October 18, 2010
It turns out that Sunday's celebration penalty on the Dallas Cowboys wasn't for leapfrogging, as was announced by the game's referee. Instead, the team was flagged because receiver Sam Hurd(notes) joined Roy Williams in flashing the University of Texas "Hook 'Em Horns" sign after the touchdown.
[Related: Most excessive TD celebrations]
NFL vice president of officiating Carl Johnson told Cowboys coach Wade Phillips on Monday that the penalty was called on Hurd even though Miles Austin(notes) had been identified as the guilty party. It was assumed that Austin was flagged for his leapfrog performance with Williams. But, evidently, Hurd was the culprit owing to the fact that he joined Williams, a former Longhorns star, in flashing the universal Texas sign following the score (watch the play below).
"I thought it was on Miles because the official on the sideline told me that when I asked him," Phillips said. "And Carl Johnson said specifically that was not the call and he would have been upset if they had called it."
I'm confused. Hurd and Williams did a joint celebration, so I can see why a flag was thrown. But why would the VP of officiating have been upset if the flag had been thrown for the leapfrogging? Isn't that also a planned celebration between two people? As we've said before, all celebration penalties are lame, but why would the NFL think that two people flashing a "Hook 'Em Horns" sign is worse than an impromptu game of leapfrog? Under the rule, both should be penalties.
A better question would be why Sam Hurd is bothering to give the "Hook 'Em Horns" at all. The 25-year-old receiver attended Northern Illinois University.
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