Blandino stands by overturning Dez Bryant catch


NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino says he and referee Gene Steratore made the right call when they overturned an apparent Dez Bryant catch on Sunday.

Blandino said the rules in the NFL are clear about players going to the ground as they make a catch, and the rules were properly applied on Sunday.

“Is Bryant going to the ground to make the catch?” Blandino said on PFT Live. “It’s clear. He’s stumbling. . . . Then we have to look to see, does the ball touch the ground? Which it clearly did, and it came loose after it touched the ground. . . . The last part which was discussed is did he make a football move? . . . Looking at it, he didn’t.”

Blandino said Bryant lunging forward toward the goal line is not the kind of overt act a player needs to make in order to be seen as making a “football move.”

“There’s judgment involved in all of these plays,” Blandino said. “We felt it was indisputable that’s not what Bryant did. He was just trying to gain control of it.”

Blandino did acknowledge one mistake that was made in conjunction with the play: Time should have been added to the clock after the replay review.

“There should have been time back on the clock because by rule when the pass is incomplete it stops the clock and some time did go off the clock before coach McCarthy challenged it,” Blandino said.

Although Blandino thinks it’s possible that the NFL will change its rules with respect to what constitutes a catch, he said the league worries about “unintended consequences” to reacting to one specific play. And so the NFL’s complex rules about catching a football may not be changing any time soon.

242 responses to “Blandino stands by overturning Dez Bryant catch

  1. He’s an incompetent liar but at least he’s consistent. If Dez takes those 3 steps and the 4th is out of bounds and he hands the ball to the offical, it’s a catch. If the ball touches the pylon, it’s a catch. The rule may have been applied correctly but this clown is lying about the catch. He took 3 steps had his knee, thigh and elbow down.

    I’m not making excuses, Dallas couldn’t stop the Packers on 3rd and long and they deserved to lose but this garbage explanation is unacceptable.

  2. These are the same refs who let the Cobb catch before the half “stand” because they felt there was not 100% video evidence to overturn it (only 99% of people could see the ball hit the ground), but now they are confident that 100% of people don’t see what Dez did as a “football move”. Very credible sources.

  3. A “football move”? Would beating your wife/girlfriend, brandishing an illegal handgun, driving drunk or murdering people be considered a “football move”? NFL rules have gotten to be a joke leaving calls up to the officials. It sure makes fixing games so much easier though.

  4. Lunging for the end zone isn’t a football move? Should he have cartwheeled, done backflips or something?? The play should have been dead where his right elbow touched and first down on the inside of the one yard line. Blandino is in full damage control.

  5. Had two feet down and clear possession before diving for enzone (a clear “football move”) and that’s when the ball wiggled. Terrible call… Obviously a “make-up call” for what the League deemed a bad call the week before. That’s painful as an NFL fan.

  6. By rule its not a catch. Stupid rule, but thats the NFL today. Too many stupid rules that the ref’s can’t keep up with them all. When in doubt they throw a flag.

  7. Trying to advance the ball to the end zone is not a football move? He was not in the act of catching the ball, he had already caught the ball. Terrible call

  8. Wish they would stop calling it a catch. It was not a catch. The ball hit the ground when he rolled and could not display possession before hand… thus not a catch… IDK why this is even a debate.

  9. He clearly caught the ball and had control as he took two steps. The lunge for the goal line was what resulted in the ball coming loose, but he regained control of it. I still have not heard any official word on whether the ball broke the plane of the goal line after the lunge. It is a very dumb rule and needs to be changed. The NFL managed just fine with this for all the years prior to this dumb interpretation. Maybe we should return to that.

  10. There are unreasonable fans that you can never have a dialogue with because they are unreasonable. Usually they hate the Patriots, which is how you can identify them. Anyway, this is a stupid rule. Just like the Tuck rule was a stupid rule. Unreasonable fans actually think that the tuck rule was created just to help out the Pats, as if it had never been called prior to that. Reasonable fans saw it as the correct application of a stupid rule. Eventually the rule was changed. This is just another example of the correct application of a stupid rule

  11. As a Lions fan, I might have thrown in the white flag after last week’s debacle. However, after this, I think I’m picking the white flag back up!

  12. All I know is your taking away a Fantastic catch from one of the best player’s in the game at a crucial point in the game. At the end of the day your just taking away the excitement of the game. We wait all game long for play’s like that and then you just take it away? Makes no sense to me. If this continues I will have to start watching something else. Regardless of ridiculous rule that was a catch. If the ref comes back and say’s a football move was made and the ruling on the field stands no one would have said anything!! Bottom line Rule stinks and needs to be changed. #disgruntledfan

  13. two handed catch, move the ball to one hand, take 2 steps, turn 90 degrees take a third step to lunge for the endzone….. yeah…. clearly no football moves……..

    Would’ve been easier to stomach had it been ruled incomplete on the field. However, being ruled a catch on the field…. having a hard time with conclusive that he didn’t make a football move……..

    Good game packers. Obviously wanted it more…

  14. I need the definition of a football move. It was pretty clear to me that he was trying to get the ball into the end zone after catching it and having two feet down. What is a “football move”?

  15. What’s wrong with this picture? It’s the most exciting time of the year in the NFL and instead of hearing about all the great players in the league and their awesome play on the fiel, I’m flooded with every article and tweet with “Dean Blandino” This is getting borderline ridiculous. Seems like Blandino is a headline hound.

  16. It is an imperfect rule – but they should not change it as it would open a Pandora’s box of interpretations as to what constitutes a catch.

    It was not karma. It was not a make-up call. It was the correct call.

  17. I’m an Eagles fan and I hate the Cowboys and Dez Bryant with a passion but even I was shocked that it wasn’t ruled a catch. If that was an Eagles receiver getting a call like that I would be furious.

  18. packfanaj12 says:

    Wish they would stop calling it a catch. It was not a catch. The ball hit the ground when he rolled

    The play should have been dead, first down on the one before his left hand and ball hit the ground. It was a bad reversal.

  19. Blandino’s analysis of the “football move” question is clearly flawed. Everyone on social media immediately indicated that he was stretching his arm out for the goal line. At the very least, this general consensus demonstrates disputable visual evidence that should not be overturned on review.

  20. I grew up in the 1970’s… and the NFL was so much better then it isn’t even funny. The teams had more personality, players mostly spent their careers with the same team, owners stayed where they belonged; in the owner’s suite, and officials realized that no one, and I mean no one, came to see them throw flags and interrupt the pace of play ad nauseam or nitpick a great, athletic play to the point that they talk themselves into believing that a catch somehow really isn’t a catch. What a clown show. Nice job Goodell and the rules committee. Way to F up the greatest sport in the world.

  21. sippindasyzurp says:
    Jan 12, 2015 12:45 PM
    Can we just not say that if you catch it with two feet down it is instantly a catch and if you lose it going to the ground it is a fumble. There I fixed it.

    Your fix does not work, What if somone cathes it ,gets two feet down, but then has the ball immediately knocked loose by a defender, Thals not a fumble, it;s an incomplete pass. That’s why the foorball move piece has to figure in first.

  22. Bad call, just like the one against Calvin Johnson. In both cases, the receiver clearly had possession of the ball. With Dez, the football move was him trying to reach the ball into the end zone. The refs explanation is lame. It is nothing more than CYA, but anyone who is objective and who watches the replay knows this was a catch. Dez had total control of the ball. It is a shame that this rule was not fixed to prevent this. There is no excuse.

  23. They have got to adjust this rule. It is completely absurd that a player who catches a pass (and was not “bobbling” it- I don’t where anyone gets that idea) takes three full steps, falls to the ground, has both his knee and his elbow on the ground, and reaches for the end zone doesn’t get credit for the catch.

    No one is saying (which I have heard being claimed) that the only way to fix it is to go back to the “two feet on the ground with the ball” rule which caused too many incomplete passes to be ruled fumbles. All I am saying once a player takes multiple steps and has his knees and elbows on the ground, the play is over.

    And could we please stop with this “common football move” nonsense. That’s got be the most convoluted line of thinking ever.

  24. Out you go Cowboys … too funny … maybe Dr. Jerrah can lay his healing hands on it and turn it into a catch.

  25. So Where was the ball (conclusively) shown to hit the ground?

    1) Play call on the field = catch

    2) To overturn, the evidence (replay) needs to show something conclusive to the contrary.

    I’ve looked at the whole clip frame-by-frame… no frame can you see the ball make contact with the ground. Without proof that the ball hit the ground, you can only guess or infer that the ball hit the ground. Inference and guessing are not conclusive. Without that evidence, you cannot even apply the stupid rule….or overturn the call on the field.

  26. This is ridiculous. He got two feet down with both hands on the ball, then took a third step. Just change the rule so that common sense prevails. What unintended consequence could there possibly be that would be worse than what happens every single time this rule is applied?

  27. There is no reason for the game officials to review plays. It should all be done in New York.

    The replay results could then be sent over a smart device with all directions for the play. I know yesterday they forgot to reset the clock. That is not only on the referee but on the replay team. They should have buzzed down and corrected it before the next play.

    The NFL should invest in 14 stationary HD cameras for every venue. One above the goal line and one looking in from both sides. One looking in from both sides on the endline (back of endzone). One looking both directions on each sideline. This would be in addition to all the TV cameras.

    The NFL needs to do a better job spotting the ball. Several times this weekend they were well over a yard off. They have gotten into the habit of giving extra yardage especially around the line to gain.

