Steratore explains decision to overturn Dez catch

AP

Referee Gene Steratore made a season-determining decision on Sunday in the Cowboys-Packers game, overturning a catch by Dallas receiver Dez Bryant that would have put his team one yard away from retaking the lead.  Afterwards, Steratore explained the decision that the catch was not a catch.

“Although the receiver is possessiong the football, he must maintain possession of that football throughout the entire process of the catch,” Steratore told a pool reporter after the game.  “In our judgment, he maintained possession but continued to fall and never had another act common to the game.  We deemed that by our judgment to be the full process of the catch, and at the time he lands and the ball hits the ground, it comes loose as it hits the ground, which would make that incomplete; although he re-possesses it, it does not contact the ground when he reaches so the repossession is irrelevant because it was ruled an incomplete pass when we had the ball hit the ground.”

Asked whether Bryant was down (and the play over) when Bryant’s elbow hit the ground, Steratore said it doesn’t matter.

“When you’re still going through the process of the catch, elbows or knees or irrelevant, he must complete that entire process with the football, maintain possession throughout.”

Though not specifically asked whether the “indisputable visual evidence” standard was met, Steratore said it was clear both to him and to V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino in New York that the ball hit the ground.

“Yes, there were a couple of angles that show the ball actually hitting the ground and then the receiver losing possession of it as well,” Steratore said.

Blandino is scheduled to join PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio tomorrow at 12:18 p.m. ET to discuss this one in further details.  And any potentially game-deciding calls from the Colts-Broncos game.

147 responses to “Steratore explains decision to overturn Dez catch

  1. Good call. Bad Rule. This was one play of many. If Cowboys would have scored a TD, Green Bay would have had almost 4 minutes left to score and win.

  2. Look, this call was a fait accompli from the beginning of the game. They were determined to “right a wrong” in Blandino’s eyes. He has zero credibility on this as he had an agenda pure and simple.

  3. I also find it humorous that you don’t have anyone talking about Steratore’s non-reversal of the ball which clearly hit the ground on the drive that led to the Packers field goal before the half. Like I said, the officiating front office had an agenda and they fulfilled it.

  4. I’m not a lions fan but I love this!
    Instant Karma Mr. Jones. But hey look at it this way — all the money you spent on your last playoff win paid off.

  5. Having you team lose to bad officiating …….heartbreaking

    Having karma return to the other team…….priceless

    Signed A Lions Fan.

  6. the call was bad but Dallas had plenty of plays that they should’ve made but didn’t, which really cost them in this game the lions and their coaches should take notes on how to blame themselves with the loss and not the refs so go ahead and drag this on for a week Dallas has better things to take care of now without worrying about this call. congrats to greenbay on the win they did what they had to do

  7. Completely disagree. The catch was completed when he caught the ball, turned, took two completely steps, dove and reached for the goal line, and then his elbow hits the ground prior to fumbling. He was in complete control of his body and the the catch. The ground cannot cause a fumble, and his elbow was down at the 1 yard line. 1st and goal.

    Completely different than the Calvin Johnson play. Bryant made two complete steps AND a dive towards the goal line AFTER he caught the ball.

    The NFL should be embarrassed and issue an apology.

  8. Why is the VP. of officiating even helping make this call. Don’t we have all these officials sitting at home from the regular season. His character is already in question over last week call that went against Detroit for being on the Cowboy party bus. A smart person gets as far away as he can and let ppl who referee games make these decisions. I’m sure he didn’t want to be in spot light again if call would of stood.

  9. “……..but continued to fall and never had another act common to the game”
    ========================================

    Maybe it’s just me, but diving for the end zone as Dez did is in fact “another act common to the game”. Should have been a first down at the one yard line. I don’t believe even one Packers fan watching thought it was not a good catch. Especially in the stadium where you could have heard a pin drop.

  10. It’s rules like this, that are killing the NFL as we know it. Certain rules need to be changed this off season. This is one of them. It’s costly calls like this one that fans like myself do not like. Cobb’s reception clearly hit the ground. Steratore, where were you on that call.

  11. I think the reaction (and I am a fan of neither team) should be how can you still be in the “process of the catch” when you take at least TWO steps after the ball is in your hands? Exactly when is the “process of the catch” over?

    It is ridiculous to make something this complicated. He caught the ball, took two steps with the defender on him, the defender, was in contact when he hit the ground, 1st down inside the 1. My grandmother (if she wasn’t watching Matlock at the time) could have made this call.

  12. The nfl is a joke. It used to be that great plays were rewarded. Now the rules go the other direction. I don’t care which team you liked today, all should agree that a catch like that should be rewarded, not picked apart and denied by technical subjectivity. Why review plays if the result of which takes away from the skill of the player?

  13. Hey, Lions fans, stop whining. We get it. You think you had a bad call go against you. Get over it. Why you have this “two wrongs makes a right” mentality is beyond me, especially when it benefits a division rival that has owned your team for decades. Grow up, put all of that aside, and call the play as you see it either way without this asinine bias. You’re embarrassing the city of Detroit more than Kid Rock’s “born free” commercials have.

