The New England Patriots may have one more team captain than the NFL allows, according to a revelation made during Cowboys coach Jason Garrett’s Thursday press conference.
The Cowboys announced their six team captains for the 2017 season on Wednesday: Quarterback Dak Prescott, tight end Jason Witten, linebacker Sean Lee, cornerback Orlando Scandrick, defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford and kicker Dan Bailey.
Garrett said the captains are voted on by teammates.
“It might be one of the best honors than an NFL player receives,” Garrett said. “That his peers, the guys he’s with every day, his teammates, chose him to lead that particular unit.”
The initial plan was originally to have two captains from the offensive side of the ball, two from the defense and one on special teams.
Behind Sean Lee, though, there was a tie between Crawford and Scandrick, bringing the total to six captains.
Garrett said there are a number of Cowboys players who received votes to be captains, including Travis Frederick, who was a team captain in 2016.
“I actually called the league the other night to see if we could have seven captains,” Garrett said. “We wanted to do three [offense], three [defense] and one [special teams]. They didn’t allow us to do that.”
He said the league told him they would petition for an increase in captains in 2018 if the Cowboys wished to do so.
But, curiously, the New England Patriots announced their team captains Wednesday as well… and they list seven captains: Quarterback Tom Brady, tight end Rob Gronkowski, center David Andrews, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, defensive backs Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon, and wide receiver Matthew Slater.
Rule 18 of the NFL rule book says, for a specific game, that a team can designate “a maximum of six captains.” That decision has to be made an hour-and-a-half before any given game.
It’s not explicit on the number of team captains that can be named at the beginning of a season.
“They just said they allow six ‘C’s’ [on the jersey],” Garrett said. “The limit right now is six.”
Clarence Hill with the Star-Telegram pointed out the Patriots’ seven captains to Garrett during the press conference Thursday.
Garrett joked that he would put in a call to the league about the discrepancy.
“That’s good knowledge,” he said with a laugh.
It may have all been a misunderstanding -- the Cowboys likely could have named a seventh captain, and simply designated six for each game.
If the Patriots run seven captains out to the coin toss, though, then something is fishy.