Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott attempted to convert on 4th and inches, on a sneak play late in the fourth quarter against the Oakland Raiders.
It wasn’t clear if he reached the first down so the referees requested the chains to be brought out to the field, to measure whether or Prescott got the ball past the first down maker. However, the ball was so close to the marker, that the naked eye could not see if he indeed got the first down.
So the referee Gene Steratore got creative, pulled a folded piece of paper out of his pocket and tried to stick it between the ball and the first-down marker. The piece of paper did not fit so the Cowboys were awarded a first down.
The closest measurement you will EVER see.
First down. pic.twitter.com/14v2lPxxVr
— SNF on NBC (@SNFonNBC) December 18, 2017
The Cowboys went on to kick a field goal to take a 20-17 lead.
A lot of questions can be asked about that. Were the markers held at a perfect 90-degree angle, and why was the paper folded? However, it is best just to marvel at one of the most unusual moments in the history of the NFL.
Also, either there is procedure in the NFL rule book for situations when the first down is too close to call from a measurement that no one knows about, or that official has excellent problem solving skills.
It took him a very short amount of time to decide to use the piece of paper, and it is a moment that will not be soon forgotten.