  14. Let’s say the refs let this stand, and it takes Dallas 2 plays to punch it in for a touchdown, which leaves the Packers with about 3 minutes to go on a game winning drive.

    Do you really think Dallas would have stopped them? Given that the Packers drove down to about the 25 yard line when they were just trying to run out the clock on the final drive of the game.

  15. Everyone saying it’s a bad rule, answer this:

    What part of the ball can’t hit the ground should be changed?
    —————-
    Hey buddy, it’s in a separate rule. “The ground cannot cause a fumble”.

    It happened after the catch.

  16. nachoface says:

    Stumbling for three steps while falling is not the same as running three steps.
    ======================================

    Yes it is. Feet went left, right, left with him aiming his body for the end zone with the ball clutched in his hands. An act common to the game. It’s not even debatable.

  17. And the GB fans are right – if Dallas scores, GB could have come back and won. And we could be talking about a classic, great game instead of a ref and replay official who somehow knew what Dez Bryant’s intentions were on a play (that was originally called a catch). Well, it won’t last long… the Peyton Manning flaming out in the playoffs thread should be just about ready to start.

  18. He didn’t make a”football move” yes his feet it the ground. Yes he was reaching for the end zone. BUT he was falling the entire time. The rule says if you are falling to th ground you MUST control the ball through the ground. He didn’t.

    “If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball throughout the process of contacting the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.”

    You might hate the rule but it was rhe right call

  19. abninf says:
    Jan 11, 2015 7:42 PM
    Yes it is. Feet went left, right, left with him aiming his body for the end zone with the ball clutched in his hands. An act common to the game. It’s not even debatable.
    ////////////////////////////////////////

    …..and he proceeded to NOT maintain possession throughout the entire “process” of the catch.

    Bad rule. Correct call. Tough luck.

  20. muslimponder says:

    Why would you idiots actually want this rule changed?
    =======================================

    Sooo that when a receiver catches the ball it counts, perhaps?

  21. This keeps coming up. Even the NFL official for FOX stated it. “The ground cannot cause a fumble.” Yes it can. If a QB falls while dropping back to pass, and no defender has touched him, and as the ball and player hit the ground the QB drops it, the ground caused the fumble.
    It is not unusual for a player to trip and lose the ball when he hits the ground.

    The ground can’t cause a fumble in the process of a player being tackled.

    Why the ground can’t cause a fumble is even part of the Dez Bryant call is a further mystery to me.
    ===========
    As for the call, lunging for the end zone should be considered a “football move.”

    Finally, if while playing football what other moves do you make? Do players make tennis moves, baseball moves or curling moves?

    BTW…
    Romo killed a running play at the end of the half, on 3rd and short to go for a big play and they failed. Got sacked I believe.
    This Dez play was 4th and 3. Sometimes you need to get the short yardage and go for the dagger play later. Not when its all or nothing.
    Focus on the first down first…..
    Like someone said above, if the Dez play was a catch, GB would have had 4 mins to get in field goal range.

  22. stellarperformance says:
    Jan 11, 2015 7:50 PM
    abninf says:
    Jan 11, 2015 7:42 PM
    Yes it is. Feet went left, right, left with him aiming his body for the end zone with the ball clutched in his hands. An act common to the game. It’s not even debatable.
    ////////////////////////////////////////

    …..and he proceeded to NOT maintain possession throughout the entire “process” of the catch.

    Bad rule. Correct call. Tough luck.
    ======================================

    It was explained that it was not ruled a catch because he didn’t make a move common to the game before the ball hit the ground. But he did make a move common to the game. It’s called diving for the end zone with the ball clutched in his hands. The only thing humanly possible he could have done. Incorrect call. Tough luck, yes.

  23. muslimponder
    Jan 11, 2015, 6:46 PM CST
    Why would you idiots actually want this rule changed? So the offense can have even MORE advantages over defenses?!
    ———-
    He caught the ball. Change the rule so when a player catches the ball it stays that way.

  24. I think the reaction (and I am a fan of neither team) should be how can you still be in the “process of the catch” when you take at least TWO steps after the ball is in your hands? Exactly when is the “process of the catch” over?

    It is ridiculous to make something this complicated. He caught the ball, took two steps with the defender on him, the defender, was in contact when he hit the ground, 1st down inside the 1. My grandmother (if she wasn’t watching Matlock at the time) could have made this call.
    ____

    The “process of the catch” is over when he either stands and starts running, or when he stops rolling when he hits the ground.

    Ignore the feet, that has nothing to do with the call. He was falling the entire time, thus, the process of the catch isn’t completed until he completes his fall. Before he completed his fall, the ball hit the ground and popped out. At that point the play is over, incomplete pass.

    If he would have stood up, then in the process of being tackled hit the ground and it fell out, that would be under the “ball can’t cause a fumble” rule. But this is under the “process of the catch” rule which is posted above. It’s pretty clear cut.

  25. He begins the catch at the 5 yard line, the catch is complete when he comes down with control and both feet in bounds at the 3. He then makes a clear football move to lunge for the goal line, he wasn’t falling, it was trying to score, it was absolutely a catch, and a catch by rule. The official who made the original call on the field had perfect position, replay screwed it up.

