Dez Bryant lobbies to help clarify catch rule
Dez Bryant has a message for Roger Goodell: Put me on the committee.
The Dallas Cowboys star is bullish about the effort that Goodell revealed last week, the formation of a committee of football experts charged to study and recommend a rule proposal that would better define a catch in the NFL.
“That’s cool!” Bryant told USA TODAY Sports, when told about the committee. “They need to invite me. Tell them they need to call me, so I can have my input.”
Bryant, gearing up for a return trip to Green Bay for Sunday’s game against the Packers, surely has the experience to offer some insight.
He was at the center of the playoffs' most controversial calls in January, when his apparent clutch catch during an NFC divisional game at Lambeau Field was reversed and ruled an incompletion by referee Gene Steratore's crew after the Packers challenged for a replay review.
It sure looked like a catch, even when considering the rule stipulates a player must maintain possession on a catch as he falls to the turf.
Then again, it’s a matter of interpretation.
Here’s what I saw: On fourth-and-2 from the Packers’ 32 with about 4 minutes on the clock, Bryant leaped above cornerback Sam Shields to snag Tony Romo’s pass along the sideline at the 5-yard line. He took three steps and as he cradled the football with his left hand, dove head-first toward the goal line. The football was jarred loose upon Bryant’s impact with the ground, but it doesn’t appear that the ball touched the turf. The ball was seemingly lodged against Bryant’s forearm. Bryant then rolled over on his back and secured the football with two hands, coming down just short of the end zone.
Yet rather setting up a potential than a go-ahead touchdown, the play was Dallas’ final offensive snap in a 26-21 season-ending loss.
“That’s football,” Bryant reflected as he got dressed in an empty visitor’s locker room at FedEx Field on Monday night. “But I’ll tell you this: I dwelled on that (expletive) for about a good two months. It was hard for me to watch (the rest of) the playoffs, just because ..."
Then Bryant shook his head.
“I was like, ‘Woo!’ “ he said.
Bryant’s so-called non-catch was a harbinger for more controversy this season about what constitutes a legal catch, which has prompted the action from the Commissioner. Goodell said last week during an NFL owners meeting in Dallas that he recently formed a committee that includes current and former general managers, and former players, to study the catch rule. The group then will form a proposal for the competition committee to consider for potentially another tweak to the rule.
“There are a lot of factors to consider,” Goodell said. “How it’s officiated, how it’s played, how it’s coached, how the fans react. We want clarity to that. We want to find a better solution if it’s out there.”
Bryant would surely vouch for that.
Follow Jarrett Bell on Twitter @JarrettBell