Has a hair stylist ever gotten a game ball after an NFL game?
It seems unlikely, but whoever takes care of Marion Barber's dreadlocks deserves some kudos after his handiwork helped spur the Cowboys to victory on Sunday. Both of the team's fourth quarter touchdown drives were helped immensely by penalties called on the Lions for tackling Barber by the hair that peeks out below his helmet.
The first came on a second down in the Lions red zone when Ndamukong Suh pulled down Barber after a short gain. The flag turned what would have been a third-and-11 into a first-and-goal that the cowboys turned into Miles Austin's second touchdown grab of the day. The second penalty came on the next drive when Julian Peterson just couldn't resist running his fingers through Barber's hair. It would have been third-and-14, but the Cowboys got another first down and Jon Kitna iced the cake with his touchdown run three plays later.
Now, you might be asking yourself why in the blue blazes did the Lions get penalties for something that isn't against the rules of football? It's a fair question, one that Detroit coach Jim Schwartz asked with a great deal of vigor during the game. The referees called horse collar tackle penalties on both plays, but that rule requires that a defender grab the back of an offensive player's shoulder pads to bring him to the ground. That didn't happen in either case and former NFL director of officiating Mike Periera confirmed that Carl Cheffers doesn't know the rules of the game.
Tough break for the Lions, but it's just another sign of how the clouds have lifted from above the Cowboys in the last two weeks. Not only did they get the breaks when the yellow flags started flying, but they got a positive, if passive, contribution from Marion Barber after nine weeks of nothing but disappointment. Jason Garrett obviously majored in magic during his time at Hogwarts, er, Princeton.
So long as Barber doesn't visit a barber, the good times should keep on rolling.