  26. He did not maintain clear control of the ball all the way to the ground. Not a catch. Very simple.

  27. So let me get this straight, Dez catches the ball, gets two feet down, turns with a third step and dives toward the end zone in which the ground dislodges the ball as he reached out and it’s an incomplete pass? This rule would t apply because he made a “football move”! Does anyone not agree that he dove for the goal line in an attempt to score? That wasn’t part of his attempt to maintain possession? This was a bad call period.

  28. It’s hilarious to watch all the cowboys fans crying about the refs, when they wouldn’t even be playing in this game if not for the refs last week.

  29. Ball hit the ground. McCarthy challenged. It was overturned. It’s the rule. If the ball hit the turf on Cobb’s catch… Why didn’t the Cowboy’s challenge?

    It was the right call.

  30. I wondered about the elbow thing (and asked it on another thread here). That answers that.

    Overall, I think it’s definitely a bad rule. The question is how to make it better.

    A lot of people have a problem with the “to the ground” part of it. The only issue I see with that is how else would you word it? You can’t just say two feet down and in control of the ball, because how long must the be “in control” of the ball until it’s considered a catch?

    A second, 5 seconds, until he perhaps hits the ground, or through the whole continuous effort to make the catch, including through the ground part of the play?

    I don’t like the way the rule is spelled out, because Dez certainly caught that ball, but I’m not sure if you can word it into a rule that works.

  31. It was the right call for cryin out loud! But I understand the difficulty in reading the rule book for all you Cowboys fans. It’s hard to read the words when the ink is all smudged due to your tears. Assuming you can read that is.

  32. Romo got outplayed by a guy playing with one leg…period.Hey Dez just play football and shut-up.Nobody cares.

  33. Well, all is still ok in Northeastern Dallas (New Jersey) as Chris Christie can now suck up to Mark Cuban and the Mavs, the Dallas Stars and get ready for the Texas Rangers and Spring Training. Thank God for no more man hug shots of the great pumpkin, facelift Jerruh and his sons. Hey Chris Christie……..How ’bout dem Cowboys!!!!……..and how ’bout Jeb Bush destroying the shot that you never really had for a higher office!!!! Signed – The residents of NJ and drivers over the Tappan Zee Bridge:)

  34. Steratore’s a good official, but what’s he going to justify next? The color of the sky? The sum of 2 and 2?

    Facts need no justification. The pass was incomplete. The overrule was correct. End of conversation.

  35. I think it’s a good a call, falling down is the opposite of athletic move and I feel he never really had possession including when the ball hit the ground and popped out.

  36. What difference does it make? The call isn’t going to be changed. Hope the Cowboys draft some defense for next year…and keep Dez and Demarco.

  37. Dezzie and Demarco – Massive long term payday for one and a ticked off franchise tag for the other. Hello salary cap issues!!!!!I hope they tag Dezzie so that I can watch the fireworks go off as he has about 20 nut jobs living at his rental home that he is supporting. I’m gonna go get me some popcorn (didn’t another crazy Boys receiver once say that?:) and watch this zaniness!!!!

  38. They need to make the rule as simple as this — If the momentum of the receiver has stopped or the whistle is blown and the ball hasn’t touched the ground then it is a catch.

    By this rule, Dez did not catch the ball.

  39. No, Dallas doesn’t know how Detroit feels. Steratore got this one right, based on how the rule is written. As others have said, bad rule/right call. That debacle in the Detroit game had nothing to do with making the right call or following the rules.

  40. Leapt up and made the catch. First foot hit at the 5 1/2 yard line. Third foot hit at the 2 yard line. Lunged the ball toward the goal line, landed at the 1/2 yard line. I don’t see how carrying the ball 5 yards and lunging toward the goal line is not a football move. He did the same thing 3 other times this year.

  41. It really didn’t matter with that much time on the clock.

    The Packers mercifully ran out the clock on their final drive rather than running up the score.

    Don’t let one play distract from a good game between top teams in the NFL.

  42. These replays and refs are just killing this game.The NFL is quickly becoming the WWE…full of nonsense.

  43. you all know damn well if that were jordy nelson or cobb—–oh wait cobb got credit for a ball that hit the ground first. anyway if it was nelson, that would have been a completed catch. i am gonna love it if the same type of play goes against gb in seattle and have the game turn on it. yep i’m sure all packer fans will say “oh well better luck next year”

  44. This call didn’t decide the game by itself, but this catch was not the same as the Calvin Johnson catch.

    Johnson went up in the end zone and came down with the ball in one hand and put it on the ground then the ball came out of his hand.

    Dez had possession of the ball, took two steps and lunged for the end zone.

    It’s a stupid rule that was only enacted to cover the officials for screwing Calvin Johnson and the Lions out of a TD in that game.

  45. Reaching the ball towards the goal line is a football move…Horrible, horrible reversal…And I hate Dez Bryant like a case of Shingles during August..

  46. Hey didn’t everyone say one call doesn’t lose you a game all last week? Pretty sure I read that somewhere. Dez dropped it trying to do too much. Go down and secure the catch. Don’t try to be superman and reach the goal line in the air. Rules are rules. Right Jerry?

