Over three years have passed, but it still rankles Dallas Cowboys fans. “It” of course being the infamous ruling that Dez Bryant did not catch a pass at the goalline against the Green Bay Packers during the playoffs following the 2014 season. While it was not the only thing that cost Dallas the game (I’m looking at you and your fumble, DeMarco Murray), it almost certainly cost the Cowboys a chance to take a late lead and made things much, much harder for them. The Packers would go on to win that game, in what turned out to be the last real shot for Tony Romo to lead Dallas to the Super Bowl, and really was the last really meaningful game of his injury-shortened career. It also gave birth to a meme that lives on to this day.
Dez Caught It pic.twitter.com/0aWDZf2CuM— DezCaughtIt (@__DezCaughtIt__) February 24, 2018
The NFL twisted itself into knots explaining why it wasn’t really a catch and overturning the call on the field was the correct decision. Many, including fans outside the Dallas base, never bought the twisted legalistic explanations. And following that play, the definition of what was and wasn’t a catch just got more and more confusing. A play would be ruled complete in one game, and then later a virtually identical one would be deemed incomplete - sometimes on the same Sunday.
Cowboys fans were told to quit living in the past, that it was the rules, and they were just upset because it was their team. Well, it looks like the NFL is finally admitting it was a blown call.
The NFL competition committee appears to have unanimous agreement that controversial catch rulings involving Dez Bryant and Calvin Johnson should have been ruled complete, according to Giants owner John Mara. So the committee, meeting in Indianapolis... https://t.co/OuKLHmdt4W— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) February 27, 2018
Had the Bryant catch been an isolated event, and the officials shown some consistency in subsequent games, it would just have been consigned to history. But the fact this situation came up again and again, and the NFL just kept splitting and re-splitting hairs in futile attempts at clarity, finally forced the owners to admit that it was an untenable situation that was directly affecting the quality of games. So now, maybe, the rule is going to be fixed.
Ironically, if the league’s review officials had just put a bit more emphasis on the need for clear visual evidence to overturn the ruling on the field that he caught it, and been less reliant on multiple slow motion replay angles in an attempt to circumcise a mosquito (to coin a phrase), this could all have been avoided. We will never know what could have happened with a modicum of common sense being applied.
But now, saying “Dez caught it” is not just us whining. It is the official view of the NFL. It doesn’t bring anything back, of course. It just lets us know we were right all along.