Clock willing, fastest TD mark stands

Updated: October 14, 2003, 9:18 AM ET
Associated Press

IRVING, Texas -- Randal Williams claims to be fast, but even the Dallas Cowboys receiver knows he's not 37 yards-in-three-seconds fast.

Williams is being credited with the fastest score to start a game since the NFL began using a scoreboard clock. He returned Philadelphia's onside kick for a touchdown three seconds into Sunday's game.

Officially, it took only three seconds. It might have actually taken almost twice as long, which would still be pretty good.

"I watched it a couple of times. I probably took three or four steps before that first tick came off the clock," Williams said Monday, a day after the Cowboys' 23-21 win. "Hey, that's not my fault. It goes down in the record book."

Replays show clearly that the clock didn't start until after Williams took a few steps, at least two seconds.

"Maybe we've got a slow hand up there (in the booth)," Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said. "I could see how that could happen though because you're used to thinking the ball is going in the air and seeing the ball."

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Monday that the play will not be reviewed. So Williams will keep the three-second record.

Even if Williams had matched the pace of former Cowboys player Bob Hayes when he ran 100 meters in a then-world record time of 10.05 seconds, it would have taken about 3.4 seconds to go 37 yards.

And, in Williams' case, he started it by leaping, was wearing football gear and slowed at the finish, raising his right arm in celebration.

Williams was on the front line of the Cowboys' return team when the Eagles tried the onside kick. He plucked the ball out of the air and wasn't touched as he raced to the end zone, the shortest return for a touchdown since Henry Jones of Buffalo also went 37 yards in 1999.

The Eagles successfully recovered an onside kick to start their 41-14 season-opening victory over Dallas in 2000.

"We knew they attempted some onside kicks in the past. I can't tell you I knew it was coming," Parcells said. "It was a lucky play. That is totally an unpredictable situation and unpredictable results."


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press