  47. Detroit fans need shut up. Dallas beat you, ya lost. Enjoy your 1 playoff victory in 43 year. Enjoy rooting for the Packers who have beat your ass for 23 years straight, embarrassing. How in the hell you can root for GB is beyond me. No way in hell I would ever root for another NFC East team.

    One play didn’t lose this game. Dallas missed opportunities to win it. Congrats to GB.

    And when I come home to visit Detroit, I’ll be wearing my Dallas a Cowboys hat with a big smile because you lost to the Cowboys in the playoffs!

  48. I thought it was a good call based on the rule. This is not the first time I have seen a play look like a catch that was ruled incomplete since the “process of the catch” rule was implemented. I thought it would be overturned when it was challenged and it was. It would have been more controversial if they let it stand based on how we have all seen these plays called.

  49. It just seems to me the league (or officials) has tried to come up with a rule for every imaginable situation possible at any given moment in a game (sort of like being politically correct — an answer for everything). As a result, the rules have become so cluttered that it’s hard to tell if a particular play is good or no good, catch or no catch, pass or fumble, touchdown or no touchdown. The tuck incident comes to mind. The league needs to go through the book and clean it up, and when a weird play happens, cross that bridge then.

  50. Absolutely the correct decision. Dez was falling before he attempted to lunge for the end zone. The rules are explicit regarding that scenario. Tough luck Charlie. Go NFCN !

  51. Every team is going to have calls go their way & against them. Its the nature of the beast. If they don’t like it they can retire. Remember the Fail Mary. Packers & Seahawks knew it was the wrong call but it stood. This was the right call according to the interpretation. If u don’t like it deal w/it b/c the shoe will be on the other foot one day in favor of your team. Then what will u say?

  52. Wipe your eyes cowgirls.

    LOL

    Did the refs hold you to 7 pts in the second half?

    Did the refs let GB drive the field to cement the win?

    Did the refs make your defense get torched by a one legged QB?

    It’s over.

    Go home.

    You were really one and done without the refs so feel lucky.

    You know you’ll be irrelevant again next year.

  53. For anyone saying Dez took 3 steps, look at the video again. He goes up in the air, comes down with the ball and gets one foot down, then the other foot comes down and then Dez tries to take 1 step but falls toward the goal line.

    I don’t love the rule, but com’on man!

  54. “Ignore the feet, that has nothing to do with the call. He was falling the entire time, thus, the process of the catch isn’t completed until he completes his fall. Before he completed his fall, the ball hit the ground and popped out. At that point the play is over, incomplete pass.

    If he would have stood up, then in the process of being tackled hit the ground and it fell out, that would be under the “ball can’t cause a fumble” rule. But this is under the “process of the catch” rule which is posted above. It’s pretty clear cut.”

    This is absolutely right, Pereira explained it exactly this way on the Fox post game. Dez was never going to take off running when he landed, he jumped, caught the ball and stumbled forward, this is included in the process of the catch. When he hit the ground, the ball hit the turf and shifted and popped out of his hands, thus, he didn’t control the ball through the entirety of the sequence. This is the rule, if you want to argue that the rule should be changed fine, it was called correctly though.

  55. Detroit got hosed last week.
    Dallas got hosed this week.
    Not surprising at all because the rules are interpreted differently by each refereeing crew (NFL’s biggest problem).

    I think we can all agree Andrew Luck’s beard is horrendous!

  56. I would say that stretching your arm out toward the goalline while possessing the football in said arm after making the catch is considered a separate and distinct “act common to the game.”

    Terrible Rule. Terrible call, and I say all of that hating the Cowgirls.

  57. BIGGSHAUN says: Jan 11, 2015 7:23 PM

    Everyone saying it’s a bad rule, answer this:

    What part of the ball can’t hit the ground should be changed?

    ==================

    the part where he took 2 whole steps and went for the goal line…those 2 steps constituting a “football move” per the rulebook. Thus, the ground cannot cause a fumble.

  58. Bye Bye Chris Christie. It’s now time to be a complete phony and cheer for the Mavs, Stars and Rangers. The Tappan Zee Bridge curse followed you to Green Bay!! Mojo my you know what!!!

  59. Wasn’t he touched, or made contact with the CB after he took at least two steps. And then he dove for the end zone, so shouldn’t he be down at the one(plus the ground can’t cause a fumble). The NFL is so fraudulent with its interpretations of the rules and how they are officiated. I knew as soon as Matthews dove at Romo’s knees well after the throw(and didn’t get flagged) that if given the chance the refs were going to screw the Cowboys. The timeout review of the spot, the no catch by Cobb, and no explanation of why was there a late flag thrown on the punt return(seemed there was another unsportsmanlike conduct late hit on the Packers on top of the holding call). If anyone from Dallas would’ve dove at Rodgers knees as late as Matthews there would have been a flag thrown from every official on the field. It’s getting to the point where I don’t know what’s more a waste of my time, watching NBA players shoot free throws for a third of a game or having to sit threw plays “under review.”

  60. Thats is why i like soccer and basketball, less subjective oh did the ball move blah blah.. its either a basket or a goal.. Too many nuances in football takes away from a great play.. and yes it was.

