The talk around the end of the Dallas Cowboys season is everywhere, from ‘where the team goes from here’, to ‘what went wrong in the final game?’. An added emphasis on the literal end to the season. The way the season ended on a controversial final play. A final play that is talked about endlessly, without closure.

Yes. That play.

Fans, players and even the head coach have been vocal about how the game ended. Nevermind the ridiculous amount of penalties the Cowboys accrued in the game. The reality is the team beat themselves.

However, the outrage is understandable given this same crew had made a similar mistake earlier in this game. The forgotten delay of game penalty.

The NFL has come to the officiating crew’s defense on this incident. As is the normal stance the NFL takes with it’s officiating crews.

Controversy with the officials and the Dallas Cowboys is nothing new. It’s also not the first time this season the officials had some sort of effect on the final outcome. There’s an understandable disconnect from Cowboys Nation and officiating crews.

However, a well-known former official had a much more broad, alternate opinion of the last play. An opinion, expanded, reflecting shared blamed for everyone.

FOX rules analyst Mike Pereira recently recently spoke on the Shan and RJ Show on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. In his interview, he was asked about the final play and what should have been done.

“You talk about situational awareness, and officials do that. They try to anticipate down and distance. Is it gonna be a pass? Is it gonna be a run? And in that situation you’re kinda thinking pass outside, boundary line, and you’re not thinking about run. But when it happens, obviously you do have to react and, you know, the thing is that play was probably a victim of what I did in 2010 before I left.

I gave the Umpires a pass and said ‘I’m gonna move you to the offensive backfield because you’re getting killed’. And strictly because of injury purposes, that’s why I made that move before I left, knowing that it would create some holes. It would create some holes when it comes to trap passes over the middle because the Umpire is now really 23 yards away from where he normally was at one point.

So, he had a lot further to go and he did get a little bit of a late start, but I think it’s situational again. I can’t blame him, you know, for the situation, but I would say you learn from every situation. If I were to say to the Umpire ‘What would you do in that same situation?’. You chase the ball, you touch the ball, you don’t move the ball.

And that’s the one thing he did. The spot was one yard in advance, but when it comes time to spot, you know that it’s going to be a spike, you know, you touched the ball. Let him spike it, and then if you need to afterwards, move the ball back one yard, you can do that. But it was so close that, you know, maybe that fraction of a second when he picked up the ball and maybe that would have made a difference.

There’s a lot of maybe’s in there. Maybe there’s a difference if they handed him the ball initially and let him put it down. A lot of maybe’s, but when you snap the ball with 14 seconds to go, and no timeouts, you’re in a tough situation. But I think the Cowboys are responsible, I think the officials are responsible and ultimately I think I’m responsible because if the damn Umpire knew where he was, they probably would’ve got another play, but it didn’t happen.”

Mike Pereira is a 15-season vet as an NFL official, former-VP of Officiating and the active Head of Officiating for the USFL. If there’s anyone in the officiating world Dallas Cowboys fans can rely on, it’s him. Even if their feelings are sour.

It’s all too late for this sort of referee analysis, but it’s a breathe of fresh air that other’s see where this crew failed. Hopefully, in an effort to stop events like this from happening in future games.