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Dez Bryant hopes NFL figures out what a catch is

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Commissioner Roger Goodell didn’t include Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant on the committee of current and former players who consulted with the NFL in an effort to redefine the catch rule. Bryant nevertheless remains very interested in the process.

Via Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Bryant said he saw the controversial play in the divisional round, in which Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald appeared to be going to the ground before completing the catch, losing possession once he landed out of bounds.

“The NFL is still trying to figure out what a catch is,” Bryant said regarding the play. “Whenever they figure that out, hopefully they’ll let me know.”

As Williams notes, Fitzgerald’s catch didn’t look much different than Bryant’s non-catch from the divisional round a year earlier. Both caught the ball. Both took multiple steps. Both turned their bodies. Unlike Fitzgerald, Bryant cradled the ball in his arm and lunged with it toward the goal line.

Both were ruled completions on the field. Bryant’s was overturned. Fitzgerald’s wasn’t, with NFL V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino explaining that there was not indisputable visual evidence showing Fitzgerald hadn’t satisfied the rule that requires the receiver to transition to a runner, based primarily on a vague, subjective element of time.

Under that reasoning, Bryant’s catch shouldn’t have been overturned, either. While there’s nothing the league can do to fix that now, the interpretation that was applied in Fitzgerald’s case could be the best way to apply a clumsy rule unless and until the rule is made to be less clumsy.

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28 Responses to “Dez Bryant hopes NFL figures out what a catch is”
  1. lks311 says: Jan 26, 2016 10:44 AM

    I wonder if he is as, equally, concerned if the Refs figured out what Pass Interference is?

    – Signed,
    Lions Fans Everywhere

  2. ariani1985 says: Jan 26, 2016 10:47 AM

    Packers choking away the NFCCG was the icing on the cake for stealing a win.

  3. jjb0811 says: Jan 26, 2016 10:55 AM

    NFL should debate what is a cowboy. Used to mean competing for division titles & superbowls. Now it means 8-8 seasons?

  4. rosstuckershair says: Jan 26, 2016 11:13 AM

    Look at last years playoffs. Cowboys vs Packers…It was a catch…

  5. brimab says: Jan 26, 2016 11:17 AM

    Personally, *I* would like the NFL to figure out what a catch is too.

  6. knockknockwhosthereowen says: Jan 26, 2016 11:17 AM

    I think they should just simplify the rules of a catch. There will always be judgment calls and disagreements but I propose: if a player can show ball control with 2 feet or a body part in bounds even if it’s for a microsecond, it should be a catch. No “establish themselves as a runner”, no “maintain control to the ground”. On replay you can plainly see if there is a moment where the player is inbounds with ball control. If the player is juggling the ball then it will be incomplete, but if they hold it while they are in bounds and then start juggling it it would be complete.

    Example 1: player jumps up, catches the ball, lands with 2 feet in bounds but his momentum takes him to the ground, ball pops out. My rule: catch. Current rule: no catch.

    Example 2: player dives and in mid air catches the ball, lands on the ground and the ball pops out as he hits the ground. My rule: no catch. Current rule: no catch

    Example 3: player jumps up, catches the ball, lands on 2 feet, pivots, dives for the endzone ball touches the goalline, ball pops out. My rule: catch, TD. Current rule: no catch.

  7. steelerben says: Jan 26, 2016 11:19 AM

    The over complication of what a catch is was meant to remove judgement calls and has instead made more of them.

    Changing the rule to two feet down (or equivalent body parts) with possession of the ball is a catch. If the player goes to the ground and loses control without being touched it is then a fumble. If the player goes to the ground and is touched, the play is over when down by contact. Going out of bounds or into the end zone also stops the play then and there. That seems simple enough, even though you’ll likely see more turnovers while everyone adjusts.

  8. railcarcowboy says: Jan 26, 2016 11:21 AM

    They’ve been playing modern era football since the 60’s. If they don’t know what a catch is by now then they’ll never know.

  9. phootballphorever says: Jan 26, 2016 11:23 AM

    Dez, just drop it.

    Oh right, he did…..

  10. packfaninpackland says: Jan 26, 2016 11:36 AM

    To Dez and Cowboys whiners everywhere – if by a ‘catch’ you mean that Bryant bobbled the ball, dropped the ball, and the ball hit the ground – if you consider ALL OF THAT a catch, then, YES, it was a catch.

  11. dirtydrynn27 says: Jan 26, 2016 11:46 AM

    What difference does it make if he is on Injured Reserve???

  12. shadrach422 says: Jan 26, 2016 11:48 AM

    Cowboy fans hope to figure out what the Post-Season is….

  13. willycents says: Jan 26, 2016 12:07 PM

    How about this suggestion: Two feet down, make a football move, maintain possession for three additional steps, cross the goal line and hand the ball to the refs, unless there are mitigating circumstances.
    For the Patriots, if the receiver touches the ball within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage, it is called a catch, regardless of whether it is controlled or not.

    Sounds fair to me.

  14. dohczeppelin says: Jan 26, 2016 12:09 PM

    Look up the article “The NFL catch rule isn’t as bad as you think.” I believe it was on sbnation.com but google can find it for you. Very insightful piece about the history and details of the rule. It also explores the alternative option, such as the simplified version most people are calling for, where a catch only requires you have the ball in your hand and two feet down. I know that sounds elegantly simple and superior, but as the article points out, that rule would have some serious flaws.