    By the rules, this was not a catch. I think the rule needs to be addressed. There are far too many missed calls. One thing is for sure though, we know why Mike Carey is a TV analysis and not a referee. He is about 50/50 on reviews.

  28. It was ruled a catch on the field.

    Was there indisputable video evidence that it was not a catch? No.

    Therefore you default to the rule on the field. Blandino is using terms like “judgement” and “we felt”. If it is not clear and you have to resort to “judgement” and/or “feelings” then you do not have enough to OVERTURN.

  29. If want to know why the officiating stinks overall look no further than the top. Blandino is a joke with a title. By his own words he contridicts the very reasons he justified Cobb’s catch on 3rd down in the first quarter….

  30. Of course all the cry baby Cowturd fans say that the rule should be changed…NOW! After the fact that it happened to you. So hypocritical -you fans and your team and especially your owner thinks its your right for calls to go your way. You were so happy to take those calls (PLURAL) and move on and make it seem liek you won the Super Bowl but now that a RULE is called against you, Oh my Goodness, the refs and everyone are against the Cowboys! Get a grip, go home and read up on the rulebook.

    At least all is not lost Cowboy fans, you can watch the College National Championship in your home!

  31. Since lunging for the goal line is not a “football move”, Damage Control Blandino should post a list of NFL approved ones.

  32. I have a great idea, make a list of what’s considered a “football move,” then nobody has to insert their opinion.

    Personally, I think that lunging toward the end zone and extending the ball is a football move. Others may not. Why have the gray area? Why not just write down, including but not limited to, guidelines?

    Read the explanation, “He was just trying to gain control of it.” I have a few issues with this.

    1. The ball wasn’t moving, so I’m not sure how he was trying to “gain control.” IMO, he had control.

    2. Who here has ever seen a receiver try to gain control of a catch by overtly extending the ball away from their body? I sure haven’t. Again, IMO, he had control and was trying to extend the ball for more yards.

    It’s pretty tough to reach, with the ball in your hand, when you don’t have control.

    Anybody who disagrees, please explain which part of this you disagree with.

    Not a Cowboys fan at all. It’s just disheartening to watch a player make a great play in a crucial moment, then watch the refs take it away. That’s why I watch the NFL, because I love watching the refs make calls… /sarcasm

  33. Ever notice how the retired refs working for the networks are always calling the fouls differently than the refs on the field?

  34. Anyone have a link to a video or picture of the play that clearly provides incontrovertible evidence that the ball actually hit the ground? Every view I’ve seen shows the ball move, but it looks like his hand could be under it. That’s pretty important being that the call on the field was “catch”.

  35. What difference does it make if he made a football move?

    The whole point of the Calvin Johnson Rule is that if you’re going to the ground while making a catch, you have to maintain possession when you hit the ground.

    It doesn’t matter if you make a football move while going to the ground. If you’re going to the ground as part of the process of the catch, you must maintain possession when you hit the turf.

  36. The rule should remain in place. If a receiver catches the ball and gets hit by another player and the ball comes loose and touches the ground, it isn’t a catch. The same should be true when a player catches the ball, makes contact with the ground, and the ball comes loose and makes contact with the ground.

    He didn’t make a second move because he never gained control of the ball. It was loose as he was falling to and sliding on the ground. No catch.

    Last week, Dallas wanted to focus on how competitive the Lions game was instead of the refs. This week, they want to focus on the refs instead of how great the Green Bay game was. I smell hypocrisy.

  37. Blandino needs to be fired.

    Not because of the whole Dez non-catch

    Not because of the Lions-Cowboys Refs

    Not because of the Cowboys Party Bus

    But because he reeks of incompetence and has never been an official at any level.

  38. It’s obvious Bryant was taking a lunge at the endzone. You can see his back arch in an attempt to keep his upper body from contacting the ground prior to breaking the plane of the goal line. He came up short, but that was an obvious football move.
    Too much inconsistency between rules. In the incidence the ground can cause an incompletion but can’t cause a fumble by a ball carrier???
    In other situations when your knee is down by contact the play is dead (Bryant’s knee was down prior to the ball coming loose). again not in this case.
    I’m not a Dallas fan but can sympathize with those who are.

  39. Wait…..did Dallas fans really think because they avoided another 8-8 season that it wouldn’t end in the playoffs anyway?

    That’s adorable.

    Get a new GM, HC and QB and then lets talk.

  40. Would’ve lost any way… Does anyone doubt that with four minutes left to play that Aaron Rodgers doesn’t drive the Packers down the field and win the game? He was in complete control of the Cowboys in the second half.

  41. Ima cowboy hater and I don’t know how that was not a football move. Perhaps there is too much of a gap between what officials perceive as a football move to what these super athletes can actually do. To the average Joe official, Bryant may look like he is stumbling and out of control; to Bryant, he is traveling at an extraordinary speed, times a leap to catch the ball over the defender, catches it with two hands, makes a move mid-air to prepare for the impact with the ground, lands on his feet, takes three steps and reaches for the endzone. That play has gone from super athletic, graceful, Lynn Swan-esque, to a side-note due to a rule born of High Def and instant replay.

  42. Again, the ball initially hit the ground when Bryant touched down, per Blandino noting:

    “… came loose after it touched the ground.”

    Incompletion regardless of the arcane rule/”process”

  43. fontesmustgo says:

    The whole point of the Calvin Johnson Rule is that if you’re going to the ground while making a catch, you have to maintain possession when you hit the ground.

    The call on Calvin Johnson was a bad call. Even he still doesn’t understand it. It is amusing to see all the Lions fans who were complaining about that sing a different tune when it happens to Dez.

  44. Blandino is full of it. There is no problem with the rule. The problem is the idiot officials aren’t using any sense at all when ruling. The reason for the rule in regards to “completing the catch” was instated for bang bang plays where possession is in question as well as catches while players are going to the ground. Dez clearly caught and possessed the ball. There was no bobble. He landed with two feet and took a lunging step toward the goal line. At that point he reached for the goal line and the ground caused a fumble as he landed. Stop living by the letter of the law and call the game by the spirit of the law. It was clear to see he did catch the ball, so call it that way. The same thing happened on the muffed punt in the Colts game and the referee used his brain and property concluded that Cribbs had indeed caught and possessed the ball, even though he did not make a “football move”.

  45. Packers had 2 bs Pass interference calls on them, one led directly to a TD. 15 yard BS personal foul on Lang took it from a 3rd and 1 to a 3rd and 16, cost the Packers 4 points. Even if Bryant is given the TD, the Packers had 4 and a half minutes to kick a game winning FG. They marched down field, and the Cowboys didn’t stop them, so the Packers would’ve won anyway. Rodgers was killing it in the second half, the Cowboys could only watch helplessly, and hopefully get some autographs after the game.

  46. Would it have been ruled an actual catch if the play happened in the Lions and Cowboys game?

    I dunno. But I do agree that the only thing the league has remained consistent on is its inconsistency.

    I also agree with a lot that while it is the right call, it was made based on a bad rule.

    Just my thoughts though….

    What exactly constitutes a “football” and a “non-football” move? If a player is participating in a game of football, wouldn’t it remain to reason that every action he does, all in the context of a play, be considered a football move? If it’s not a football move, then what (a ballet? a golf?, etc.).

  47. Or how about the catch they gave GB that clearly touched the ground first?

    2 horrible calls and both were reviewed!

    What a joke the NFL is becoming.

  48. jchipwood says: Jan 12, 2015 12:38 PM

    There’s only one team that it would had been ruled a catch…..broncos

  49. It is amusing to see all the Lions fans who were complaining about that sing a different tune when it happens to Dez.

    I think the call on CJ was wrong because the way I see it, he placed the ball on the ground. He didn’t lose control. But if he had lost control rather than voluntarily giving it up, the call would be correct.

  50. Not even a close call

    The ball came lose when he hit the ground no catch

    this is not a fumble which the ground cannot cause…
    the ball cannot come lose upon hitting the gorund it did case closed are people this slow
    read the rule book
    you may not like the rule but its the rule

  51. Having watched it several times, I see a catch, two steps, then a fall which results the ball hitting the ground and popping free. I didn’t have a dog in the fight but after reading the comments I would have guessed Bryant caught it at the 30 and high stepped to the 5 and did a cartwheel into the endzone. Just shows difference of opinion.

  52. ” the league worries about “unintended consequences” to reacting to one specific play”

    You mean like when the league robbed the Lions of a playoff chance by calling a Calvin Johnson catch incomplete, then instead of admitting the awful call, changed the rules completely for what counts as a catch? Which has caused nothing but problems for years now

    Those kinds of unintended consequences?

  53. Not buying this BS explanation. Dez was clearly moving towards the end zone after he made that catch. To me, that constitutes a ‘football move’. NFL has egg on its face again. Even if he just fell down, the ball never hit the ground, it just moved in his arm. I still don’t understand how that wouldn’t even be ruled a catch.

  54. I agree he had possession and was lunging for the goal line. But the rule is broader than that, and pretty specific about what needs to happen when you are falling to the ground. It was the job of Dez Bryant and his coaches to know what the rule says and how to steer clear of it, and instead he blew the catch by not just curling up at the 1. The Cowboys have had low football IQ for years (usually demonstrated by Romo) and the coaches have only themselves to blame here.

  55. Aside from just this play, Dean Blandino is one huge reason why the NFL’s image is so tarnished right now. You have incompetent officials all over the league making blatantly horrible calls. And instead of holding those officials accountable, Blandino unabashedly lies to the football world to cover for the incompetent refs. Just stop.