  61. I don’t understand why so many people are saying it is the correct call.

    “never had another act common to the game”

    Dez reached towards the end zone. How is that not an act common to the game? How is diving towards the end zone and reaching out with the ball, trying to break the plane, not an act common to the game? Somebody please explain that to me.

    I saw someone else say that he was falling before he reached. That doesn’t matter either. The rule says that he needs to maintain possession long enough to “enable him to perform any act common to the game”. He had possession as he reached towards the end zone, that’s what matters.

    The moment he reached towards the end zone it was a catch. The Calvin Johnson rule doesn’t apply because he made a football move. It was absolutely 100% a catch according to the rules.

  62. Maybe Sterator can explain to everyone why Dez Bryant is allowed to repeatedly argue calls on the field without his helmet and never draws a flag.

  63. Anyone that is able to be unbiased knows that was a catch. They can hold up the “letter of the law” BS all they want but Dez had the ball and pushed towards the end zone trying to score. He clearly secured the ball for several seconds and had two feet down. This wasn’t some bang-bang play where it was questionable if he ever possessed the ball. They ignored the spirit of the rule when deciding this play, and they got it wrong.

    Case in point. The muffed punt in the Broncos/Colts game. The receiver never made a “football move”, yet the ref determined he possessed the ball and was down. The rule book calls for the same “completion of the catch” for a punt or a reception. In the case of the Colts game, it was the right call because you could see he clearly did catch the ball and it came free after he was down by contact; just as you could clearly see that Dez did catch the ball.

  64. Bryant bobbled the ball initially. With one foot down and one knee down, gained control as PART of the process of the catch. He was going to the ground and reached out with the ball (NOT a football move). He then loses control of the ball, the ball made contact with the ground and the pass IS incomplete, by rule.

    Now, people can complain all they want, interpret the rules to fit whatever slant they view the game with. Reality is that the call, after review was 100% correct. In super slow motion it appears Bryant had the ball for 5 seconds. Bryant had control of that ball for maybe 1 second. Hardly a football move and not even close to a catch if the rules are applied. Textbook interpretation by the official and a correct call for a change.

  65. Everyone saying he took two steps are wrong. He jumped and landed. What goes up must come down. His legs were inevitably going to come in contact with the ground, doesn’t mean he took two steps. He jumped, landed, fell, ball came out. End of story. I don’t have a dog in this fight. But there is nothing wrong with the rule. All life has areas that are grey, today the Cowboys were on the wrong side last week they weren’t. But people need to get off this the NFL is rigged or there is too many rules. If you dont like it dont watch, or shut up about it.

  66. Hey keywestallyear:
    Just to set the record straight, it was traffic on the George Washington Bridge (not the Tappan Zee) the “public servant” had his minions screw up to get back at a small town mayor he decided was his “enemy…” the “collateral damage” to thousands and thousands of drivers didn’t seem to be something he was worried about…

  67. Those against what was called are going to have their own interpretation of what everyone saw. When you look at the Calvin Johnson catch from a few years ago, the play was very similar and oddly, the same ref made the same call in both instances. That says a lot. I thought the call was the correct call and unfortunately the game hinged on it. Regardless of whether you think the Packers would have gone down the field and scored that may have been a possibility but not a certainty. It’s understandable that a strong majority of Cowboy or anti-Packer fans are going to see the play for what it wasn’t and that is a catch with a receiver seemingly having 2 steps after coming down with 2 feet and diving for the end zone and losing the ball. When they have spoken about the process of the catch (and this isn’t a new discussion – this has been going on for the past 3 years plus) receiver goes up, comes down with the ball and if his momentum carries him to the ground and he loses the ball, the whole thing is considered the process. People talk about consistency and had the “non-catch” been allowed to stand as a catch there would have been more of a frenzy about the call considering that it would have been inconsistent with how they have ruled this play in the past. Steratore made the right call, by the rule book and consistent with what has been ruled in the past. There is a big difference between this call and what happened last week. Those can say the Cowboys got hosed but it’s hard to see it that way given that the correct call was made.

  68. I’ve been saying it since the Pre-season. If this Defense holding, 5 yard and a first down rule was going to continue into the regular season. It’s the beginning of the end for the NFL. Now last weekend, Detroit was robbed! This weekend, Dallas gets robbed! All everyone has been telling me is ” fine, don’t watch the NFL it doesn’t need you!” Well, looks like if the NFL continues in this direction? The NFL will not be the King of Kings of sports in 20 years, maybe less? Soccer, which most middle class kids are playing now, we’ll be the sport of the World! 20 years from now Pro-football will be the third or fourth sport on the wheel! Soccer, Basketball, Hockey, Baseball then football. Mark Cuban isn’t a Billionaire because he’s stupid.

  69. You have to wonder if the heat Blandino took over the whole Cowboys party bus sighting played a role here. The play against the Lions Blandino had no hand in since it never went to review. But here, a week after he had received a lot of criticism for alleged Cowboys bias, he’s basically the one calling the shot on a game-deciding play since he’s Steretore’s boss.

