Phillip Tanner, Cowboys Rookie, Scores Touchdown Without Helmet In Preseason Game (VIDEO)

08/22/2011 05:43 pm ET | Updated Jan 02, 2012

Dallas Cowboys rookie running back Phillip Tanner provided one of the most exciting plays of the preseason in Dallas' 20-7 loss to San Diego on Sunday, but unfortunately, it didn't count.

In the fourth quarter, Tanner received a handoff and ran smack into a pair of Chargers defenders. Tanner somehow stayed on his feet, but lost his helmet. Just like Dallas' Jason Witten did in 2007, Tanner kept on running and scored a touchdown.

However, the referees called back the TD scamper, enforcing a new safety rule implemented by the NFL which states that any play will be called dead once the helmet of a player with the ball comes off. The referee explained the new rule to fans at Cowboys Stadium as the boos came raining down. The ball was placed back where Tanner lost his helmet.

Despite the reaction in the stadium, this rule clearly has the best interests of the players at its core. Even those stars like James Harrison and Brian Urlacher, who often speak out against additional league rules, may have a hard time finding fault with this one.