    I wish we could poll football fans to get an approval rating on Blandino similar to politicians. His would be pretty close to zero.

  56. There’s no video of the ball hitting the ground? There’s a shot from the sideline that clearly shows Dez going down and the ball moving out of his hand as it hits the ground. He then rolls over, the ball pops up in the air and he grabs it again. There is no debate that the ball hit the ground. However, IMO, he already had possession and the play should have been over when he went down. By the rules though, he did not have possession. It’s pretty clear the rule was applied properly….it’s just a terrible rule.

  57. Blandino said Bryant lunging forward toward the goal line is not the kind of overt act a player needs to make in order to be seen as making a “football move.”

    Isn’t that the point of football to get the ball over the goal line?

  58. I agree with @tmb333 on the ball spots, especially on earlier downs. If it’s 1st or 2nd and 10, and the team gets 9, it seems like there’s a lot of “well, that close enough, I’ll just mark it right at the first down line”.

    As a Packer fan, they have been burned by the catch rule as well. Greg Jennings had one a couple years back where he was fully upright, 100% clean possession, had two feet down (long strides), and then was tackled/stripped as after his 3rd foot hit the ground. No TD on the field or after review.

    It would be interesting to hear the history of how this rule came into play. I thought it was to make it easier for the refs on sideline and backline catches where the guy is just barely in bounds. I think in those cases it makes sense, applying it in the rest of the field gets a bit confusing, and at times it seem to run counter to logic in the main field of play.

  59. Catch or no catch, Dallas was going to lose short of leaving no time left on the clock. Lets say that it was ruled a catch and Dallas scored on the next play. The Packers would have had about 3:25 minutes to move into chip shot field goal range, which they did in short order once taking over with 4:06 to go, the last 2:00 minutes were just a formality as the game was over after the Adams catch and run that put them in range. Furthermore, falling to the ground is not a football move.

  60. The rule was enforced as written, and I don’t think anyone questions that part of this. I think the real question is whether or not this should be the rule.

    To leave the rule the way it is, if Bryant had caught this pass and stumbled, and it had taken him five steps to fall down instead of two, the pass would (as the rule is written) still be incomplete.

    There needs to be a more precise line of demarcation for this rule that distinguishes between receivers who have tapped their feet on the sidelines and are falling out of bounds, and those who are in the field of play running and trying to stay on their feet and fall down anyway after two or more steps.

  61. It’s hard to believe that ANYONE would question whether or not it’s a catch after replays CLEARLY show he had possession and then took 3 steps. Whatever happens afterwards is a mute point. The man caught the ball.

  62. Cobbs catch did not clearly touch the ground. He had his right hand between the ball and the ground brought it up and completed the process by maintaing control.

  63. It was a bad call. He caught the ball and clearly had possession of it. He took three steps, albeit they were quick steps. He went to the ground and his knee was on the ground. At that point, he still had clear possession of the ball. Only then did he, in what appears to be a very purposeful manner, extend his arms away from his body as players often do to stretch for the end zone. By any definition, that is a “football move.” It is at that point when the ball came lose for the first time. The play was called correctly on the field and there is no way that there was indisputable evidence that the extension of his arms was not a “football move.” I have no love for the Cowboys and wanted Green Bay to win the game, but that was a bad call.

  64. I don’t care for either team, wish they both could have lost.. How would Dallas fans view this if it was ruled catch and fumble recovered by GB? Challenge upholds call and fans would be screaming it should have been called incomplete.

    Call was consistent with most calls in recent years. I thought he caught it, but in following with the way the rule is written, it was correct call.

  65. Dez didn’t do anything that resembled a “football move.” But what if he had? A few years ago, the league told us the “football move” no longer played a role in determining whether a catch had been made? Did they change their minds? Why is Blandino even addressing the issue of a football move if it’s not supposed to play into the ref’s decisionmaking. This is just another example of how overcomplicated the rules have become.

  66. It is no wonder this is such a mess. Have you heard Mike Carey guessing as to whether a call will stand or be overturned on CBS? He is right about 10% of the time…this is a former referee!! After Cribbs was down by contact yesterday, he explained why the call would stand. Then when it was overturned he had to be cut off by Phil Simms as he fumbled around trying to explain why he was right.

  67. Can the NFL just release the photo showing the ball on the ground? I know it is there, but I don’t want to have to do all of the work for them.

  68. Some of you guys are still missing the key point. Because he was falling he has to maintain control of the ball all the way through. The steps he took were while stumbling. He has to demonstrate control of the ball, gather himself and then make a “football move”. Instead he tried to put the cart before the horse and score a touchdown before securing the ball and demonstrating that control ALL THE WAY TO THE GROUND. Having said that, I don’t like the rule but it was correctly applied in this case.

  69. The only thing about this play that made it seem controversial was the time and place of the play, “4th down in the Divisional Playoff Game near the goal line”. If this play was made in the 1st quarter of an opening game at midfield on 1st down it’s the absolutely right call and no questions are asked. I really don’t see any controversy. I thought it was an easy review to overturn. Bryant obviously never controlled the ball as he fell to the ground, thus it was an incomplete pass. Case closed. Not difficult at all. That’s the rule plain and simple!

  70. Can we just go back to the day that if it touches the ground at all, its incomplete?

    Just seems so much more simple that way

  71. I think Blandino should not be the guy on the phone helping to make the call. There is no more oversight since the guy responsible for oversight is now complicit in the original review decision. It just looks bad. How bad would it look if it were Goodell on the phone with the official on the field? I don’t like the corporate involvement but if they want to keep doing it they should find somebody else or appoint somebody over Blandino (responsible for oversight) if Blandino must be the guy on the phone helping to massage the call on the field.

  72. I don’t understand why this is even a controversy. Dez went up and grabbed the ball and Sam Shields knocked it away from him, Dez then bobbles it between two hands and appears to regain control as he goes to the ground.. except the ball clearly moves when he hits the ground demonstrating clearly that he did not have control of it. Dez NEVER has possesion of this ball, and this pass is incomplete. No sensible rule change would make this play a catch.

  73. Even if the call was incorrect which it wasn’t do the people saying it cost the Boys the game realize that the Packers had the ball on the 22 yard line with 1:45 remaining. A field goal would have given the Packers a win.

  74. I think some of you need to look at the replay again.

    1) Bryant leaps up and catches the ball at the 6 yard line.
    2) His left foot (first one down) comes down just outside of the 5 yard line.
    3) His right foot comes down between the 3 and 4.
    4) This is one step
    5) his left foot down close to the three
    6) two steps but now he is falling down to the ground.
    7) He lands half yard short of the end zone. Shields appears to be touch him (legs). At best Dez should be down here.
    8) His left arm (the one with the ball in it) is clearly bent at the elbow. He isn’t reaching for anything.

    The debate should really be if the ball hit the ground. I do not see a football move as he doesn’t clearly reach, and taking two steps when you are running and leaping would easily be considered just a part of the same process. The ball point probably is touching the ground when its pinned between his helmet and the hand but you cannot tell for sure. So i would rule it a catch since that was the call on the field.

    The real travesty i feel is this will overshadow a great game and that i think the Packers would have won anyway. They would have only needed a field goal and even just running out the clock they got in range for a 40 yarder but we’ll never know.

  75. I wish that when something like this happens, a play making it clear that a rule needs to be changed, that fans could set aside their chidish hate for other teams and just admit that it was a bad call based on a terrible rule. I mean seriously, what objective person could watch that play and think that it wasn’t a catch?

    I get it. Trash talking is fun, lord knows I love it, but when something affects the integrity of the game, it’d be wise to accept reality, remove the logos and be united.

  76. Not sure what part of “the steps don’t matter” posters don’t understand. The ground caused it to come out of his hands. Incomplete pass….

    Move on….

  77. Every year teams agree on what the rules will be. The officials correctly enforced the agreed upon rule. If Dez Bryant would have simply held on to the football this wouldn’t have happened, but he didn’t. Let’s move on and start talking about the conference championships.

  78. I don’t agree with anyone who thinks Bryant made a “second football move” or whatever the term is, he attempted to catch the ball while in stride — his falling toward the endzone did not look like an intentional movement but just how the momentum of his body fell as he attempted to secure the ball. When he hit the ground the ball came out, simple as that. Maybe a stupid rule, but called correctly.

  79. The ref making the call was standing 10 feet from the play, staring at it, with no obstructed view whatsoever.

    The fact of the matter is that there is not indisputable visual evidence to overturn.
    – Where those three steps football moves?
    – Was he in the process of reaching for the end zone?
    – Did he actually have possession prior to hitting the ground?

    It was a tough play to call. But the call made by the official with an ideal view of the play should have stood.

    Bring on a blitzing Kam Chancellor and an immobile Aaron Rodgers. Should be an interesting afternoon for him.

  80. Not sure what part of “the steps don’t matter” posters don’t understand. The ground caused it to come out of his hands. Incomplete pass….

    Because at that point he had the ball secured and took 3 steps and then he lunges out to try to get the ball across the goal line. In the process of that, he is now a runner, not a WR because he possessed the ball already with the 3 steps.

    On top of that, his shin is on the ground BEFORE the ball hits the ground as he reaches out.

    It’s the wrong call and the fact that DB is saying “he doesn’t make a football move'” is just absurd.

