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Clever Cowboys 'Legally Cheat' With No-Number Jerseys

Is There A Dallas Cowboys Problem With Those No-Number Jerseys Used In The Scrimmage? Does The NFL Say They’re Illegal?

FRISCO - In addition to the lack of aesthetics and information for Dallas Cowboys fans, there is another reason coach Mike McCarthy’s trick of stripping names and numbers off players’ jerseys for Sunday’s scrimmage is problematic.

It’s against NFL rules. Or ... it is normally against NFL rules.

Sunday's "Cowboys Night" practice at AT&T Stadium was televised locally in the DFW area and on the Cowboys' media channels but featured as little information as possible. ... including blue and white jerseys including no identifying marks.

Why?

Head coach Mike McCarthy's explanation: "A competitive advantage and disadvantage."

That is to say ...

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"With the fact that we were televising the practice here, we would be exposing our younger players to an evaluation process (on film) that the other teams really are not exposing their team to. That was the reason behind going with the white and blue shirts this evening."

READ MORE: 'Do You Want To Know A (Scrimmage) Secret?'

In other words, posing teams wishing to scout the Cowboys on-the-bubble players would theoretically not quite know who and what they’re looking at.

The league in a sense agrees that such a move would provide a team like the Cowboys an advantage ...

Which is why it recently determined that the practice is illegal. Except ... As NFL Network's Jane Slater writes, "It would appear Mike McCarthy found a competitive loophole. In the past, numbers ... needed to be on jerseys. This year because of COVID and the condensed camps, the (new) deadline (to comply with numbers on jerseys) is September 7, per a league spokesman.''

Slater writes that not every NFL team was aware of this change. So, to the Cowboys' credit, McCarthy pulled a legal fast one on the rest of the NFL. To gain a "competitive advantage'' ... in addition to the lack of aesthetics and information.