be the game-winning field goal a few moments later. And at 6-8, they are all but eliminated from playoff contention — in the most insane manner possible.

Our take? The index card sequence, while comical, was probably inconsequential. On replay, Prescott appeared to reach the football beyond the point where it was spotted. Still, the whole thing was ridiculous, and emblematic of an NFL season plagued by rules issues.

Watch this absolute craziness above, via NBC.

[featured image via screengrab]


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Joe DePaolo is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: Follow him on Twitter: @joe_depaolo