    As someone who has seen a lot of how things really work for people under public scrutiny from a PR perspective, I can tell you that for a guy like Blandino, the concern for his reputation and suspicion that he’s somehow doing the Cowboys a favor would be much more likely to influence his decision making than a few free drinks and briefly attending some Cowboys affiliated party or whatever he was into on that bus.

  70. Nobody has a clue as to what a catch is anymore. It’s becoming so ridiculous! It’s almost not even the refs fault, how can we expect them to make a correct call when the language used to define that rule is so vague and non descript. Had possession but failed to make a football move? What does that even mean? He took like 3 steps!!! Listen I hate the cowboys and would never pull for them unless they are playing the lays, jets or bills but come on man! It’s a bad rule and needs to be adjusted end of story.

  71. Not sure why I’m even replying to this since every expert I’ve heard/read says that it was the correct call, but reading all these comments that say he had two feet down and made a football move by lunging towards the end zone is driving me nuts. If this was a catch and he was on his feet and not falling the whole time then the two feet rule may apply, but he was falling the whole time not in control at all except for the slight lung at the end. I’ve seen plenty of plays like this since the Calvin Johnson non-catch and it does seem to be consistent. Pretty much every time I say that should be a catch, but because of how the rule is worded it’s not.
    I’ve also seen a post that said they watched the replay frame-by-frame and the ball never hit the ground. Not sure where they say they’ve seen this video since every angle I’ve seen in slow-mo shows it clearly hitting the ground and popping up out of his hands.

    As others have said, don’t hate the refs hate the rule since this was a classic case of completing the catch.

  72. Lots of bellyaching and griping about the “end of the league” and bad calls, but I bet you’ll watch the Championship games and Super Bowl…the NFL still dominates.

  73. The Cobb play is a different rule. There he was on the ground. The ball can touch the ground as long as the receiver doesn’t use the ground as an aid to make the catch. That rule was changed 2 or 3 years ago:

    Ball Touches Ground.If the ball touches the ground after the player secures control of it, it is a catch, provided that the player continues to maintain control.

    It’s not as clear but that is the rule. It was a close call but those are the rules. I’m not an official just looking at the rules

  74. He was falling forward with momentum while in the process of making a catch. He could have taken 10 steps and it doesn’t matter. The rule is clear and it was called correctly. Dez was lucky he wasn’t flagged last week. He can’t really bitch about the rules this week.

    Funny how tramon Williams was flagged for the exact same thing that was reversed last week for the Cowboys. I thought face guarding wasn’t PI?

  75. And so the game the Cowboys, didn’t deserve to be in from last weeks terrible officiating. Is appropriately answered by the officials this week. Thank the gods for karma.

  76. it was a bad call. even if that is the rule, it needs to be changed because clearly he caught the ball took two steps and had an elbow AND knee hit the ground before the ball came out. the team i root for didnt even make the playoffs so i have no allegiances, as a fan of football i just feel let down that the game can be decided by a rule that realistically shouldn’t exist.

  77. I think this is less about rules and more about the insanity that technology is bringing to every aspect of our lives. Everything from the endless slo mo replays to the officials’ corresponding muddled explanations is giving me a sense of electronically induced vertigo that is as alarming as it is ridiculous.

  78. I’m not a Cowboys fan and I couldn’t care less that they lost.

    I will accept the fact that as the rules are currently written, that was not a catch.

    I am just not sure I want to live in a world where a reciever can make a spectacular play on a ball, secure it, take three full steps towards the end zone, fall forward and extend his arm and the ball towards the goal line, have his knees and elbows hit the ground while still securing the ball, and have it be an incomplete pass.

    I mean, does that sound logical to ANYONE?

  79. Realistically he didn’t take any steps. His forward momentum is what caused the steps. He was falling to the ground as he was reaching for the goal line all within the process of the catch. Ball hit the ground and popped out. Incomplete. Not that hard to understand.

  80. Steratore is right, leaping 4 feet in the air, making spectacular catch over an NFL cornerback, taking two steps, and propelling yourself towards the goal line is not an “act common to the game”… It is an unbelievable act of sheer athleticism that only world class athletes like Dez Bryant are capable of performing. People sit through -10 degree weather for the prospect of witnessing one of these spectacular, “uncommon” plays. It’s a shame that the NFL has become so devoid of common sense and that super slo-mo replay and ambiguous terminology ruined such an “uncommon” moment. Such moments define the sport.

  81. autumnwind- As someone who has seen a lot of how things really work for people under public scrutiny from a PR perspective, I can tell you that for a guy like Blandino, the concern for his reputation and suspicion that he’s somehow doing the Cowboys a favor would be much more likely to influence his decision making than a few free drinks and briefly attending some Cowboys affiliated party or whatever he was into on that bus.

    ——————————————–

    For someone who “knows how it works”, you should also know that everyone wouldn’t be suspicious of him favoring the Cowboys in the first place if it weren’t for him fraternizing on the team’s bus.
    Also for people still struggling with the “catch” the reason it got overturned has EVERYTHING to do with him falling. He didn’t “take steps” because he was going to the ground no matter what, he never had his feet under him enough to make a “football move” or “move common to the game”. Reaching towards the end zone with the ball still doesn’t count because he’s falling, so by the rules he doesn’t establish possession until the process is complete. Since the ball made contact with the ground and he briefly lost control of it, it’s incomplete right then, therefore he never had possession and couldn’t establish possession because he was falling. When falling it becomes like a catch on the sideline where he jumps, gets his feet down while falling out of bounds. He has to maintain control throughout the process, even though his feet were in he doesn’t establish possession until control of the ball all the way through the fall out of bounds. Might not like the rule, but it’s been called this way for years. When I saw the “catch” in real time I thought it was good. First replay I knew it would be overturned.