  81. Dez shouldn’t have been lunging for the end zone—he should have been making sure he could control the ball when he hit the ground. Anyone who has watched much football since the Calvin Johnson play has heard an announcer say “did he maintain control through the process of going to the ground?” Dez didn’t.

  82. Did Blandino explain why Dez Bryant – unlike any other player – can remove his helmet, charge the field and argue with refs without getting a 15-yd unsportsmanlike conduct penalty? Two playoff games in a row, the Cowboys benefited from this special “Dez Bryant Rule”.

  83. I think it’s funny that before this game the prevailing conspiracy theory here in the comments was Dean Blandino was in cahoots with Jerry to hand the game to the Cowboys. Now apparently Dean was in cahoots to make the Cowboys lose. Things move fast in wacko land.

  84. The NFL needs to fire this joke leading the officiating crew. The call was a catch and there has to be indisputable evidence to overturn. Obviously everybody on this website has a view both ways it clearly is a subjective decision since there is no clear evidence to overturn it. What does dopey do……he wimps out and overturns it. Seriously, this guy needs to be fired for incompetence as the NFL as a whole is sick of the officiating game to game. I have never seen such a horrible officiating year than this one and Goodell needs to get off his tail and start listening to the fans that pay his salary.

  85. Okay the Dez was not a catch now please explain how the Cobb catch stood up. Everybody and their dog saw the ball hit the ground.

  86. These guys are in hunker-down mode and there’s no way they’re going to admit they screwed the call up. 3 steps and a reach for the endzone = “a move common to the game”

  87. I’m and Eagles fan and hate the Cowboys but I thought it for sure the call would be upheld as a catch….BUT….

    1) The Cowboys should have never been there in the first place, Detroit should have.

    2) Aaron Rodgers was going to win that game anyway….Dallas had no answer for him in the 2nd half.

  88. I don’t think there was enough evidence to overturn the call made on the field but the irony of Dallas/Dez losing on the Calvin Johnson rule was still a satisfying finish for me.

    I’d have a stronger opinion on this play if Dallas didn’t cover the spread I’m sure but they did and I can enjoy the karma.

  89. PFT should take a poll – Do you think Dez Bryant had a valid catch?

    I personally thought he caught it and the play was over when his knee was down. The ball didn’t come out until after his torso was touching.

    Whatevs, it isn’t like this is the first time the NFL made it up as they went along…

  90. Two feet down with control should be a catch. If a DB knocks it loose almost instantly before the WR makes this dopey “football move”, then GOOD! It wouldn’t kill this over-legislated sport to restore some power back to the defense, would it?

  91. raideralex99 says:
    Jan 12, 2015 2:01 PM
    Okay the Dez was not a catch now please explain how the Cobb catch stood up. Everybody and their dog saw the ball hit the ground.


    The ball can touch the ground as long as it doesn’t move at th p oint of impact.

  92. Dez hit the ground and the ball came loose. Not a catch. Look at it again. Then look at the Calvin Johnson non-catch. Calvin caught the ball had full control went the the ground, on his butt, and let the ball go in the process of standing up. Ruled not a catch because he did not maintain procession through the act of going to the ground.

  93. Huge Vike fan, so no dog in this race, but where do you guys keep getting he “took 3 steps” from? Are you counting the 2 steps before he caught the ball? Because no way did he take 3 steps after catching the ball. He caught the ball and then fell forward toward the end zone. I hate the packers as much as the next guy, but let’s be real here. 3 steps… Child, please.

  94. It’s the same deal as it was last week. The Lions had several chances to put the Cowboys away and didn’t. The Cowboys had plenty of chances to put the Pack away but didn’t. If you leave the game close enough to get decided on a bad call it will. Put that game out of reach and a lame call can’t beat you.

  95. How much more are we going to do to make it easier for the offenses? Let them dribble the ball like in basketball? Let it hop in to the receivers hands? That has always been an incomplete pass. It hit the ground and bounced out of his hands. Why all the crying over what has been an incomplete pass since the beginnings of the game?

  96. There is only one logical reason this rule exists. On a play like this, the call can be interpreted anyway you want. This rule only exists to fix a game.

  97. I’m just glad Seattle is not having to account for stopping the Dallas run and passing game!

    As to the catch, it looked like Dez made a move towards the goal line attempting to score after securing the ball. That was an athletic play on Dez’ part.

    Congrats to Dallas for a great year that no one could have anticipated!

  98. While I agree with the call, this isn’t the story of what was a really good game. As a Dallas fan, I admit we lost it ourselves. Dez reached for the pylon and came up short, causing the ball to move. And most of us realistic fans know this isn’t about making it right, or conspiracies, it was a call that went our way, that got reversed because we didn’t snap the ball before the challenge.

    But we have to stop the madness. I don’t care what a guy watching a Video thinks about the call. He isn’t impartial, and caters to whinny fans. What Blandino and the NFL rules commission should do is make rules that are easy to read. Like in this instance, take the provision out that dictates when a receiver becomes a runner, or make it clear. 3 wobbly steps while falling leaves to much room for subjection.

    Again, we lost this game because we only scored 7 points in the second half. That isn’t winning football, plus we could stop Rodgers. He just picked us apart. Now let’s gear up for next year, because the East won’t be easy next year. The Giants will be good, and Philly might put something together.

  99. Yes Dez was reaching and yes that should be a football move. My question to anyone surprised by the reversal in favor of Green Bay: watched a game at Lambeau lately?

  100. The only “football move” Bryant made was falling to the ground. I don’t care how many steps he took or what he did with his arm, it was all within the act of falling to the ground. If he wasn’t falling to the ground he could have just walked into the endzone. There’s no need to lunge or reach for the end zone if he wasn’t already going to the ground (short of the endzone) while trying to complete the catch.

    Since he was going to the ground throughout the entire catch he needs to meet the criteria defined by the rules for it to be a completion. He didn’t, so not a catch as defined by the rules. End of story.

  101. Even though I’m a Packer fan, I thought it was a catch when I saw it live and I thought Coach McCarthy was insane for challenging it. After the explanation from Mike Pereira on Fox, I was brought over into the “bad rule, but correct interpretation” camp. But the more I look at it now, the more I think it was a catch even under this crappy rule. Bryant was trying to reach for the end zone. That’s a football move, in my opinion.

  102. Having seen many many Packers games (regular season and playoffs) at Lambeau being in an NFC North town that currently does not have a Coach or formidable QB, if thats Rodgers or Favre Throwing to Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Sterling Sharpe, Antonio Freeman, Donald Driver, etc etc that call stands on field and Packers Benefit, not saying their is any conspiracy theory for or against Dallas yesterday, that call should have stood as called on the field at that junction of the game. As many other comments above said, NFL has to just get these right, Packers will feel the Boom next week so they got theirs coming. My sympathy is with Dallas this morning. Id rather have the Old BCS computer decide these calls than Dean Blandino.

  103. First, it was a really bad call by Dallas coaches.

    You’ve got 4 minutes left, 4th and 2.

    You want a first, not a TD in that instance.

    Rodgers was slicing and dicing Dallas’ defense the entire second half.

    Would have been much smarter to run, get the first and keep grinding the clock.

    But it wasn’t a catch.

    Dallas didn’t get the shaft like Detroit did.

  104. No comment on the 2nd quarter, reviewed and “upheld” catch by Cobb??? Because, that was NOT A CATCH by the same rubrik you are using to say the Dez pass is not a catch. No comment?? Why is Blandino ignoring this blatent screw up, where the refs got a SECOND LOOK at it and STILL screwed it up. Anyone who would debate the fault in that call is either (a) a cowboy hater or (b) a moron.

  105. I understand the point of the rule. To make things simpler for the refs and not make judgment calls. If the ball comes out after he hits the ground, no catch. He could jump in the air and do three flips but if the ball hits the ground and moves its no catch. He did not take three steps, he stumbled and lunged. If a player is going to the ground he has to remain in control of the ball all the way to the ground. He was going to the ground even if no defender was there. Great effort on a almost catch.

  106. skpetersen says:
    Jan 12, 2015 2:24 PM
    Even though I’m a Packer fan, I thought it was a catch when I saw it live and I thought Coach McCarthy was insane for challenging it. After the explanation from Mike Pereira on Fox, I was brought over into the “bad rule, but correct interpretation” camp. But the more I look at it now, the more I think it was a catch even under this crappy rule. Bryant was trying to reach for the end zone. That’s a football move, in my opinion.
    I’m a Pack fan too, but even seeing the replay in real time I can see the ball move when he hits the ground. Jordy Nelson had a catch taken away under the same circumstance earlier in the season. It was a no catch according to the rule, but I do think the rule has to change.

  107. “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”

    Of course he’s going to stick-up for his guys. I just wonder what he (and the media) would be saying if replacement officials had made the same call?…

  108. Cowboys did not lose that game on that play. How about the fumble, blocked kick, double sack, throwing it on 3 and 1 when the Packers clearly could not stop Murray on 3rd down. Cowboys had a great season. Hate that there was controversy on that play but it is what it is.

    Had it been us the other way around I would be pissed to. Lets all move on.

  109. For those who don’t like the rules and don’t like the way the NFL is today then stop watching. There! Fixed! Go find a bunch of billionaires and start your own league. This league belongs to 32 entities. Period. If they want the rule changed, it will change. The only vote you have is with your remote.

  110. This is what happens when everything gets over analyzed instead of just going with the call by the official who made the call standing just a few feet away in excellent position.

