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Dez Catch villain, index card savior, referee Gene Steratore is officially retiring

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So long, old friend.

NFL: NFC Divisional Playoff-New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Part of the magic of being an NFL fan is all of the details that occur throughout games.

The meat and potatoes are the teams, touchdowns, and all of that in between, but there’s so much more. There are stadiums, broadcasts, announcers, and yes, even referees.

Many of us have experienced many a football game through the “objective” lenses of various officials. One of the referees that’s been part of some more recognizable Cowboys moments in recent history hung up the zebra stripes on Friday. Gene Steratore is officially retiring.

There are literally every single one many Cowboys fans who are still upset with Steratore for his actions against the team back in January of 2015. It was Gene who overturned the call that would come to simply be known as the Dez Catch. You know the one.

Steratore immediately became the least-liked referee perhaps in the history of officiating with Cowboys fans. He denied us. He robbed us. It could be argued he altered NFL history.

Every call that Steratore made was at its root him doing his job. He acted in accordance with the NFL rules as he knew them, and there were definitely times where the Cowboys benefitted from his just cause.

Speaking of true and just cause (not at all anything we’ve never seen before), Gene made up a little bit of ground with all of us last December when the Cowboys visited the Raiders. After a critical fourth down attempt, the Cowboys looked to be a little short. Officials brought out the chains, but it was still impossible to discern whether or not they’d moved the sticks.

Gene did what any self-respecting NFL official would do in a situation like this. He pulled out an index card to measure whether or not the ball broke the invisible plane that the yardage marker represents. That’s totally normal.

It was a moment we’ll never forget. Gene likely feels the same considering his sly smirk at the tail end of the measurement. You did good, Gene. You did good.

Steratore will still stay in our lives to a degree. He’s reportedly joining CBS as a rules analyst. Tony Romo is definitely going to throw him some Dez Catch shade, right?

Enjoy retirement, old friend. Thanks for the good times.