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2021 Cowboys Are Out of Time to Blame Officiating For Losses

In a normal league year, the Dallas Cowboys would have concluded the regular season at this point. The lasting taste in the mouth of fans before the would be the lackluster 25-22 home loss to the Cardinals  in . Expectations would be nothing but the same postseason disappointment that's haunted the Cowboys since as long as I've been alive (birthdate in bio).

Instead, the Cowboys will get one more low-stakes chance to do one of two things they've succeeded at all season – beat up on an opponent, or deflect blame anywhere but internally after a loss. Dallas travels to Philadelphia this Saturday night, playing for a 6-0 divisional record that would end their regular season at 12-5. Four of the five Cowboys losses this season have come against teams already in the playoffs or fighting for their spot this weekend.

The outlier of the season remains the 30-16 beating the put on the Cowboys from , for more than just the obvious reason. Not only did the Cowboys play down to a much lesser opponent back in week nine, but they were beaten so thoroughly that placing blame on the way the game was called was out of question.

2021 Cowboys Are Out of Time to Blame Officiating For Losses

Unfortunately, this hasn't been true of other games the Cowboys no-showed in, primarily on , and most recently vs. the Cardinals.

, who played a season high 57 snaps with on the COVID list, said HC 's message to the team was to keep battling “against everybody, not just the other team”.  WR CeeDee Lamb said he felt like the officials “dictated” a game he caught three passes in, the first for nine yards in the first quarter and the second not until the fourth quarter.

Make no mistake, the Cowboys are the most penalized team in the league this season. The call they clamored for against the Cardinals was less about a , and more the late fumble-ruled-down-by-contact that allowed Arizona to kneel out the clock. The Cowboys were stripped away from a last-second chance to put up their third touchdown drive of the fourth quarter and take the lead. All of this after they were held to just a field goal through three quarters against a team playing two backups at .

The Cowboys also have a net penalty disadvantage of just -4, meaning they're drawing from their opponents far more often than they'd like us to believe. The out-to-get-us narrative fits much better when scrutiny over Cowboys penalties gets too intense, perhaps only when trying to hold this team to the same expectations they set themselves.

2021 Cowboys Are Out of Time to Blame Officiating For Losses 1

The Dallas Cowboys fanbase has seen this before. All of it. A getting a pass for losing his , struggling to win the big games with all of his key players on the field, trotting out a predictable offense when games are on the line, and insisting the whole time that things are for sure better than they seem.

Sure, the Cowboys get an extra game to prove this year will be different, but even with the Eagles improbably claiming a playoff spot to spice up this matchup, there's little that four quarters can do in this regard.

To say the Cowboys haven't showed real signs of building a contending core of players for the future would be wrong. As players come and go however, the ever-growing list of reasons this team hasn't reached an Championship in 25 seasons hasn't been addressed.

The Cowboys lost out on their already small chance to advance to the Championship Game with just one playoff win when the Packers clinched the one seed last week. This means a team that hides behind errors out of their control at every turn will try and convince us they have the control and discipline to win two playoff games over the next three weeks.

The flashes of talent and prowess have been there, but so too is a fair amount of skepticism complete with a pre-packaged list of excuses.

Sean Martin

Written by Sean Martin

Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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Agreed, it’s funny how it’s the same excuses every year

O Line is trash

Coaching sucks (though you ppl were loving Moore earlier in the season)

The game is rigged, refs are against us, if your team has to rely on someone that isn’t on your team to win games, then there’s an issue

If only our Kicker didn’t miss that FG earlier, but if the offense against 2 backup CBs had just went and scored TDs instead of going 3 and out or only just getting in FG range, then we wouldn’t have to rely on our kicker

When does Dak get blame ?

I think we can agree that QB is the universal most important position in football, so shouldn’t they also take the most responsibility for losses particularly when they’re paid to be one of the top QBs in the NFL, (3rd highest paid player) especially when he isn’t playing well himself ?

I know I’m wasting my time as there’s a plethora of Dak apologists out there who’ll use the excuses i listed above as to deflect blame from Dak


Btw, if you’re a true football fan, do you think we deserved to have a chance to win that game, we got held to 3 points at home through 3 quarters playing against backup CBs, we should’ve been blowed out by 30 tbh


Good article Sean. Allow me to steal part of your headline, and state “2021 Cowboys (and some fans) are out of time” for EVERY damn excuse they use for their shortcomings. What a pathetic display, to use whatever the excuse, be it officiating, penalties, injuries, COVID, dropped passes, timing, ETC. ETC. ETC. They do it EVERY YEAR recently, and


STOP PLAYING THE VICTIM CARD! I know it’s in fashion nowadays, but IT IS A BAD, WEAK LOOK!

For the longtime fans out there, could you ever imagine Tom Landry, the best Cowboy HC and one of the best ever in the NFL, making all these pathetic excuses? HELL NO, he just made…GREATNESS!


Like was mentioned in one of the other articles, when you get beat, you tend to grab and hang on. We saw it repeatedly with the Oline in this game and others all season.

We’ve also seen it repeatedly from our DB’s. Gamble for the turnover is the name of the game. Diggs is the poster child for this game plan. It’s INT or big play for the opposing offense when they decide to test him. Well-timed double moves eat him alive. Brown and Lewis also gamble, but more often than not, they are struggling just to stick with their man and tend to get grabby when they just aren’t up to the task.

Even our DLine has gotten in on the gambling. Several times we’ve seen them trying to anticipate the snap and getting burned by savvy centers and QB’s. That’s an act of desperation when you’re not able to beat your opponent with speed, strength or technique. If Gregory is as great as he and some others think, he shouldn’t have to resort to trying to jump the count.

All that being said, there have been too many instances of flagrant fouls not being called on opponents or rules not being equally enforced on both teams. The officials leave a lot to be desired some games. There are certain officiating crews (Clete Blakeman and Jerome Bolger) that I cringe every time they are assigned to our games.

Best to not give them anything to call, then to try to be sneaky and “get away with one”.


It’s the same problems every damn year. I can’t think of a year that I’ve watched this team where they didn’t struggle with penalties. They just lack discipline. Why is it that teams like New England, Green Bay, and Tampa just to name a few never struggle with penalties? It’s because their coaches don’t tolerate it. They’ll hear about it on Monday and practice to the point where they don’t commit these stupid fouls that constantly turn 3rd and short into 3rd and long time and time again. When you can’t play clean football, you struggle with field position and then you struggle with amount of offensive opportunities. Teams like Arizona, Green Bay, and Tampa will capitalize on this. Until they change the culture where this type of play isn’t tolerated, they won’t go far in the playoffs.

Cowboy Fan Ed

I never like to say that the refs cheated us ! It comes down to what you guys said about being discipline and also knowing what is a foul and what is not! A lot of this falls on how these guys are being coached! The only thing that bothers me is when a few years back we played Philadelphia at their place and they played a perfect game (no penalties) how does this happen when watching the game you see them committing fouls and even the game commentators pointing out these things happening and it’s not being called!? I guess everybody has bad days even referees!! I just wish they didn’t have them against my team! Ha

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