NFL referees were accused of favoring the Dallas Cowboys on Wild Card Weekend. What a difference a week can make.
Down 26-21 to the Green Bay Packers in Sunday’s NFC Divisional playoff, Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant made a leaping 31-yard catch near the goal line that would have put the team in line to take the lead.
On the field the play was initially ruled a catch at the one-yard line, but Packers head coach Mike McCarthy decided to challenge and the call was overturned. The Packers would take possession and kill the clock for a spot in the NFC title game against the Seattle Seahawks next week.
Now many will ask if the Cowboys were robbed of a chance for their first NFC championship in nearly 20 years.
Based off several replay views, Bryant made the catch in the air and then came down with at least one foot making contact with the ground. Bryant also appears to make a move for the end zone, trying to score a touchdown. During the lunge the ball touches the ground, though still in his possession, and pops out slightly.
The NFL’s official rulebook states: “a forward pass is complete (by the offense) or intercepted (by the defense) if a player, who is inbounds: (a) secures control of the ball in his hands or arms prior to the ball touching the ground; and (b) touches the ground inbounds with both feet or with any part of his body other than his hands and (c) maintains control of the ball long enough, after (a) and (b) have been fulfilled, to enable him to perform any act common to the game (i.e., maintaining control long enough to pitch it, pass it, advance with it, or avoid or ward off an opponent, etc.).
“Note 1: It is not necessary that he commit such an act, provided that he maintains control of the ball long enough to do so.
“Note 2: If a player has control of the ball, a slight movement of the ball will not be considered a loss of possession. He must lose control of the ball in order to rule that there has been a loss of possession.”
Twitter reaction immediately following the play was heavily in favor of the Cowboys and Bryant.
I by no means cheer for Dallas but I have no idea what or how thts not called a catch . Thts a joke
— Odell Beckham Jr (@OBJ_3) January 11, 2015
â€” Wally Szczerbiak (@wallyball) January 11, 2015
Another week, another playoff Sunday when the biggest story is the officiating. Not good, NFL.
— J.A. Adande (@jadande) January 11, 2015
— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguy) January 11, 2015
— Micah Tannenbaum (@mjtbaum) January 11, 2015
— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) January 11, 2015