  82. I’m so confused with all the deranged fans saying he took, three or two steps…he took exactly zero steps after possessing the ball. He was in the act of falling to the ground, it is not like he caught the ball and then made two step…he made no steps, as he was falling to the ground and you must keep possession of the ball while falling to the ground, simple straight forward rule.

  83. Not sure what the fuss is about

    The rule clearly states:

    A player must catch the ball, get 2 feet in bounds, take 6 more baby steps, do the hokey pokey, make a football move, a baseball move and a chess move, maintain possession all the way to the ground, get back up and make a Roger Goodell move, and trash talk your opponent – all the while maintaining possession of the ball.

    The rule is quite clear.

  84. can anyone show me clear evidence that the ball EVER hit the ground? Never mind this b.s. rule garbage, I want to see where the ball hit the ground?

    The fix was in AGAIN; boycott the conference championships next week

  85. He had possession with two hands then switched it to one hand in order to perform the totally common football move of trying to break the plane of the goal-line. Besides this obvious fact, was there indisputable evidence to overturn this call or was it a subjective decision? What if he caught it a yard deeper and he did break the plane prior to it hitting the ground, then it would have been a touchdown, wouldn’t it – so any rule that can have a completely different application based on where on the field a play is made is not a good rule. Also I would like someone to tell me how the replay booth felt there was not enough evidence to overturn the Cobb catch under 2 minutes in the first half that clearly touched the ground before he did? That play was not subjective at all and was clearly not a catch, an unfair application of this rule that clearly needs to be adjusted and better defined. Finally I will close with, no way Romo who had a 143+ passer rating and who played as banged up if not more then Rodgers gets any blame for this. I think he warrants serious consideration for the league MVP. The team was 12-0 in the regular season in games that he was healthy in, without him this team would have struggled to go 8-8 again.

  86. Dez’ steps…was he running (making a football move ), or falling (process of the catch). He was falling and lunging for the end zone at the same time. Ball hits the ground and pops up. Incomplete. End of discussion.

    The only argument rational people should have is that the rule should be changed. This really isn’t that controversial…and frankly neither is this rule.

  87. bodaciousmikie says:
    Jan 11, 2015 7:40 PM
    If that Cobb catch which obviously hit the ground was upheld this one should of been upheld as well.
    ______________________________

    Cobb didn’t use the ground to help make the catch, he had possession and the ball didn’t move when it came in contract with the ground. Dez on on the other hand, nearly lost the ball as it squirmed and made a Right Angle turn.

    The reason these rules are in place is so the Ref’s have less judgement calls to make, such as the “force out” Last weeks game came down to opinions of officials, we all saw people how feel when that sort of things happen.

  88. LEAVE IT TO DALLAS TO CRY & POUT ABOUT A BAD CALL, TRY BEING RIPPED OFF AS MANY TIMES AS THE OAKLAND RAIDERS OVER THE YEARS!

  89. WHO WOULD WIN A PLAYOFF GAME BETWEEN DALLAS, AND DENVER?
    OH YEAH, IT WOULD END IN A TIE!

  90. I guess jerry didn’t pay enough this time. no refs in pocket. Bryant was falling as he took steps. it was not a separate move. how many of the dumbass cowgirls fans cant accept that. funniest thing I ever seen. could happen to a more useless couple romo and Bryant. worlds biggest chokers

  91. Detroit fans got screwed. Dallas just didn’t get another hand out by the refs this week. It was bound to happen to Dallas as they can’t win without the refs. In the future Dez, if winning is important to you, catch and HANG onto the ball.

  92. I don’t really care what people think about the call or the rule. All I know is that Dallas fans are the scourge of the NFL and deserve no less than to be eliminated by a play call they find questionable. Good times.

  93. Rule 15 article 9 section 3….I have yet to see one picture or replay angle that clearly shows the ball touching the ground. There is no indisputable visual evidence to warrant the change from the call on the field. Forget the fact that the rule is stupid and has been since the Calvin Johnson TD.

  94. Bryant clearly had possession of the ball and reached out to score. If this were Columbia I wouldn’t want to be the one who made that decision.

  95. I love it!! All the Cowboys fans are whining about a rule — not the officiating — just a week after they came up with all kinds of lame excuses defending Pete Morelli for blatantly making the wrong decision on a crucial play that might have cost the Lions that game.
    As several Lions players tweeted after watching the Packers win the game, pay back is a b*****!