    Dez clearly has control of the ball before he hit the ground. It was secure in his left arm/hand then when he fell to the ground, the ball popped loose but even then, he caught it and kept it from hitting the ground.

    Some pretty famous clutch receptions in the history of football wouldn’t hold up to the new rule. It’s silly.

  111. “There’s judgment involved in all of these plays,” Blandino said. “We felt it was indisputable that’s not what Bryant did. He was just trying to gain control of it.”

    Indisputable based on judgement? I’ve never heard of that when challenging a play. A play is indisputable if there is a clear answer to the challenge in question. How could they say it’s indisputable that he wasn’t reaching for the goal line when he clearly was making an effort?

    That would be like a team challenging that their player was down by contact before fumbling the football, but when they go under the hood, there’s no clear angle showing the runners knee being down. Yet they still reverse the call because in their “indisputable judgement”, the runners knee was most likely down.

    If there’s no cut and dry solution to the challenge, the play should stand. The NFL obviously needs a solution to this kind of play, badly.

  112. Heh. If you ‘who think it’s a catch’ clowns think it’s easy, why don’t you write the rule on what constitutes a catch then?

    This is easily not a catch by the current rules. If you don’t like the rule, well that’s a different story.

  113. Packer fan who was at game yesterday…and I have been a football official since 1994. The second that ball popped I told people sitting by us that it was going to be incomplete because of the quirky rule the NFL has….and wouldn’t you know.

    I hate the call. That is a catch at every level except for the NFL with their going to the ground and completing the catch verbiage. I thought the same thing when MegaTron got robbed awhile back too against Chicago.

    Stephen Jones (yes, Jerry’s son) is part of the NFL rules and competition committee that put this rule in place. I wonder what he thinks of his vote to revise the definition of a completed catch now.

  114. Not only was that clearly not a catch, the rule is literally perfect too. Earl Thomas had an interception overturned for the same reasons ONE DAY EARLIER. Let’s say the CB knocked the ball out of Dez’ hands when they went to the ground. It would obviously be ruled incomplete, right? Well, the morons bloviating about the rule being bad would have you believe that should count as a forced fumble

  115. Bye this is not something that we should just move on because the game is over
    There appears to be a systemic problem
    In two weeks of high visible games allied key with top tier officiating we have had two huge and problematic call

    It can happen to your team next, just ask Detroit or Dallas
    You have this weeks issue because the rule is to cut down on judge mental calls
    So we have a rule that depends on judging whether a football move was made?
    That’s failure
    To open to judgement as can be seen on all the posts

  116. So if you’re standing on the endzone, catch the ball, immediately spike the ball without moving your feet–it’s not a catch?

  117. Someone needs to show me this athletic ‘3 steps and a lunge for the endzone’. I see Dez stumbling and going down like a drunken frat boy trying not to spill his beer.

  118. I don’t understand why people have such a hard time understanding ‘process of the catch’. People are stuck on ‘possession and two feet down’ but that isn’t the whole rule. The rule holds players to a higher standard. Basically it means that after the play you should be able to purposefully let go of the ball, put it on the ground, spike it, or toss it to the ref. Otherwise your control is questionable. If you lose the ball before you can do something like that, then you didn’t complete the whole process of the catch. This isn’t hand grenades or horse shoes. Bryant lost control of the ball during the process, same as Calvin Johnson did a few years ago. I know most fans are baffled, but it makes perfect sense.

  119. He had control enough to pull it off his shoulder, into one hand tuck. And then extend the tuck with a step to change direction and one to push a leap to the endzone. Momentum would take you out of bounds. In his extension had he not have had control some rule called GRAVITY would have shown some slippage before Contact with the ground.

  120. As a fan, I’d rather see an athletic play determine the outcome of a scenario like this than an interpretation of a rule.

  121. I am a Dallas fan, and like most Dallas fans, I am over it. Great catch negated by a bad rule. Everyone dogs Dallas, but most of the fans I know are good, smart, humble people. Trust me, we have learned to be humble! Have you seen our record since the late 1990’s?? Dallas lost the game and we understand nothing will change that.

  122. Doesn’t the league at some point have to realize that Blandino has had to come out almost every single week to defend calls made by the refs? Something drastic needs to be done to correct the system that’s in place. Clearly it’s not working anymore, so something new needs to be implemented

  123. @10kmp: I could not agree more with what you said.

    Most of these playoffs games have been marred with drama of some sort, usually revolving around refs. The rulebook is too complicated, and many of the players are egomaniacs (celebrating ridiculously for simple things like a tackle for a loss even when losing badly).

    I miss the way football used to be before it got “huge.” Less drama, less “flair”, more hard-nosed, no-nonsense people involved in the sport.

  124. They have been calling this play the same way for years, if you are falling to he ground and the ball comes lose its not a catch.

    It has been called CONSTANTLY for years. Gravity is not a football move.

  125. The main fact is when the ball hit the ground it came loose. At that point, NOTHING else matters. Not a single thing. If the ball hadn’t come loose when it hit the ground, we aren’t talking about it. But since the ball came loose, that did it.

  126. lukedunphysscienceproject says:
    Jan 12, 2015 12:52 PM
    Where are all the people today that said the Cowboys always get the benefit of the calls because Blandino was seen on the Cowboys party bus?

    luke: the refs incorrectly gave the cowboys the catch. just like they incorrectly picked up the flag last week. only new york had no choice but to overturn it when the ball came loose after contact with the ground. please look at a replay of the calvin johnson play. there was much more control for much longer and still the play was reversed.

    as to the people that said the cowboys get the calls, we still say it and laugh at the same time. what we want to know is where are all those cowboy fans who advised the lions fans to get over it, and know their role. now you know your role; so watch the playoffs with the rest of us.

  127. I thought face guarding was a penalty and it wasn’t last week. I always thought Cowboys don’t Cry so get over it.

  128. The overturning of the Dez Bryant catch was irrefutably wrong, and here is the proof:

    The critically important thing to remember that is not being discussed enough is that the call on the field was a completed pass. Even after plenty of time to confer with each other, the field refs let the call stand. It was only after the Packers challenged the ruling did the replay official overturn it.

    NFL rules clearly state that in order for a call on the field to be overturned, there has to be “irrefutable evidence” that the call was incorrect. Now if you think about it, in this case, the replay referee has to have two irrefutable pieces of evidence. First, there has to be clear proof that Bryant lost control of the ball when hitting the ground. Second, there has to be clear evidence that Bryant did NOT make a “football move” or “an act common to the game,” which is how Mike Pereira (former VP of officiating and replay commentator on FOX during the game) describes the rule. As we all now know, if Bryant made a football move, then he is essentially treated like a running back and not a receiver, and the ground cannot cause a fumble.

    Obviously there is irrefutable evidence that Bryant lost the ball when he hit the ground, so the critical question is the second one- does the replay show Bryant irrefutably did NOT make a football move so as to justify overturning the ruling on the field of a completed catch? Pereira felt the call on the field was incorrect, but his own words clearly demonstrate why overturning that ruling was completely unjustified.

    On the Fox Post-Game Show, he fully conceded to Howie Long that Bryant had “clear control” of the ball. He also conceded that Bryant clearly attempted to stretch the ball out to gain more yards and possibly a touchdown. So how does he justify the ruling on the field being incorrect? Here are his two statements addressing that:

    “Did he (Bryant) stretch out and lunge enough (my emphasis) to where you could consider that an act? I didn’t think they (sic) did.”

    “… part of that (a football act) is stretching all the way out, and to me, even though he moved the ball a little bit forward, they’re not going to consider that a football act.”

    What those two statements clearly demonstrate is that even Pereira is conceding that whether Bryant committed enough of a football act is a completely subjective determination. In Mike’s opinion, Bryant did not, and he is entitled to his own opinion, but the ruling on the field was a completed catch, and therefore the replay has to show irrefutable evidence he did not, and it irrefutably does not.

    There is a big difference between NO football act being committed, and “not enough” of one. By ruling it a completed catch, the field ref stated he felt Bryant did commit enough of a football move, and there is ZERO video evidence to irrefutably state he was wrong in that determination. This is exactly why penalties like pass interference and holding are not subject to challenges, because it is all but impossible to deem something subjective to be irrefutably right or wrong. The field ref who made the original call has the right to change their mind, but the replay ref does NOT have the right to overturn the call.

    I’m sure to this Pereira would say that he feels the field ref who made the call didn’t even consider the football act question. In other words, the ref who made the call didn’t see the ball hit the ground, and therefore whether Bryant committed a football act wasn’t relevant in his mind at the moment he made the call. Well, that certainly could be true, but again, for the field ruling to be overturned, there has to be irrefutable evidence. The ref who made the call did not change his decision after having time to think about it, nor even after conferring with the other refs. One again, the official call on the field was a completed catch going into the challenge by the Packers.

    The only way you can be 100% sure the field ref did not consider the football act issue is to be 100% sure he thought Bryant did NOT lose control of the ball. So, in this case, the replay referee would need irrefutable evidence the field ref did not see Bryant lose control of the ball upon hitting the ground. Watching the replay tells you this is nonsense. The ref who made the call was just a few feet away from Bryant, had his eyes focused on the play like a laser beam, and was in perfect position to see Bryant lose the ball. Does this mean he definitely saw Bryant lose the ball in making his decision (which, by rule, would then mean he thought Bryant made a football move)? No, but it means you definitely cannot assume he didn’t, and therefore you cannot say you have irrefutable evidence to overturn the call.

