One of the indelible moments from the 2017 NFL season will be referee Gene Steratore using a folded note card to measure a first down during the fourth quarter of the Dallas Cowboys’ Sunday Night Football win against the Oakland Raiders in Week 15.
NFL senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron apparently didn’t find that whole production entertaining. He has told referees to not use note cards while measuring first downs, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
NFL head of officials Al Riveron said he has told referees not to use folded note cards on first-down measurements, as happened Sunday night in Cowboys-Raiders game.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 21, 2017
While two teams had their playoff lives riding on the game, that moment was still hilarious. From a distance it was impossible to tell if Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott had gained enough yards to get a first down on his sneak. That is when the figurative light bulb turned on over Steratore’s head and he decided to see if a folded note card would fit between the first-down marker and the football.
It didn’t, and the Cowboys were awarded a first down.
What that play should do is get the NFL to invest in some type of electronic measurement system like professional tennis has to make decisions on first downs and out-of-bounds calls. However, in the meantime everyone should continue to laugh at Steratore’s decision.