The Dallas Cowboys, and specifically team owner Jerry Jones, have been unwavering in their loyalty to running back Ezekiel Elliott. Whenever Jones has been asked, he doesn't allow for a small possibility that Elliott isn't the focal point of Dallas' offense.
Every single game Elliott had suited up for the Cowboys before Sunday, he started. On Sunday night, that streak was broken.
In Elliott's 98th game, he didn't start. Tony Pollard started for the Cowboys and played the entire first series.
After the game, Jones told reporters it due to a disciplinary issue:
While who starts in the NFL isn't the big deal it used to be, especially in a shared backfield, Pollard getting the start was significant for the Cowboys.
For a long time, practically everyone has been yelling that Pollard needs to start and take on a bigger role for the Cowboys. Pollard is more explosive and brings a big-play ability Elliott doesn't have. Dallas had resisted that switch, though Pollard's role continued to grow in recent weeks.
It doesn't mean Elliott didn't play a lot. He came in during Dallas' second series. He picked up a big first down on a fourth-and-1 on that series. He finished the night with 17 carries to Pollard's 12. But it was still notable.
When Elliott missed time earlier this season due to injury, Pollard had some huge games and showed he can be a featured back. Pollard started to get more snaps and touches, though Elliott still got plenty of work too. Elliott will still be a big part of the offense going forward. He just wasn't to start Sunday Night Football.