NFL confirms 15-yard penalty against Cowboys for illegal huddle was correct

Dec 18, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) in the huddle against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

One of the biggest and most confusing calls of the postseason came on Sunday during the Packers-Cowboys Divisional Round game. Cowboys receiver Brice Butler was flagged 15 yards for entering the huddle and then leaving it, negating a big gain that would have put the Cowboys inside the Packers’ 20-yard line when trailing 7-3.

It was ruled unsportsmanlike conduct, which seemed a bit harsh for a mental error on Butler’s part. Many disputed that the call was correct, saying that it should have been a 5-yard penalty for having 12 men in the huddle. That’s not the case, and the league confirmed that on Thursday.

Michael Signora, the VP of Football Communications, said on Twitter that the penalty was correctly enforced.

Here’s the explanation of the rule:

It was a pivotal penalty in the game, one that cost the Cowboys at least three points, if not more. Dak Prescott had found Terrance Williams for a big gain to the Packers’ 16-yard line, but due to the penalty, the Cowboys were backed up to their own 48-yard line. They punted on third-and-20 a few plays later, giving the ball back to the Packers, who were leading 7-3 and went ahead 21-3 before Dallas scored again.