    You have every right to believe Bryant didn’t commit “enough” of a football act. You also have every right to believe the proper call on the field was to rule an incomplete pass, but there is zero evidence or justification to believe overturning that ruling met the strict threshold of irrefutable evidence being needed.

    Lastly, Pereira immediately referenced the 2010 Calvin Johnson play, and the rest of the media jumped right on board. Did they even bother to go online and review that play? I did, and all it does is support my position here, and refute Pereira’s. First and foremost, the Johnson play was called an incomplete pass ON THE FIELD. It was actually originally called a catch, but the field refs, including the one who made the call, immediately reversed it. The replay officials only confirmed what was called on the field. They did not overturn the original call, as was the case with Bryant.

    Secondly, Johnson was in the end zone and in bounds, so by definition, there was no “football act” for him to even attempt to commit. All he did was put out his left hand to brace against the impact of hitting the ground, and he desperately used his right hand to try to prevent the ball from hitting the ground, which he was unsuccessful at doing. To compare this to Bryant, who clearly intentionally extended the ball after achieving “total control” (Pereira’s words) in an attempt to break the goal line is preposterous…

  129. freeigwebuike says:
    Jan 12, 2015 2:13 PM

    Huge Vike fan, so no dog in this race, but where do you guys keep getting he “took 3 steps” from? Are you counting the 2 steps before he caught the ball? Because no way did he take 3 steps after catching the ball. He caught the ball and then fell forward toward the end zone. I hate the packers as much as the next guy, but let’s be real here. 3 steps… Child, please.

    Well, Mr. “Vike fan,” if you would watch the replay, you would see that after Bryant catches the ball in the air, his left foot touches down, then his right foot lands in front of his left foot, then the left foot takes another step as he lunges toward the end zone. If you don’t want to count the first foot coming down as a step, you could say that he took two steps after he landed.

  130. That one play didn’t cost the Cowboys the game. I think it was a catch and then a football move, but the way the defense was playing, GB would have driven down and scored anyway. Plus, that PI call against GB in the first half was suspect at best and it set up a Dallas TD. These things work out in the long run.

    Dallas lost the game because they failed to capitalize at the end of the first half, had a huge fumble, and couldn’t get Rodgers off the field in the second half. That is why we lost.

    Regardless, this is the first season in a long time where I actually feel like there is something to build on for next year. Let Murray walk, sign Dez, and work on the defense in the draft.

  131. Dez caught the ball, took three steps, and dove for the end zone…if that all didn’t equal a football move, I have no idea what a football move is then…

  132. It’s a bad rule, it should be changed, and probably will. But, it was correctly applied. As a Packer fan I wish it would have been ruled a catch and Dallas got the TD, then Rodgers, who was automatic in the 4th quarter, would have taken the Packers right down the field just as he did in clock killing mode anyway and got the game winner, there’d be no controversy and the media could actually be talking about the teams that are still alive.

  133. If this rule were to be taken literally, a player who catches and possesses the ball at the ten yard line but happens to be stumbling and stumbles across the goal line, where several yards into the end zone he finally hits the ground and the ball is dislodged (like in the dez case), the pass would have to be ruled incomplete. how stupid is this? for gawd’s sake, he would have had possession and control of the ball for over ten yards. STUPID! note that under the rule, if dez had landed a half yard into the endzone, the ruling would still be incomplete pass, yet a runner who is diving toward the pylon and loses the ball as the ball touches the pylon is given a touchdown. and if a runner, in the manner of dez, dives and hits the ground at the one yard line dislodging the ball, his team retains possession at the one due to the “ground can’t cause a fumble” rule. this is hypocrisy of the first order. change this idiotic rule. anyone who has played the game knows what a “catch” is. it doesn’t take a complicated rule nor does it take nfl hack to define it.

  134. Teddy/ea88: From Dez catching the ball, he is clearly going to ground from momentum, so he has to follow those rules regardless of steps. Sparks clearly hits the ball, so does Dez really have full possession? If he did, then the ball would never have popped out of his hands anyways. The ball clearly hit the ground and it clearly left his hands, that’s why it was so easily overturned.

  135. This is a good time for teams to learn that it is more important to focus on overcoming adversity than losing momentum. When there is still time on the clock and momentum is lost, teams must stay focused on executing rather than the refs, the crowd, or anything other than what they can control on the field.

    “How a man thinks, so is he.” In other words, focus on the current play instead of the previous play. When you think that the previous play will result in defeat, then the current play and the plays to follow will make defeat a reality.

  136. Somebody buy Blandino a dictionary, as he clearly doesn’t understand the meaning of the word “indisputable”.

    Also, propping yourself up with your right hand (instead of using said hand to help cradle the ball) is the exact kind of “overt” action that helps prove that Bryant was indeed making a football move. But seeing as it’s always in the NFL’s interest to reduce how bad a call was, we shouldn’t be surprised that he would lie about this.

  137. 1) my understanding is the “judgement’ calls can not be reviewed. The fact that the ball hit the ground was not the critical aspect of the call. The critical aspect was the judgement of whether he was completing the catch or making a play to score. That judgement aspect should not have been review-able.

    2) On the judgement my reading of the play was that he specifically moved the ball from his chest to stretch it out with one hand in an attempt to get the ball over the touchdown line. In addition he used his right foot to push off forward in an attempt to launch his body over the line. Finally he arched his body in such a way to keep his knees from hitting the ground first. All these efforts had nothing to do with catching the ball, they were all subsequent to the catch in an attempt to score. It seems the on-field ref saw it the same way but was over-ruled by ???

    3) That brings me to my 3rd point. If I understand, the NFL VP was actually involved in making the call during the game. That seems very strange. Corporate VP’s are responsible for business decisions not sporting decisions. How can an Ref deal with being over-ruled during a game by a Corp VP. A Corp VP is always making business decisions! Is it really part of the NFL process to have non-game officials involved in making sporting decisions during a game?

    Overall I say the NFL got it all wrong.

  138. The ‘Dez Bryant Rule”??? Help me as I am confused. Is that the rule whereby Dezzie doesn’t get penalized for over-the-top taunting or the rule where Dezzie doesn’t get penalized for berating the refs with his helmet off? You’re right……neither of these rules sit well with most fans:)

  139. Dez just catch the ball and finish the catch and this isn’t an issue.. Bad rule that should be changed but the fact remains, it’s a rule..

    but Blandino siding with the NFL & it’s officials????? SHOCKER!

  140. If Dez would have been content to catch and take the ball at the 1 yd line, he probably would have been fine, but the db made jostle it and the ball clearly hit the ground and bounced up. The only reason we are even talking about this today is because it happened to the Cowboys and is therefore an national tragedy and travesty. Too bad becuase this year was probably Romo’s best and last chance to get it done. Oh well.

  141. This is completely contradictory to the call in the Week 14 KC/AZ game where a guy was falling in the endzone to down a punt. If an off balance player falling into the endzone can make a football move while off balance, how is Dez Bryants stumble and lunge for the endzone not a football move? I’ll tell you, Dean Blandino inconsistently interprets rules to make them fit for the decisions made regardless if they are right.

    Dean Blandino even admitted it was a judgment call if a football move was made. Replay isn’t on a standard of review that allows for the installation of judgment decisions. This new replay system going to NY has actually made the review process into an absolute joke this year.

  142. As a Lions fan, I would love to see this rule changed. I would like to see a pass as complete when the receiver has clear control of the ball and down in bounds. Down is obviously two feet, a knee, an elbow, or rear end. Calvin Johnson has all the above mentioned in his non-TD catch. I think the process rule came into play for when a receiver catches a ball outstretched on the sideline and although both toes were in would lose the ball when he hit the ground. In my book, that is a catch too.

    Yes, Dez has control of the ball with two feet down. And yes, according to the rule he needed to maintain control of the football in his process to the ground. The ball touches the ground and that is when he loses control of the ball. Therefore, based on today’s rules, it is an imcomplete pass. I do not like Dez, but feel bad for him and his team’s fans.

    I have watched closely the implementation of the “process” rule since the CJ non-TD catch. Once I saw a catch called complete after review because the receiver after catching the ball along the sideline, had two feet in, but stumbling out of bounds and falls to the ground causing the ball to come lose, and the official announced he had control for an acceptable amount of time. Simplify the definition of a completed pass!! I hope someday soon the rule will be changed so football fans can enjoy watching the game they love and “rules” don’t have such a large impact on games.

  143. What difference does it make if he made a football move?

    The whole point of the Calvin Johnson Rule is that if you’re going to the ground while making a catch, you have to maintain possession when you hit the ground.

    It doesn’t matter if you make a football move while going to the ground. If you’re going to the ground as part of the process of the catch, you must maintain possession when you hit the turf.
    The rule states “in the process of making the catch” and that the process is completed when the receiver makes a move “common to the game of football”. So the issue is whether Bryant made a “move common to the game of football”. Even if you regard the 3 steps he took as stumbling or whatever you wish to call it, he transferred the ball to his left hand just before landing on his right hand, keeping him off the ground a split second longer, in an attempt to score. Seems that would fit the bill as a “move common to the game of football”

    Blandino said “in their judgement” it wasn’t that, which given the “irrefutable evidence” condition required to overturn a call on the field” just clouds the matter further.

  144. It’s a catch !

    Bryant made catch secured it and came down with control on his elbow BEFORE reaching for the goal. One elbow equals two feet!


  145. Dallas was given last weeks game via poor officiating. Dallas their last playoff game via excellent officiating. The rules on what makes a reception are clear and easy to understand, unless you have an agenda.

