Phil Costa has seen more media attention this week than he has in his entire life previously. After snapping the ball too early four times in an 18-16 win over the Washington Redskins on Monday night, the Dallas Cowboys center has been ridiculed in the media and now it has led to an investigation by the NFL. The Cowboys are accusing the Redskins of simulating the snap count, which is against league rules.
NFL rules state “The defensive use of acts or words designed to disconcert an offensive team at the snap [is illegal]. An official must blow his whistle immediately to stop play.”
That didn’t happen on Monday night; the officials never even acknowledged what was happening. Former Cowboys defensive end Stephen Bowen helped his new team mimic Dallas quarterback Tony Romo’s cadence, which confused Costa into snapping the ball early. The ball either hit Romo in the thigh while he wasn’t looking or just sailed right by him. Fortunately, the Cowboys did not suffer turnover on any of the four occasions.
Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett alerted head referee Ed Hochuli during the contest, but to no avail. Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan denied his players used the illegal tactics to gain an advantage.
“The center is miked, and when the center is miked, you go back in audio and you’ll find out if one of our players did say a snap count,”
Shanahan said. “And they did not.”
Bowen also denied being a part of the mimicking.
“You ask the guys in Dallas,” Bowen said. “They know my character. I’ve never been that type of guy. I just line up and play ball.”
Bowen even went on to accuse Costa of lying about the instance.
“I lost a lot of respect for Costa,” Bowen said. “Just be a man and tell the truth. If that was the case, if we were making snap counts, how come no other offensive linemen jumped offsides? It makes no sense because he’s lying. He just needs to be a man and stand by his word. Everybody respects a man who could tell the truth.”
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the investigation will remain private with the Cowboys.