NFL official to refs: don’t use note cards for first-down measurement

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Referee Gene Steratore (114) carries a folded piece of paper used to determine a measurement next to Oakland Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack (52) during the second half of an NFL football game between the Raiders and the Dallas Cowboys in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017. The Cowboys won 20-17. | Eric Risberg

Who knew a note card could cause so much controversy?

Al Riveron, the NFL senior vice president of officiating, has told referees not to use folded note cards on first-down measurements, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Riveron had to address the issue after referees used a “very unusual” but legal technique when trying to determine whether or not the Cowboys earned a critical first down in their game against the Raiders on Sunday.

Referees used a folded note card to determine the Cowboys earned a first down, and Dallas went on to kick a field goal and beat the Raiders 20-17.

After the game, Raiders coach Jack Del Rio was clearly frustrated with the call.

“I don’t want to get fined, OK? I’m not happy with the way things were done,” Del Rio said after the game. “A lot of different situations throughout the night. They did the best they could. I had a different viewpoint. I saw air. It was pretty obvious.”

Fans shared Del Rio’s frustration.

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