  146. Catches the ball, takes 3 steps + 1 elbow, switches ball into other hand, lunges towards the goal line, gets contact from fallen defender, reaches…..

    Incomplete pass.

    Oh okay.

  147. If he had control, he wouldn’t have dropped it when it hit the ground. And, yes, it DID hit the ground – from the angle of the camera in the end zone, it CLEARLY shows the ball on the ground just prior to it coming out of Dez’s hand.

    For future reference, if you can’t be sure that the ball won’t come out of your hand if you stretch it out and can’t reach the goal line, better to just tuck it and live to run another play. He didn’t NEED to score on that play. He was just being a glory hound rather than letting Murray get the points. It’s a team Dez – act like it.

  148. The Cowboys got screwed period. But before you start foaming at the mouth because you hate the Cowboys hear me out. Yes I believe that they got screwed on that “one” play. Do I believe that cost them the game? I don’t know and we will never know. If I went on my gut feeling I would say that Rodgers probably would have led them down the field for at least a field goal, and that would be enough to win. But for people to say that he did not catch that pass are only looking at it with pure hatred for the Cowboys and not for the spectacular CATCH that it was. We don’t get to witness catches like that everyday, so we as true fans should appreciate the catch. Not who caught it and what team he plays on. My hope is that the league changes this stupid rule so other great catches don’t get taken away.

  149. wasn’t that 4th down? Change of possession the clock should have stopped anyway. btw I think it was a catch and i hate the cowboys.

  150. Once again a good game ruined by an official. Officials should not impact the outcome of a game. If everyone is so focused on the “rules” then a rule should be implemented that in the final quarter of a game there should be no penalties or calls overturned unless it is without a doubt an obvious foul/call.

    There is no reason Notre Dame should have lost to Florida St earlier this year on a 4th down play that resulted in an incomplete pass but Notre Dame was flagged for a tic-tac pass interference/holding call. Next play Florida St wins with no time remaining.

    In this game we do not know what the eventual outcome of the game would have been but the officials should have stuck with the call on the field and let the players decide the game. They should not have reversed the call saying there was irrefutable evidence that he did not make the catch which as you can see by this thread that there is plenty of argument if it was or wasn’t a catch.

    The only rule that needs to be changed/modified/created/followed is that the outcome of a game should not be decided by the officials. If a player is brutally mugged/held/interfered with/roughed then yes throw a flag it needs to be called but if Dez Bryant and Richard Sherman are slapping each other down the field do not throw a flag on one and not the other. This game is bigger than having an official that no one knows about impact the outcome.

    I know it’s childish to say but if the league doesn’t fix the huge problem they have I will be a fan finding other things to do on Sundays and Saturdays and Thursdays and Mondays with my life.

    BTW I am neither a Cowboy or Packer fan. I am a fan who was enjoying every moment of this game Green Baywise and Cowboywise until this call. It ruined what was becoming one of the best playoff games of recent memory… but it didn’t, it turned into another debacle, another conspiracy theory, another flaw in the NFL. I wish I could have my 3 and a half hours, well it is probably closer to 4 hours now that I wrote this post, back for Sunday’s game.

  151. Even the beloved Cris Carter, of the Philadelphia Eagles, told Mike & Mike this AM it was NOT a catch – and he was firm in his commitment. What he also pointed out was that the ball first was bobbled before Dez finally got both paws on it just prior to hitting the ground. And they showed it on slow motion.


  152. Jan 12, 2015 4:36 PM – trollaikman8 says: Catches the ball, takes 3 steps + 1 elbow, switches ball into other hand, lunges towards the goal line, gets contact from fallen defender, reaches….. Incomplete pass.
    Yep, ball hits the ground, comes loose – incomplete pass, regardless of steps, elbows, lunges, etc.

  153. logiclevoicesays says:
    Jan 12, 2015 2:19 PM

    to anyone surprised by the reversal in favor of Green Bay: watched a game at Lambeau lately?

    Considering that was the first call reversed for the Packers this year I would say you haven’t a clue what you are talking about.

  154. Blandino is wrong. Period. He wouldn’t know a football if I bounced one of his corrupt face.

    Dez was no longer a receiver when he contacted the ground. Therefore the ground cannot cause a fumble! !! End of story. If you disagree you Don’t know football.

  155. The rule states “in the process of making the catch” and that the process is completed when the receiver makes a move “common to the game of football”. So the issue is whether Bryant made a “move common to the game of football”.

    – – – – – –

    I understand what you’re saying, but that can’t be right, because if it were **there would be no Calvin Johnson Rule.**

    The whole point of the CJR is that going to the ground during a catch is a special case that creates an additional condition for a reception. Normally for there to be a catch you need:

    (1) Possession
    (2) 2 feet
    (3) Football move (or time to make one)

    But when you’re going to the ground during the process of the catch, you need:

    (1) Possession
    (2) 2 feet
    (3) Football move (or time to make one)
    (4) Continued possession when you hit the ground.

    Three of the four conditions isn’t enough. If you didn’t need #4, then there would be no CJR.

  156. Blandino is an idiot who can no longer be trusted to discuss controversial plays involving the Cowboys. He can’t look like he is favoring them so he will always side against them. Dez took 3 steps with control for goodness sakes. It’s clearly a catch under any set of rules.

  157. I didnt watch the game, but does anyone REALLY think the NFL is going to let Aaron Rodgers and the Packers lose, AT Lambeau? Absolutely not. They are the NFL’s most favored team. I wish Rodgers would break his neck.

  158. Well last week everyone hated the Cowboys because of the refs.
    This week everyone hates the Packers because of the refs.

  159. handsofsteelhartofstone says:
    Jan 12, 2015 5:07 PM

    Blandino is wrong. Period. He wouldn’t know a football if I bounced one of his corrupt face.

    Dez was no longer a receiver when he contacted the ground. Therefore the ground cannot cause a fumble! !! End of story. If you disagree you Don’t know football.

    He was still a receiver because he was losing his battle with gravity. Until you make that cognitive distinction, you are making it evident who doesn’t know football.


    frenchy121212 says:
    Jan 12, 2015 5:59 PM

    Blandino is an idiot who can no longer be trusted to discuss controversial plays involving the Cowboys. He can’t look like he is favoring them so he will always side against them. Dez took 3 steps with control for goodness sakes. It’s clearly a catch under any set of rules.


    Except the NFL rules.
    Dez didn’t take 3 steps, he was unbalanced. Since he was unbalanced from the leap to the ball dislodging it’s all part of the process of the catch. Regardless of how many times his feet made contact with the ground.

    Also, I’m not against changing the rule because I would say it was a catch. Just not within the current rules. But no matter how you write the rules there will invariably come a play after that which stretches the boundary of the interpretation of the rule. It’s not as easy as you think. The CJR might not work to everyone’s liking all the time, but no other rule will either. These changes were made to appease the whiners of the past. Maybe it’s time to appease the current gen of whiners.

  160. This call reversal did NOT cost Dallas the win. The cowboys only have themselves to blame. With Rodgers hobbled, they had no business trailing the packers. He relies heavily on his ability to move within the pocket and rolling out of the pocket to make plays. The cowboys defense allowed a gimpy QB to complete EVERY SINGLE PASS in the 4th quarter. If a team is relying on one call to win a game, they didn’t play well enough to win.

  161. Why not change the rule to where a catch is defined as a player getting 2 feet down who then begins a football move, verses completes a football move?

    I also don’t care about extra fumbles when a WR gets lit up after a catch. Back in the day, those were fumbles and no one minded them a bit. If anything the hit after the catch gives another player (a DB) an opportunity to do something great.

    Bottom line, and I’m speaking as a Packer fan here, you don’t want to see great plays legislated out of the game. There were still 3+ minutes to go. Ok, so Dallas punches the TD in on the next play. As far as I’m concerned, we were all robbed of a final epic drive for Rodgers to pull out the win.

  162. The rule has been clearly explained a thousand times in the past 24 hours, yet people still think it was a catch? How stupid do you have to be to see the play, have the reason it was not a catch explained to you 1000 times, and still not understand any of it?

    I have seen people claim that Bryant had the ball for 5 seconds. Really? He held the ball for less than 1 second in real time. The super slow motion replays are too much for a lot of people to wrap their heads around I guess. Watch it in real time from every angle and then use some common sense. No way it was a catch.

    Bryant made no football move. Falling down is not a football move. Reaching an arm out while falling down is not a football move. He clearly lost control of the ball when he landed on the ground. The ball clearly hit the ground and came loose. Bryant’s feet or any other part of his body touching the ground doesn’t matter because he was falling to the ground as all that happened. Best part is, it was his own fault for trying to get an extra half yard. The rule about catching a ball to completion will not be changed. The Calvin Johnson “No catch” was more of a catch than Bryant’s. Neither were a catch according to the rule.

  163. I think many of you are missing the point and so is Blandino, that there was a call on the field. Catch and down by contact at the ½ yard line. This is irrefutable. That was the ruling. The rules say that to overturn a call on the field you must find “indisputable evidence.” Indisputable evidence is evidence beyond a reasonable doubt sort of like a unanimous jury. Evidence where no reasonable minds can differ. Whether you like it or not that is the rule. The NFL is a league that needs to follow rules but somehow they don’t want to follow their own rules. Perhaps it was to bad for Blandino that the ruling on the field was a catch and down by contact but that is what was called. So far, since the conclusion of the game, professionals and analysts from everywhere differ as to did Dez make a football move. They differ because there is just enough there to say without a shadow of a doubt that Dez was not making a football move. YOU HAVE TO GO WITH THE CALL ON THE FIELD. The mere fact that reasonable minds are differing shows that Blandino and the referee on the field should have easily seen that there was not enough to overturn the ruling on the field. Know the rules and what indisputable means. It does not mean more likely than not.