    The current really isn’t that difficult to understand, but the article really spells it out. Great read if you want to educate yourself on the subject.

  15. voiceofrealism says: Jan 26, 2016 12:18 PM

    I hope so too. I also hope Dez figures out how to shut the hell up. Love watching him play. Hate when he opens his mouth.

  16. granadafan says: Jan 26, 2016 12:19 PM

    When the NFL figures out what a real GM is, let me know.

    Jerry Jones

  17. zack2482 says: Jan 26, 2016 12:34 PM

    Lions fans…it wasn’t pass interference. And you had 8 minutes left in the game. Your coach had no balls and didn’t go for it on 4th and 1. Romo drove the field and threw the game winning TD. Your QB fumbled on the last drive, not once, but twice. Totally different.

  18. wafflestomp says: Jan 26, 2016 1:32 PM

    It wasn’t a catch according to the current rules.
    Dez needs to let this go.

    Inthe grand scheme of things it doesn’t even matter because Green Bay ran the length of the field trying to run out the clock and would have won anyway with a chip shot field goal.

    It’s over. Let it go!

  19. zygizag says: Jan 26, 2016 1:44 PM

    Many Cowboy fans may be wondering if Dez will ever figure out how to catch the ball on a regular bases, regardless the rules.

  20. booboo31 says: Jan 26, 2016 1:52 PM

    It was a catch. But even as a cowboys fan it really should be let go lol nothing we can do about it moving forward.

  21. expertatnfl says: Jan 26, 2016 1:54 PM

    It’s unlikely Green Bay would have come back from being down late in that game. They are notorious for their inability to win from a late deficit.

  22. jonathankrobinson424 says: Jan 26, 2016 2:09 PM

    …..BOTH yours and Calvin Johnsons catch were a catch. To this day I want to clock the stupid refs that started this whole thing with the Calvin Johnson catch !

  23. MossMoon2Packers says: Jan 26, 2016 3:28 PM

    One thing the refs are never confused about is calling everything in favor of the Packers. They’ve got that down pat. The Dez non-catch is just another example of that.

  24. shadrach422 says: Jan 26, 2016 4:07 PM

    Cowboy fans still wondering what a playoff victory is….

  25. nolahxc says: Jan 26, 2016 4:30 PM

    Just let Dez review every reviewable catch in the NFL. Stop the games he’s playing in to allow him to head over to the instant replay hood, and he can just hit a yes or no button.

    With this extra time that will undoubtedly be added to all Cowboys games, Jerry and Roger can enjoy some extra commercial revenue.

    It’s a win/win for everyone.

  26. nard100 says: Jan 26, 2016 5:07 PM

    Are we still talking about Dez’s not-catch? Please give it a rest. The only reason this is still in the news is because it was the cowboys. If this happened in Cleveland, we’d tell them to shut up, but because it’s the cowboys, let’s whine some more a year later on how they got robbed of the chance to go to the SB. Waah! Straighten up your skirts and move on!

  27. usdcoyotesfan says: Jan 26, 2016 11:17 PM

    A catch is when you secure the ball without it bobbling before it touches the ground, unlike what Dez did.

  28. steelerben says: Jan 27, 2016 10:32 AM

    dohczeppelin says:
    Jan 26, 2016 12:09 PM
    Look up the article “The NFL catch rule isn’t as bad as you think.” I believe it was on sbnation.com but google can find it for you. Very insightful piece about the history and details of the rule. It also explores the alternative option, such as the simplified version most people are calling for, where a catch only requires you have the ball in your hand and two feet down. I know that sounds elegantly simple and superior, but as the article points out, that rule would have some serious flaws.

    The current really isn’t that difficult to understand, but the article really spells it out. Great read if you want to educate yourself on the subject.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I read the article you suggested and I remain in favor of the simplified rule.

    The main counter arguments are 1) player safety 2)hightlights (dubbed fairness) and 3) enforceability at NFL speeds.

    1) The way the rule is currently written the offense is not punished for throwing a pass that puts the receiver into a dangerous position. Leading the receiver into tacklers in the middle of the field or throwing it high with safeties closing in result in an incomplete pass if the receiver is crushed. If that were to instead result in a turnover, it would incentivize the quarterback throwing safer throws that protect receivers from quick, devastating contact.

    2) We might lose some highlight plays with guys leaping into the air and reeling in outrageously inaccurate passes, but we will gain more spectacular to tapping sideline grabs and back of the endzone snags. The “cheap” turnovers would still be a factor, but just like defenses adapted to the new rules for hitting offenses will adapt and throw safer passes. (For those keeping track, that’s “safer” twice.)

    3) As a proponent of full time officials with an off season training program and enhanced accountability, I think that this problem solves itself. If you do have the officials trained year round you will have more consistent judgments, less mistake prone officials, and officials in better shape who will be able to better be in position to make the calls.

    As a side note, I don’t want the rule changed because I don’t understand it. I understand it clearly and can get the “official” call right 9 times out of 10. I just don’t agree in most cases that it fairly reflects what a catch actually is.

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