Blandino says not enough evidence to overturn Martavis Bryant touchdown


Lost in Saturday’s Cincinnati Asylum game were many intriguing plays, including a touchdown catch from Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant that featured the ball being pinned against his leg as he flipped forward out of bounds.

In a weekly video that reviews several key calls from wild-card weekend, NFL V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino explains that he believes it wasn’t a catch — but that he also believes that there was insufficient evidence to overturn the ruling on the field of a catch.

“I don’t think this is a catch,” Blandino said. “If I just had a blank slate and I could say, ‘Do you think it’s a catch or not a catch’?, I would said no catch. But the ruling on the field was a catch, and we have to see clear and obvious evidence that it’s not a catch.”

Blandino emphasized it’s not a catch rule question but a replay rule issue.

“Is there indisputable evidence to overturn the ruling on the field of a catch?” he said. “It was ruled a catch on the field, so the basic premise of replay since its inception is the call on the field is presumed correct unless we have indisputable visual evidence that it is incorrect, then we can make a change. You watch the play live, and the question is going to be control. Initial control. Bryant is going to pin the ball against his leg . . . and then as he rolls over he’s going to maintain that control. And again the issue, did he have control with the right foot down? There is some movement, Slight movement does not necessarily mean loss or lack of control. He pins the ball against his leg there. Is the foot still down as he starts to go to the ground? . . . Again, not indisputable.”

There could be some dispute as to whether the evidence is indisputable. But that simply proves the evidence isn’t indisputable. It’s not clear. That’s what the replay rule is aimed at addressing.

So the Bryant catch falls into the category of plays that wouldn’t be overturned regardless of the ruling on the field. In this case, and in real time, the officials regarded it to be a catch. With the available evidence, there was no way to overturn it.

109 responses to “Blandino says not enough evidence to overturn Martavis Bryant touchdown

  1. Does anyone outside of the league office actually think Dino Blandino does a good job???

    Think about it!
    The most popular sport in America has one of the most incompetent people in charge of its officials!

    Good God!

  2. So it was a wash between the wrong call on the td and the blowing of the fumble call which should have been a touchdown

  3. They overturn too many calls on replay. If there is any doubt, stay with the call on the field. IMO replay should be for egregious errors only. My suggestion would be to let coaches get unlimited challenges, BUT only until you get one wrong and thats it for the rest of the game. Also make it a large penalty for being wrong. A timeout isn’t enough. Make it a TO and a 15 yard penalty if you are wrong. That should take away the ‘guess’ coin flip challenges on bang-bang plays.

  4. Calvin JOhnson catch, there was no INDISPUTABLE EVIDENCE and it was overturned. Nice try

    Countless examples of plays that have been overturned from the call on the field without it being 100% clear. Classic case of the NFL agreeing they missed a call and are trying to veil their responsibility.

  5. The refs probably err on the side of caution, in the fact that if they call it a catch it’s automatically reviewed (as a TD) but if it is called incomplete, the coach would have to throw the flag. I think the same thing happened in the championship game, when the refs threw up their arms 10 seconds after the Alabama player got back up. & this thinking is not necessarily a bad thing.

  6. Broncos fan not a Steelers fan here. When I saw the play live I thought that it wasn’t a catch but after seeing the replay I completely disagree. Not only was it a catch it was probably the best catch of the season!

  7. He trapped it to his upper thigh on the 1st step and then when he raised that foot and landed the 2nd it slid down to his knee so clearly it wasn`t “controlled” in the same sense they require for catches with their hands so i don`t understand how it was called a catch live or on review.

  8. Bengals fan, and I think he’s probably right. I don’t know that it was a catch (I don’t think anyone does for certain), but I don’t think there was enough evidence to overturn the ruling on the field. Of all the things that happened over the course of that game that I am upset about (and there are LOTS), that catch is the lowest on the list.

    As a note, this is, what, the 20th article written about that game in the span of a week? 30th? That game is the most contentious NFL game that I can ever remember.

  9. But there was enough “evidence” to overturn the Dez Bryant catch from the office in New York, to overrule an official who was inches away and ruled touchdown…..really?

    Anyone who thinks Pittsburgh doesn’t get preferential treatment is out of their mind.