    We all agree the rule stinks. But it’s a rule!! Face it Cowboys fans. That play did not cost you the game anyway. Your coach cost you the game when he called it. Why didn’t he just hand the ball off to the best running back in the game? As a Packer fan, I was afraid he’d do that. I think Murray had a great chance to get that first down. Even Marshall Faulk said after the game if he were Murray, he’d want to know why he didn’t get the ball there.
    And — even if he play was allowed to stand and the Cowboys then scored a TD, the Packers would have gotten the ball back with at least 3 1/2 minutes to play. Do you honestly believe your defense, which was being shredded by Rodgers in that quarter, would have prevented him from taking the Packers down for either the winning TD or the winning FG?

    Cowboys fans, your team had a great season. No one gave you a chance because no one believed your defense would turn around as it did. So — hats off to them for that.
    But don’t slight the Packers for what they did yesterday. It’s obvious to everyone but that little punk Jerry-Jones-bootlicker Skip Bayless that Aaron Rodgers was hurting and had no mobility. He gutted it out and made some great throws to win the game.
    Romo played a gutty game, too. He’s as tough as nails and a great player in his own right. They both need to be commended for leaving everything on that field. It’s what great leaders do.
    The Packers have a very tough hurdle in front of them next week. Rodgers can’t expect to feel much better than he did today, and Seattle had an extra day to rest. They are the best team in football. The Packers will have to play even better than they did today to beat them. I give them a better chance than most people because of Aaron Rodgers. As we saw today, he is the best QB in football.

    But no matter how it ends up, as a Packer fan, I’m very proud of the way this team came together this year and the things it accomplished.

    And no matter what anyone says (see Vikings fans) the Packers will still have more NFL Championships than any other team. It’s great to be a Packers fan!!!!!

  96. How can anyone possibly say “he was reaching for the goal line” with the ball when his elbow was still bent almost 90 degrees?

    The last time I checked, when you “reach” for something you extend your arm so your elbow isn’t bent.

  97. My Feelings

    Did he take “2 steps”..i dunno. Technically 2 feet his the ground (not 3), but seemed to be going down the whole way, so IMO, the “process has to be completed, and it wasn’t. Definitely moved when it hit the ground

    Also, I don’t think he broke the plane. I COULD see the Cowboys having a leg to stand on if he broke the plain and still had the ball. Then they could say the “falling” (again, IMO), was diving (in their opinion), and once he broke the plane the play is over. However, I don’t think he did. I think he was inches short. In that case, I’ve seen this play overturned on a regular basis

    If someone can show me a pic, or slow mo video that shows the ball breaks the plain at it’s first contact with the ground, I may change my opinion on that. But up until now, I haven’t

    I’m sure boys fans think I’m biased, but as much as I feel the Eagles got jived several games down the stretch (Seattle, Dallas, and Washington in particular), and Seattle getting robbed last week. I just want to see the correct call at least decide the final 8. At least let the season end with some dignity

  98. glad the cowboys are sitting home next week, that was the right call, an jerry knows it, dez didn’t get it done tooooooooooooooo bad jerry an the gov of new jersey

  99. When a running back is tackled and goes down the ruling is that the ground cannot cause a fumble,
    WHY is it different with receiver? It appeared that he took a step or two before he when down,maybe not, but if the ground cannot cause a fumble for a runner why does it for a receiver. I’m a Denver fan but the Cowboys got cheated. I have always felt the ball carrier should maintain control of the ball even when tackled, if not it is a fumble ground or no ground. Cowboys got cheated because of lack of consistency of the Rules.

  100. To all the Dallas fans whining about the catch by Cobb. That ball did not hit the ground. Cobb’s hand was under the ball. You can clearly see this if you look at the angle from in front of Cobb. His hands are under the ball.

  101. Im over this already… when people stumble, do they take a couple of steps to try to recover but still fall anyway… yes! does a man running at full speed jumping up in the air while still floating in the same direction try to get his feet down while still falling? Yes. Dez first caught the ball in his hands, then the ball was hit loose by shields. The ball juggles to Dez’s shoulder, then his arm, his still trying to get control of the ball as it hits the ground, It then pops up into the air where Dez finally secures it in his hands out of bounds. If it was a good catch, it would have stayed in his hands the first time not moving all over the place.

    But lets get real cowboy fans… Why is no one complaining about the first PI of the game? The boys were stopped, Romo sends a hail mary to the end zone that is so far over teh receivers head that its an uncatchable ball. the receivers feet hit Williams and a BS PI flag is thrown. The ball is placed at the one and the boys score their first gimmie TD! If that BS call did not go the cowboys way, this call wouldn’t even be a conversation.

    Not to mention that your star receiver ran out onto the field with no helmet to complain about the call for the second week in a row!!

    Then the fact that Rodgers went right back to work carving your team up to put us in field goal range to take a knee… you know the 3 points the packers would have needed to win the game if you had scored on that play.

    It was a good game, the cowboys got some calls and got some against them… the Dez call was accurate and you lost.

  102. Long time Cowboy fan (can you say, Eddie LeBaron?) … and the ‘Boys didn’t lose this game because of this one call. The defense should have been all over Rogers … the dude could barely move, much less run. But Rogers tore them apart, time after time. And Dallas fumble, and not recovering the GB fumble were key events. Yea, I don’t like the rule either, but don’ think for one minute that it was THE reason the Cowboys lost. Wait til next year? 😛

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