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Raiders, Cowboys combine for 28 penalties, but it’s not a record

On this Thanksgiving, we’re thankful for the referees.

Detailed view of NFL referee picking up a penalty flag during the game between the Seattle Seahawks against the Denver Broncos at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders won a wild one over the Dallas Cowboys, beating them 36-33 in overtime at AT&T Stadium. It was not a pretty game for extended stretches and it felt like it became the referee show much of the afternoon. The two teams combined for 28 penalties and 276 penalty yards.

It wasn’t pretty, but it also wasn’t the record for most combined penalties in a modern NFL game. The most penalized game ever was on October 17, 1976. The Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers squared off and were flagged for 39 penalties and 310 yards. Two of the penalties were declined and two others offset each other, and so the official total finished at 35.

The record in the history of professional football belongs to the November 25, 1951 game between the Cleveland Browns and Chicago Bears. They combined for 37 penalties and 374 yards. Today’s game was not pretty but it was a ways off from this one.

We’re all truly thankful for referees today!