DALLAS — A jump ball, wherein a receiver and a defender have an equal chance to catch it, is known as a "50-50 ball" in football.
According to Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy, the term may need to be updated anytime cornerback Trevon Diggs is around the ball while it is in the air.
The second-year cornerback from Alabama picked off New York Giants quarterback Mike Glennon with 7:11 to go in the third quarter. The Giants’ backup quarterback was looking for receiver C.J. Board, but Diggs was looking for the ball as soon as it left Glennon's hand.
McCarthy watched in awe as Diggs came up with the interception.
"I was standing there with Dak and I’ll use his words — ‘I’ve never seen anything like it,'" McCarthy said after the Cowboys' 44-20 win. "The ball goes up in the air and he’s coming down with it. I don’t even think it’s a 50-50 ball anymore. Playing at an extremely high level, confidence off the charts, just the way he goes after the football. It’s unique.”
Diggs has six interceptions on the season, tied with Don Bishop from 1961 for the most picks by a Cowboy through the first five games of the season.
"I think they were in 12 [personnel]," Diggs explained after the game. "When they get in formation like that, it’s more so play-action back-to-back deeper routes against max protect."
Diggs began to read his keys and saw that Board was running the post and began to make a play on the ball once it left Glennon's hand.
"From there, I could judge where the ball was going to be, where the ball would be placed, so I just made a play on the ball," said Diggs.
The interceptions aren't the only aspect of Diggs' game that has been beneficial to the Cowboys. McCarthy also says the cornerback's approach to other aspects of the game are exemplary.
Said McCarthy: "I just think his confidence and even his tackling, he’s improving in his tackling, he’s off to a tremendous start. Just the energy and big play ability that he brings, not only to our defense, but our football team. Once again, they call them 50-50 balls, I don’t think it’s even 50-50 any more when the ball goes up in the air.”
What isn't 50-50 is the Cowboys' winning percentage at 4-1 (.800). Dallas goes on the road in Week 6 to face the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium, and they will need Diggs to tilt the odds once more.
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