  164. I’m surprised this drop is such a big deal……In this play it’s easy to tell it was a drop.

    As the rule stands it’s easy to enforce…..if the league tries to modify it in any way that’s when things will get messy…..people will start to interpret what is and isn’t a catch…..

    He jumped up, grabbed the ball, hit the ground and the ball popped out, end of story.

    We see this a bunch of times during the game…..

  165. OK so here’s my question. First, I am not a Dallas fan, but I do believe it was a catch and here’s why. Dez initially catches the ball, bobbles it a bit, and starts going to the ground. The defensive player is all over him. he gains control of the ball with his left hand, his knees hit the ground, his right forearm hit’s the ground, than the left hand and ball. My contention is that by rule, once his knees were down and he had control, he was DOWN BY CONTACT. Play over, first and goal. Am I mistaken or does down by contact rules not apply here?

  166. hakunamangata says: Jan 12, 2015 2:22 PM


    Has he ever said they got a call wrong? Ever?

    Yea, as a matter of fact, just last week when the Lions got screwed on a holding call for holding onto a jersey and then blew the pass interference call too. That admitted they blew the call, both of them on the same play.

    The ball hit the ground and he didn’t maintain control after the catch, the girls get to many calls as it is. Rules are rules, agree with them or not.

  167. @nisbo The rule *should* be that the knee & forearm being down is a catch. But the rule is that the WR has to maintain possession of the ball all the way to the ground. In this case, when Dez landed, the ball hit the ground and popped loose, which immediately makes it incomplete. The fact that he re-possessed the ball after it popped loose is irrelevant because the ball hit the ground.

  168. Everyone is missing the main point of the argument. Dez lost control of the ball when he hit the ground but he regained it while in-bounds before it hit the ground. In order to reverse the call on the field, their has to be conclusive evidence (a frame of video clearly showing the ball on the ground) that the ball actually touched the ground. There is none. Therefore, the ruling on the field should stand.

    Randall Cobb’s catch just before the half ended enabling GB to kick a field goal clearly showed the ball touching the ground but was not overturned. If that can not be overturned, the Dez catch cannot be overturned just because the ball probably or must have hit the ground without any video evidence supporting this.

    The league is covering the behinds on this. I would also sure like to get Blandino’s opinion on the Cobb catch.

  169. The reason Blandino’s comments carry no weight is because he continues to NOT define what a “football move” is. Dez took three steps, moved the ball from two hands to the right hand, then to the left hand, then stretched (he did not lunge) to reach the goal line. All are instinctive moves typical of a football player. I’d have to say it was a football move all the way. Fix this before next season Dean or please find another job.

  170. @lombarditrophy, (love that by the way…) I’m not even addressing the “what is a catch” rule, let’s put that aside for just a moment. A player is down by contact when his knee, forearm, body hits the ground correct? So, did he have possession (yes) when he was down by contact (yes), so I think the play should have been over at that point right? I’m genuinly not sure, so I’m not arguing, just looking at it from an angle that I think is being ignored. Was he down by contact, and if so when, and why is this rule not being applied or discussed?

  171. The “process” rule is a joke. Whoever came up with a receiver needing to control the ball all the way through hitting the ground (and those that endorsed it) need a kick in the pants. I’m not talking about Dez here, I’m talking about the Calvin Johnson vs. the Bears catch that founded this ignorant rule. Google it if you haven’t seen it. If my receiver catches a tight sideline pass, and as he’s falling, gets his feet down and as he’s going into the people crowding the sidelines, he let’s go of the ball to protect himself, that is considered a dropped pass. If you think that is OK, you must be like Dean Blandino. FIX THE STUPID RULES, and keep the officiating from ruining good games.

  172. Blandino said Bryant lunging forward toward the goal line is not the kind of overt act a player needs to make in order to be seen as making a “football move.”


    The game is over so it is what it is now but if this isn’t considered a football move then every other so called football moves are all up to the refs interpretation. Which means there are no real footballs moves if the refs want to say so.

  173. @nisbo From what I heard Blandino say, if the player isn’t in the process of making a catch, then the down by contact rule applies. But they don’t consider a catch made unless the player has caught the ball and made a football move.

    There’s obviously a lot in contention with this one play. i.e. why isn’t reaching for the goal line a football move? I think the NFL needs to alter the rule to beginning a football move instead of completing one.

    What the NFL is trying to avoid with this rule is the play where the WR catches the ball, lands with 2 feet down and then a DB immediately hits the ball out, causing a “cheap” fumble.

  174. fontesmustgo says:
    Jan 12, 2015 5:10 PM

    The rule states “in the process of making the catch” and that the process is completed when the receiver makes a move “common to the game of football”. So the issue is whether Bryant made a “move common to the game of football”.

    – – – – – –

    I understand what you’re saying, but that can’t be right, because if it were **there would be no Calvin Johnson Rule.**

    The whole point of the CJR is that going to the ground during a catch is a special case that creates an additional condition for a reception. Normally for there to be a catch you need:

    (1) Possession
    (2) 2 feet
    (3) Football move (or time to make one)

    But when you’re going to the ground during the process of the catch, you need:

    (1) Possession
    (2) 2 feet
    (3) Football move (or time to make one)
    (4) Continued possession when you hit the ground.

    Three of the four conditions isn’t enough. If you didn’t need #4, then there would be no CJR.


    The best explanation I’ve read so far is the list above but I would alter it to avoid what seems to be causing all the confusion. In the second part #4 overrides #3. In other words, when diving for a catch you don’t need a football move. You just meet the other 3 criteria and it’s a catch. In Dez case he was going to the ground which OVERRIDES a football move. He can’t complete the catch until the process of going to the ground has been completed, therefore no catch, no down by contact, no ground can’t cause the fumble….none of it. People seem to not get the part that when going to the ground during the process of making a catch, you can’t make the catch until that whole process is COMPLETE. EVERYTHING ELSE IS IRRELEVANT!

  175. If ‘Diving for the Pylon’ is not a ‘Football Move,’ then they need to stop awarding TDs to the guys that do it successfully.

  176. Diving for the pylon is a football move because the runner already has possession. Lunging/reaching while falling during a “catch” is not a football move because he can’t possibly establish possession WHILE FALLING. He must complete the fall while maintaining control throughout the fall in order to complete the catch. He didn’t. So it’s not a catch.

  177. Football fans–the play WAS DEAD RIGHT WHERE HE WENT DOWN ‘CAUSE HE DID NOT FINISH THE CATCH, PERIOD!! INCOMPLETE PASS–how many times do you have to watch this be an incomplete pass in games before you get it??? No matter IF Bryant did lunge or reach for goal line, COMPLETION was adamantly dependent on FINISHING THE CATCH, ONCE THE BALL TOUCHED GROUND AND CAME LOOSE–IT’S AND INCOMPLETION!! How hard is that to understand?

  178. C’MON MAN, as Ditka would say–Bryant DID NOT clearly catch the ball, it was bobbled because Shields got a hand on it, when Bryant went to ground–IT DOES NOT MATTER what he was doing–the ball HIT THE GROUND AND CAME OUT–THAT IS THE NFL’S DEFINITION OF AN INCOMPLETE PASS. He could NOT get up and hand the ball without it being knocked loose because it was–INCOMPLETE, by NFL rules. Any receiver who goes to ground in making a reception MUST maintain control of the ball–ARE YOU PEOPLE BLIND? Did you NOT see the ball pop out of his hands when the ball hit the ground? THAT’S CLEAR INCOMPLETION by rule.

  179. Not a CB fan, but THAT WAS CATCH, but let the poor folks of Green Bay have their moment in the sun. They don’t get too much sun otherwise. These sad pasty-white souls have to live in a frozen hell, that if not for an NFL team the world wouldn’t even know it existed. I can’t imagine Green Bay or Wisconsin is racking in a ton of tourists dollars. Basically, Green Bay is one failed milk harvest away from becoming another Detroit, a frozen hell-hole no one cares about. When’s the last time you had a few days off work and said, “Let’s book a flight to Green Bay”, just doesn’t happen. So let them have Sunday’s questionable victory, for Monday morning its back to the factory, and stuffing cheese into boxes.
    Cowboy fans, well you can go to Austin or San Antonio to lick your wounds. Trust me, you may have lost a football game, but you have it much better.
    Not to mention, because controversial call, outside of the Green Bay area, the whole world is rooting against the Packers.

  180. you are an IDIOT, Blandino!! 3 steps and a lunge and the ground causing a funble on a slow-motion replay?? who are you kidding?! what a f**king idiot!!

  181. Even if the play wasn’t reversed and the Cowboys had scored, making the score 28-26, the Packers would have had over 4 minutes to go down to kick the game winning field goal.

    After the reversal, the Packers marched down the field, moved into field goal range, at the 28 yd line, and having a 1st down with 1:43 left in the game, they proceeded to run out the clock, instead of kicking a field goal or going for a TD. The Packers probably would have won the game anyway, so stop whining.

  182. It won’t matter if the rule is changed, because regardless of what the rule is changed to, the team that the rule goes against will still whine for days, along with the cry baby fans.

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