Giants Get Controversial Call, Rare Win in Texas

<i> From Times Wire Services</i>

A “phantom” safety and Harry Carson’s goal-line fourth-period interception shed the New York Giants of their Texas Stadium hex Sunday.

The Giants, who were given a controversial safety on the opening kickoff, downed Dallas, 12-10, to win for only the third time here since 1974 and spoil the Cowboys’ 1988 home opener.

Dallas’ Darryl Clack muffed the opening kickoff at his 1-yard line and was tackled in the end zone by Mark Collins.

“I lost the ball in the sun, and I thought it was a live ball after touching it,” Clack said. “I thought I had to try to run it out. It all happened too quick.”


New York Coach Bill Parcells said he didn’t really know what was happening at the time.

“I thought the guy (Clack) had caught it on the field of play, and muffed it, then tried to run it out,” said Parcells, whose team improved to 2-1. “I thought it was a good play.”

Midway through the fourth quarter, Dallas (1-2) was inside the New York 10, needing a field goal to take the lead. But Carson intercepted Steve Pelluer’s pass, ending the Cowboys’ last serious threat.

“I thought he (Carson) played the best game he ever played,” Parcells said, “and that interception proved it.”


Said Carson: “There was nobody out in front of me, and going down that sideline I wanted to wave to (Dallas Coach) Tom Landry.”

Carson returned the interception 66 yards. The Giants failed to score, but the play preserved the victory.

Cornerback Perry Williams intercepted another Pelluer pass with 41 seconds left to seal the win.

Landry said he was “upset” over the safety call but admitted: “We should have argued more. I didn’t ask for a replay. I don’t know why the officials didn’t replay it.”


Said replay official Armen Terzian in a prepared statement: “The play should have gone as a touchback with the Cowboys taking the ball on the 20. The rule states that if the return man muffs the ball and it goes into the end zone, he must recover the ball, but he has no responsibility to take it out.

“I was remiss in not reviewing the play at the time, but I felt there was an interpretation on the field which I was unaware of and would have allowed the safety.”

Once the next play begins, an official’s ruling stands, even if wrong.

“Unfortunately, that was not the case, and subsequent review confirmed that the ball was muffed,” Terzian said.