  10. Can we just acknowledge that it was an awesome athletic achievement in a clutch moment? I want every TD catch to be as entertaining and adrenalizing as that.

  11. If you look at any play long enough your going to come up with a reason why it wasn’t what it is. What the hell is wrong with people.

  12. Great catch no question. And that win was 1 for the ages! That goes right into 1 of the classics in Steelers history no doubt. . When we look back at that game it will definitely be a classic! Started off super boring though. Most people don’t realize that with all the drama that went on at the end!

  13. Well, considering that the camera angles of the play were all great, the only reason to say there’s no indisputable evidence is because we really don’t have a clear definition of a catch. Sad state of affairs.

  14. How’s business going with your old paper route Blandino, getting most of your customers back. I doubt it.

  15. There was nothing to overturn. It was clear on the replays that he maintained control of the ball, it did not bounce off the turf or bounce around. Good catch no questions.

    That’s coming from a Pats fan who is not big fan of the modern day Steelers.

    For that matter the Pats and their fans had to accept the Tyree pinned to his helmet SB catch. If that was good this one certainly was too.

  16. That was obviously a fantastic circus catch.

    You could rule it incomplete but you would be taking the magic out of the sport.

    No proof it was not a catch and did everything except pat himself on the back while hauling it in.

  17. Due to some loud protests between Bengals/Steelers fans that I know, I have reviewed this play multiple times. It is my opinion that the NFL reversed the requirements of the rule in this case. It was not a TD.

    For it to be a touchdown, the receiver must have possession in the end zone with two feet down. In this case, the receiver had two feet down, but did not gain possession until he was out of the end zone.

  18. >sincewinningsuperbowlravenshavebeen3rdinafcnorth says:
    Great catch no question. And that win was 1 for the ages! That goes right into 1 of the classics in Steelers history no doubt.

    The only thing about that that was for the ages was how embarrassing it was for both teams. The Steelers should really proud of game in which one of their coaches got flagged and fined, another coach should have been flagged and was fined, a player taunted and celebrated while the player he knocked out was unconscious on the ground, and the game was ultimately handed to the them by a questionable flag? That is a weak, weak victory, not an awesome one.

    Even if the Bengals had won I would have been more relieved than proud. Both teams deserved to lose. Wish they both could have.

  19. I think this entire business of “control” is a crock. If the receiver has both feet in bounds and the ball never touches the ground, it should be a catch. Period. Who the hell cares if he bobbles it or not? Ridiculous…

  20. Steeler fans think it all evens out ’cause Shazier didn’t get his TD – refs blew it for sure – should have been a 15 yard penalty for leading with the crown.
    But truth is they had blown this game early in the 3rd quarter and no res
    A multi-billion dollar business too cheap to have full time professional referees – absolute bs

  21. What is a catch , Hell Dean Blandino don’t know what’s a catch, the NFL don’t know what’s a catch. For the love of God make and define what you want to be a catch
    to be so we can move on and enjoy football.

  22. So to summarize the NFL in 2016: we really don’t know how to define a catch and we really don’t know how to define a clean tackle, but other than those minor details, everything is great. Come on
    NFL, get your act together!!!

  23. Catch of the year!

    …..last year was ODB’s one handed sticky glove catch…this year it’s Bryant’s circus catch (not really helped by sticky gloves).


  24. And on reflection, the refs decided that was an honest-to-goodness fumble Shazier was returning for a TD when they blew the whistle and stopped the play. Funny how these things work out. They take one away, they give one back … and it all evens out in the end.

  25. How about this – since the refs have shown themselves to be incompetent boobs all season long, why not get rid of the presumption that the idiots on the field got it right in the first place, and just, you know, get it right on replay regardless?

  26. Dean Blandino is a bafoon!!!’ How in the heck can it be so difficult to decide catch no catch? Are rule not to be clear? I think they need to go back to the college one foot in control the ball. The ground can’t cause a fumble!!! simple!! This has got every team this year! Nice job Blandino! Let’s not forget the mastermind of the competition committee Jeff (below average coach) Fisher!!!

