Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David was upset that he didn’t catch a third-down interception that was thrown right at him. He took his helmet off and slammed it to the ground.
A big problem: We’re used to that being a penalty in the NFL.
However, the officials didn’t call the infraction, which happened in plain sight. Though they might have had a reason.
This is from Section 3, Article 1 of the NFL rulebook, which addresses unsportsmanlike conduct: “Removal of his helmet by a player in the field of play or the end zone during a celebration or demonstration, or during a confrontation with a game official or any other player.”
FOX officiating expert Mike Pereira did not think it should have been a penalty.
Had the penalty been called, it would have extended the drive. Instead of kicking a field goal, the Cowboys would have had a first-and-goal at the 9-yard line. Perhaps they wouldn’t have scored a touchdown, but it would have been an important opportunity in a high-scoring half.
The Cowboys made the field goal to take a 16-14 lead, then the Buccaneers answered right back with a touchdown. It was a huge decision if you’re Dallas.
Maybe the officials were too busy worrying about taunting penalties.