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In the Era of Awful Red Flags, Wade Phillips Goes to Another Level

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↵This year has seen a renaissance for awful NFL challenges. It's to be expected -- you give a terrified head coach an excuse, a garment of blame ... of course he's going to use it! But Wade Phillips, man, this one is just bad.
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↵At the open of the second quarter in the 49ers-Cowboys showdown (showdown?), Tony Romo floated an out to Jason Witten on the sideline. Witten caught the ball with his left foot down in-bounds, but about 75% of the tight end's right foot was out of bounds. It's an incompletion on 1st-and-10 from the Dallas 25. It's not even close.
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↵Romo insisted to Phillips it was a catch. Witten did not -- he just jogged back to the line of scrimmage. But Romo saw it, 40 yards away. Replay showed the obvious, and Joe Buck basically said the Cowboys would be stupid idiots, disgraces to the game by challenging the play. Romo would not be denied, and Phillips threw the flag. In about 10 seconds, the refs denied it. Cowboys fans barely registered a boo. We'll see if that comes back to haunt the 'Boys, like a ghost or bad Mexican food.
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↵Of course, as saints tends to do, Romo made up for the mistake quickly by nailing Terrell Owens for 75-yard touchdown. The throw was gorgeous, T.O.'s double-move was gorgeous, and Owens basically dragged a Niner across the goal line. The Cowboys blocked an S.F. punt attempt out of the back of the end zone on the next drive. Dallas leads 9-6, proving there's no better way for a coach to change the momentum of a game than by throwing a dubious red flag.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.