  27. I’m ok with the catch call it was a great play and should have stood. Still in disbelief though how the Shazier hit was not called and the Shaun Williams hit was. That’s what Bengals fans are upset about and as well as Porter not getting a penalty to offset Pac Mans. The Burfict call was justified Munchaks wasn’t even that bad as well imo. Refs still suck either way.

  28. Bungles fans, we may very well lose this week… But at least we’re not typecast as perennial losers.

  29. I dont even know what a catch is anymore, so honestly i cant make a opinion on it.

    but If i had to choose what the rule should be.

    1. Ball in hands, two feet down/one knee/one elbow = catch

    2. ball comes out after that from a hit = fumble

    3. ball ever touchs ground before number 1 happens = no catch

  30. A catch? Not a catch? A loaf of bread? A baby’s arm holding an apple? Who cares what it was 6 days after the game? I am not sure what any NFL official thinks they are accomplishing by opening that can of worms at this point. Maybe just wanted people to not forget he exists.

  31. If it was initially ruled on the field that it was not a catch; the replay would have “confirmed” the in-completion. The “stands” call is correct as replay really doesn’t give indisputable evidence and that is what the rule requires…..

    We all agree; great effort and demonstration of athleticism.

  32. I absolutely detest the Steelers, but if the guy has the ball and it didn’t hit the ground it should be a freaking catch!

    All of this “control” krap wastes time and weakens the game. If it cancels out acrobatic feats such as this and Tyree’s helmet catch, it’s a travesty.

  33. IMHO Dez’ catch was overruled last year because of the controversy the week before in the Lions game. I feel that some stuff is made up as they go along. I think Martavus Bryant’s catch was called a TD simply because it was amazing and entertaining.

  34. This is the perfect example of why the refs call plays in favor of the patriots and steelers all the time. They then only have to reverse it against their favorite teams if it can be 100% positively certain that it didn’t turn out in their favor?

    Any benefit of the doubt? Their favorite teams get the call.


  35. I do believe a player is allowed to move the ball while in the process of catching it and bracing for hitting the ground. Nothing he did was bobbling the ball, nor did the ground make him bobble it. Catch is good.

  36. At this point everyone outside of the steal city knows they were handed the game. Nothing that an be done about it now. Denver beware of the buffoonery AFCN teams and Seattle are all tofamiliar with when it comes to the Stealer and their use of refs to help save them games.

  37. As someone who doesn’t care about the steelers at all…

    This was too freaking sweet of a catch to make it not a catch. seriously. off the back of his leg in an front-flip jump? Let him have it!

  38. Hate to break it to everyone. The NFL wants the Steelers not Bengals, Seahawks not Vikings, Packers not Redskins in the playoffs. KC and TX did not matter.
    Brady vs Manning will be one final as will Seattle vs GB.
    SB will be Packers and Denver with Manning riding off into the sunset after the game.

    Signed- Now Fixed League

  39. Why are we even talking about this? Oh wait I forgot Florio the rules expert doubted the catch.

    Now for reality. Bryant maintained possession the whole way. The ball was either pinned to the back of his leg, or firmly held in his hands. Frankly I think a lot of people can’t believe an athlete is capable of pulling off such acrobatics, but Bryant is special.

    It was a touchdown then, and it’s still a touchdown. End of discussion.

  40. This is just another example on how NFL officials are asking to be loathed by the fans. When you make your call, SHUT UP and STAND YOUR GROUND. Because you made the right call. Nothing could have changed that call, nothing. Now you want to cause more hard feelings with Bengal’s fans by now creating more doubt.

  41. I’ve been saying for the last year that the #NFL is not a sports league, it is a PR campaign. Here is further proof. The NFL’s head of officiating comes out this afternoon to say that he doesn’t think Bryant’s catch was a legal catch and should have been ruled incomplete. If he felt that way, why didn’t he say it on Monday morning? He waited till Friday so this would be a headline to be discussed in tomorrow’s pregame shows and be a theme throughout this weekend’s games. Remember 20yrs ago when the NFL was about the play on the field? Now, we are inundated with constant controversy over “what is a catch?” and referee inconsistency. It’s roger goodell’s NFL, we’re just paying for it.

  42. I thought it was a catch…..but….coming out almost a week later defending the call, makes it suspicious at best.

  43. Remember when replay was instituted as a means of redressing obviously incorrect calls on the field?

    Now we are reduced to talking about millimeters of ball movement instead of simply using common sense.

