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.