Troy Aikman, social media rip 'terrible' penalty call in Cowboys-Saints game


An NFL season marked by a series of head-scratching penalties continued in the Week 13 matchup between the Cowboys and Saints on Thursday Night Football.

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The bizarre third-quarter call -- a blindside block against Saints fullback Garrett Griffin -- negated a big gain on first down for New Orleans. The 15-yard personal foul seemingly ended a potentially promising drive before it got off the ground.

On the play, Griffin was aligned a yard or two behind the right tackle when the ball was snapped. With Cowboys defensive back Jayron Kearse pressuring QB Taysom Hill from the edge on the opposite of the line, Griffin ranged across to his left to handle the blitzing back.

Despite Griffin seemingly arriving on time to pick up Kearse head-on for a clean block, the officials apparently saw it differently.

NFL Network analyst Troy Aikman didn't mince words in his assessment of the flag, saying it was a "terrible call." Aikman added that Saints coach Sean Payton was justified in being livid over the bizarre penalty. After the game, Payton told reporters he was given no explanation for the call, and that he wasn't familiar with the specifics of the rule himself.

Also after the game, Hill, apparently keen to save himself a fine, laughed off questions about the penalty when asked by reporters.

Interestingly, at least a couple journalists suggested the strange call was actually correct by the letter of the rule.

But for the most part on Football Twitter, fans and reporters weren't so sure.

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