Of the many storylines that came out of the Monday night loss to the Cowboys, perhaps the strangest was the explanation for the botched shotgun exchanges between Cowboys center Phil Costa and Tony Romo.
ESPNDallas.com picked up the story, as proclaimed by Costa and Romo after the game, and suggested that former Cowboys defensive end Stephen Bowen was responsible for the early snaps.
“We’ve got to get the snap thing worked out,” Romo told the media after the game. “Costa said the D-line kept calling out the snap count. We’ll tell the league and see if that’s something that can be fixed because you’re not supposed to be able to do that.”
The next day on a radio show on ESPN 103.3 in Dallas, Costa backed down from the Bowen accusation, but attributed it to a nameless defensive players “barking out the snap count,” on the line.
“[Bowen] wasn’t really doing it, but whoever was doing the snap count or whatever,” he said. “And y’know, we’re hearing the D-line barking a little bit, and either way, it’s on me.”
So was it an issue that “we’ll tell the league” about, or is it “either way, it’s on me?” I’ve heard Bowen, and I’ve heard Romo, and they don’t sound anything alike.
Must be those pesky barking spiders on the field.
Sitting in the press box at a game, I’m about as far removed from the action as you are at home, so I can’t say for sure what happened on the field. But given that these violations are something that officials are trained to look for, and assigned to look for, I had to approach these accusations with a degree of journalistic skepticism.
So I turned to Redskins defensive end Kedric Golston for clarity.
“That’s a flat out lie,” he said, shaking his head. “That’s just–I mean–I don’t even know where that came from. I don’t even know why he or anybody else would say that. Like honestly, like not even joking, that’s just a flat out lie. Like no, ‘haha’–just no.”
In case anyone was wondering, that’s a no.
Golston went on to explain that he’s seen this before against Dallas.
“That happened when [former center Andre] Gurode was there,” he said. “That’s been happening for years, where the ball would hit Tony. And it used to be that he would throw it 30 yards down field for a completion, so everybody’s like “Ooooh!”
Head coach Mike Shanahan addressed the issue in today’s press conference saying:
“The one thing about accusing somebody for doing something like that–especially this year–is that the center is mic’d,” he told the media. “When the center is mic’d, you’ll go back on the audio and find out if players did say the snap count, and they did not.”
Blame it on the barking spiders.
Regardless of whether it happened or not, this will go down as one of the stranger accusations that I’ve heard from a victorious team.