    I know this is just Blandino’s opinion, and the call was upheld, but in other cases it hasn’t been, and the officials use the same idiotic reasoning that Blandino used.

  44. Under the rules I grew up with, that was a catch. They’ve really made a mess of the rules determining what is a complete catch. This needs to be simplified in the off-season.

  45. I wonder how much Blandino was paid off by the Cincinnati media to make that comment. It’s funny how he waits until almost a week after the game for him to say that he didn’t think Bryant’s catch shouldn’t have been a catch.

  46. While a great catch, anyone watching that on TV could see that it shouldn’t have been ruled a touchdown. Another one in the books from that game for the Steelers.

  47. Blandino’s statement is a absolutely misguided. This is not a matter of an opinion or a belief. There is a tape. Before making such a statement one should ask the question what makes me think or makes me believe it is not a catch? And Blandino answers himself in a convoluted way there is no shred of evidence Bryant lost control. He goes on to say “If I just had a blank slate..”. I guess his has a feeling about it? So my question is what made him think Bryant lost control in the first place and why even mention it at all if there is no evidence? I guess NFL should use his crystal ball to review the plays. Ball movement doesn’t mean lack of control.

  48. It was a catch … the only problem was he only got one foot down.
    What’s so hard to understand?

  49. See the picture … he has the ball and only one foot down.
    If you can go back a split second and show his second foot on the ground … you will see the ball is away from his body and moving which means no control.

  50. Blandino should tell Megatron that’s a catch and his wasn’t. I guess that you need to play for one of the leagues favorites to get those calls.

  51. If Megatron’s catch was not catch and Dez’s catch was not a catch, there is no way that was a catch.

    That said as a previous poster said, it is a wash. The fumble was a TD.

  52. It was a catch just like David Tyree’s was. No problem there. The problem is, as you already know, Blandino. This guy couldn’t find his butt with two hands and a flashlight.

  53. Just go back to the Steelers win over Seattle in the Super Bowl. Very telling, for some reason the NFL and officials are either intimidated by the Steeler’s franchise or there is a deep conspiracy theory present. I’d go with the intimation factor myself.

  54. So he is saying, after having almost a week to review it hundreds of times, that it might not be a catch? Not only is he wrong, but he is an idiot for even bringing it up.

    The play happens at such a fast speed and there are so many factors to look at. the best part about his opinion is he cannot even give a specific reason he believes it isn’t a catch.

    Talk about stirring the s@#t. And for people comparing this to the Calvin Johnson catch I am sorry but this is not comparing the same thing. Bryant held the ball throughout the play while going to the ground. The only question is if he had complete control and two feet down before going out of bounds. Johnson gave up control when he was on the ground. So for Johnson it was under the rules not a catch (but in reality he controlled the ball to the ground and let go when he stopped so I would call it a catch)

  55. It was not only a catch, but a brilliant one. Mediocrities like Dean Blandino should just sit on the sidelines, play with their tapes and pout while the jocks get all the cute girls.

  56. Technically probably not a catch. But I have no problem with them giving it to him because it was an outstanding effort, worthy of a TD for sure.

  57. Everyone but Steelers fans know that wasn’t a catch. Doesn’t matter. KC in Denver for the AFC championship.

  58. wilcoxfunk says:
    Jan 16, 2016 10:06 AM
    Everyone but Steelers fans know that wasn’t a catch.


    I thought it was pretty questionable at the time and would’ve understood had it been ruled incomplete.

    That said, it doesn’t have much consequence as it offsets Shazier’s TD that shouldn’t have been called back.

  59. Ravens fan who was rooting for the Steelers to win (to continue the Bengals 0’fer post season streak). That notwithstanding I was screaming at the TV after watching the instant replays that he never got his second foot down after the ball moved and before he totally regained control of the ball. I was wondering why none of the commentators mentioned it because the replays were pretty clear. I guess it’s one of those things that could be debated but if it were up to me I’d have overruled the ruling on the field.

  60. Watched it live… loved it then, love it now. It received a 10 point score, both feet down and full control with a front flip dismount.

    Bryant accepted Ben’s challenge and delivered a great catch.

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