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Thursday, December 27, 2012
Call Sunday's game the Mara Bowl, too

By Todd Archer

IRVING, Texas – Sunday’s game between the Cowboys and Washington is already the de facto NFC East Championship Game, but it can also be called the John Mara Bowl.

Mara, the owner of the New York Giants, heads up the NFL’s management council that levied the $46 million in salary-cap penalties against the Cowboys and Redskins, and he said the teams were lucky they did not lose draft picks, too.

The Redskins were docked $36 million in cap space and the Cowboys lost $10 million, which affected some of their free-agent plans. They will take the final hit this offseason of $18 million and $5 million.

The teams’ appeals were denied but now Mara’s team needs the Cowboys and two other teams to lose just to make the playoffs provided they beat Philadelphia on Sunday.

“We’re focused on the task at hand,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “One of the things that I think the whole league had to work its way through was the rules during the uncapped year, during the lockout year and how each of the teams would handle that. That stuff is way above my pay grade in how we handle things around here, but I think there were some different interpretations of what those rules were or non-rules were at that time.

“That’s the business side of football. It was worked out the way it was worked out. We as players and coaches just try to focus on being our best.”

The Redskins were not as politically correct, using the penalty as motivation when they played the Giants this year.

“It’s always great to see something like that happen,” Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said sarcastically. “I wasn’t too happy about what happened. We’ll talk about that at a later time. You’ve just got to concentrate on your job at hand and hopefully both teams that’s their goal and it’s nice both of us are playing for that spot.”