Cowboys Holley’s $72 million early celebration

Want to teach your kids about the dangers of showboating during their games?  Tell them the tale of Jesse Holley, a wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys.

And to make matters even more interesting, the star of our story got his big break by winning a reality television show in 2009.  The show, called “4th and Long”, aired on Spike TV and was hosted by – you guessed it – former Dallas Cowboy wide receiver Michael Irvin.  His prize?  An invite to Cowboys training camp.  After getting cut in training camp, he signed with the practice squad, and played in 12 games last season.

In case you missed it, here’s what happened in the Cowboys-49ers game in San Francisco Week 2.  The Cowboys rallied from a 24-14 deficit in the 4th quarter and tied the game on a 48-yard field goal by Dan Bailey as time expired.  (Yes, Tony Romo redeemed himself from last week and actually led the charge, fractured rib, punctured lung and all).

On the Cowboys’ first play in overtime, Romo hit a wide-open Holley over the middle near midfield, and he was off to the races.  Holley appeared headed for pay-dirt and a true Hollywood ending.

But this was San Francisco, not Hollywood.  And Holly took a page from Irvin’s playbook, only he did it a few yards before the end zone.

That’s right, Holley raised the ball in celebration before he got to the end zone, and 49ers’ safety Donte Whitner tackled him out at the 1-yard line.  The Cowboys and 49ers took timeouts, and Holley continued celebrating on the sidelines.  Bailey then kicked a 19-yard field goal to win the game for Dallas.

But there’s still a catch.

The Cowboys were three-point favorites at most sports books in Las Vegas.  Since they won by 3, that resulted in a tie, which is referred to in gambler-speak as a “push.”  In that case, the sports books return the amounts wagered by bettors on both teams.  Had Holley scored a touchdown, the Cowboys would have covered the spread.  According to RJ Bell of, Holley’s gaffe caused Cowboys bettors to miss out on an estimated $72 million worldwide in potential winnings.  Needless to say, the Las Vegas sports books must be pretty happy with Holley’s antics.

So you see, kids, showboating has no place in sports.  It’s selfish, needless and could even cost your team the game.  In fact, it can cost your parents their hard-earned money in office pools legalized sports books in the state of Nevada.  And you’ll also incur the wrath of fantasy football players everywhere.  Arian Foster will tell you how fun that can be…

In fact, kids should be more like Whitner.  He never gave up, even after being beaten badly on that infamous play.  He will now live in infamy as the man who made the $72 million tackle.  A true player to model yourself after.

Finally, don’t bother gambling on NFL games.  Vegas always manages to find a way to outsmart the public, and all it takes is one knucklehead to ruin your wager.

Now let me get back to figuring out what to do with my injury-riddled fantasy team.  Just don’t expect to see Holley on my roster.

Used with permission of the author.

Chris Lardieri runs the “West Coast View” column for Sports Climax. A veteran to the keyboard, Chris also covers the Los Angeles Dodgers for and has written about Major League Baseball for Inside Edge, a scouting company that provides content to ESPN Insider and Yahoo Sports. Follow Chris on Twitter for more sports observations.

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