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NFL Clarifies Rules Surrounding Dallas Cowboys’ Video Screen

freecompress NFL 01The Dallas Cowboys are settling into their new $1.15 billion dollar home stadium, but much of the talk in the NFL preseason has been about the massive video screen hanging directly over the field of play. In the opening game in the facility, Tennessee Titans punters hit the screen several time in practice and once during the game. That set off a bit of a controversy about the height of the video screen, with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones rebuffing suggestions that the board was hung too low.

On Friday, the NFL Rules Committee sided with Cowboys owner Jones, indicating that the board was of adequate height. It also clarified the procedure for kicks that hit the board during play, and will revisit the issue in the off-season based on what happens during the 2009 campaign.

Jones has maintained that much of the concern is due to the sheer size of the board, which was hung 90 feet off the field of play”5 feet higher than NFL mandated guidelines. Hes also suggested that Tennessee punters were intentionally trying to hit the board, requiring an effort to kick the ball almost straight up.

The NFL has ruled that if a ball hit the display during play, the clock will be reset and down will be replayed. The replay official will have the authority to review plays to determine if the board came into play during the last two minutes of a half, and the coaches will be able to challenge a play involving the video screen at other times during the game by throwing the red flag.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell commented on the situation:

“We will continue to address the particular circumstances in Dallas, giving full consideration to the competitive, safety and fan experience issues involved. The Cowboys have been fully cooperative as we have addressed this subject, and we will continue to work closely with the club on a longer term resolution.”

On his weekly radio show, Cowboys owner Jones commented on the NFLs ruling:

“I don’t see it as ultimately an issue. You can anticipate the ball hitting the board from time to time. There’s no reason why this can’t be something for punters to deal with very similar to the way you’d deal with the wind in your face or with elements; rain, sleet or snow.”

Former Cowboys coach Jimmie Johnson also weighed in on the video board issue:

“If there’s anything wrong, it’s that people are going to watch the video board and not the game. It is so dominating, but I think it’s so cool. I think it’s great.”

The Cowboys play their final preseason game at the new stadium this Saturday as they host the San Francisco 49ers. Dallas will make their regular season debut at the venue on Sunday, September 20th as the New York Giants provide the opposition.

Ross Everett is a freelance writer and respected authority on NFL football betting. His writing has appeared on a variety of sports sites including sports news and sportsbook directory sites. He lives in Las Vegas, Nevada with three Jack Russell Terriers and an emu. He is currently working on an autobiography of former energy secretary Donald Hodell.