Dez Didn't Catch It
Yahoo.com’s very excellent Shutdown Corner blog caught my eye with a headline on Twitter today:
“Two years ago today,” they wrote, “Cowboys WR Dez Bryant was part of one of the most controversial plays in NFL history.”
I had to think for a minute which play it was, because I can’t remember any controversial plays that Dez Bryant had been a part of in January, other than the time he should have been flagged for running out onto the field without a helmet to argue a call.
But reading the article, it’s clear that they’re referring to the play in which Dez Bryant did not complete a fourth down catch at the Packers one yard line during the 2014 Divisional Round game at Lambeau Field.
The prevailing wisdom on the internet is that #DezCaughtIt, but this is silly. Look at the play:
Bryant and Packers cornerback Sam Shields jump for the ball together, Bryant grabs it and falls to the ground. The ball hits the ground and moves. The wider angle of the shot even shows the ball squirting out of Bryant’s hands, only to be corralled again as he rolls onto his back:
By way of a simple NFL rule, this is not a catch. Every person who has ever watched football with a remote inclination toward objectivity know that if the ball touches the ground during a catch, the receiver must maintain control of the ball, or it’s not a catch.
Dez Bryant did not do this. Dez Bryant did not catch the ball. Any attempt to argue that #Dezcaughtit is a willful misunderstanding of one of the simplest rules of football.
It wasn’t a catch and this is only a controversy if you want it to be.