The Dallas Cowboys played a hard fought game versus the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night in Lambeau Field but couldn’t hold on, as they suffered a 21-26 loss which eliminated them from the second round of the 2015 NFL playoffs. The loss didn’t go without controversy, as Dallas star wide receiver Dez Bryant appeared to complete a spectacular catch near the end zone which could have placed his team in a position to score a touchdown. Instead, the catch was ruled incomplete which resulted in a turnover on downs, ending all hopes of the Cowboys extending their postseason run. Cowboy fans were devastated as debate began to spread across the internet regarding the validity of Bryant’s incomplete catch and how the “Calvin Johnson Rule” clearly negates any doubt.
The writers and contributors here at Sports Unbiased continue the discussion and offer to shed more light on the Dez Bryant catch and whether the refs made the right call.
Did Dez Bryant complete the catch or did the refs make the right call?
Adam Solowiei: It is troubling that yet another Cowboy playoff game revolves around a call or lack thereof. This time it went against Jerry Jones and crew. If you read the intent of the rule then this was not a catch. When he went down he lost control and thus made the pass incomplete. If you read the rule it spells it out. But, is it that simple? It is the judgment of the referee as to whether or not he made a football move. In this instance, Dez Bryant took three steps and reached for the end zone. Heading to the ground his elbow touched and the play could have been ruled a catch and down by contact at the one yard line.
It is hard to make a definitive call. While many are sure that it was or was not, I am in the camp of the ruling on the field should stand. Since it was a catch on the field it should have stayed. If it had been incomplete on the field I would have felt the same way. There is not enough room for clarity in the rule. I see this one changing over time much like the tuck rule made famous by Tom Brady.
Zach Bigalke: As the NFL’s rules on what constitutes a catch are written, the officiating crew ultimately made the right call. I understand that the letter of the law was served by the decision to reverse the call on the field. But even I, an admittedly rabid Packers fan, was flabbergasted that it actually played out in this fashion. I jumped out of my chair, despondent that Bryant had made a highlight-reel snag of the ball. I was irate at Mike McCarthy when he first decided to throw the challenge flag on the play, thinking it was a no-brainer reception. And I was speechless when the call was actually reversed. I don’t think the call was the only reason why Green Bay won the game — even if the call had gone the Cowboys’ way and Dallas had scored a touchdown at that juncture, there was still plenty of time left and the Packers had been moving the ball well in the fourth quarter. But it is another instance where the NFL is legislating its most magical moments into non-existence, and it’s a shame that what we’ll remember most from a hard-fought performance between two legendary franchises at one of the sport’s most hallowed venues is this controversial replay decision.
Bobby Bourhis: Although Dez Bryant made an outstanding effort, and had possession of the ball for some time, the referees absolutely made the correct call, ruling it an in-completion. To any casual fan there is no doubt that this looked like a catch, but if you go through the NFL rule book, you will discover that it is in fact, an in-completion. Despite appearing to catch the ball in the air, the ball popped out as he made contact with the ground. This is a play that occurs on countless occasions throughout the season and is almost always called the same way. The frustration from Dez and the Cowboy nation comes as no surprise, because the call was very close, but ultimately, the better team won and Dallas should be proud of the accomplishments they made this season.
Keith Rivas: I can only imagine the kind of lost, miserable world that Dez Bryant finds himself in right now. It appears that karma has taken a serious bite out of the poor man’s soul and now he must look around in desperation for the approval and/or forgiveness of anybody–I mean anybody. While it was a great throw by Romo on a fourth-and-must late in the game, the referees (unfortunately) got it right by what the rule book defines a legitimate catch to be. But, and I don’t say but lightly, there is hope for Dez Bryant, Calvin Johnson, and the others who have been affected by the incredibly awkward, unnecessary, and detrimental definition. While yes, the refs did do their job and their duty properly this time, it feels like the Cowboys definitely got robbed.
Even so, they have more to look forward to in my opinion than the Green Bay Packers do in the next couple seasons, including next year. Let’s just hope this doesn’t affect how the contract negotiations go for Dez & the Cowboys as it is now time for that to become a major concern in Big D.
Jr. Williams: I guess ill have to play devils advocate. By rule the catch was incomplete, however, if you look at the video, it appears Bryant took three steps forward before falling to the ground– which constitutes a football play. After reviewing several camera angles, I was positive he completed the catch, but you have to give Packers head coach Mike McCarthy credit for challenging the play. In the end, Bryant should have controlled the ball better and just settled for completing the pass near the goal line. The catch was amazing but you can’t hang the result of the game on a single play–the Cowboys had several missed opportunities to change the outcome of the game.
The Cowboys had an amazing year and should look forward to the 2015-2016 NFL season. In the end, I can guarantee there were some lessons learned among the members of the Cowboys roster– and in the words of Detroit Lions fans “karma is a bitch”.