What was an incredible playoff game between the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys, will forever be remembered for the catch by Dez Bryant that was reversed.
Like many watching the game at the time, I was convinced that it was a great catch, but by the letter of the law, it should have been overturned because he did not control the ball going to the ground.
After the game, Mike Pereira, a former NFL official and the former vice president of officiating for the NFL, explained on FOX why the reversal was correct. But after listening to his explanation I am actually less convinced that the right call was made.
The issue comes with whether or not Bryant made “a football move” before losing control. If Bryant does make a football move, it is a catch. One example of a football move is stretching the ball towards the end zone, which it appears that Bryant did.
However, according to Pereira, it was not enough of a stretch.
“If you’re going to the ground, you have to prove that you have the ball long enough to perform an act common to the game and do so,” said Pereira. “And part of that is stretching all the way out and to me even though he moved the ball a little bit forward, they are not going to consider that a football act.”
And herein lies the problem.
Pereira admits Bryant stretches the ball towards the end zone, but apparently it wasn’t enough. So, now the official must determine the degree of stretching and reaching by the receiver as if they don’t have enough to worry about.
It would seem that the player either reaches with the ball or he doesn’t and Bryant pretty clearly tried to stretch the ball forward only being limited in actual distance by his shoulder pads.
After the game, Bryant was just as confused as anyone, saying he reached for the goal line and didn’t understand why it was overturned.
Dez Bryant: “What am I supposed to do? I’m just reaching for the goal line. I don’t understand.”
— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoNYDN) January 11, 2015
The NFL has one problem when something most observers agree is a great catch is being overturned on a technicality. They have another problem entirely when they are asking officials to judge degrees of stretching.
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