By Michael Burke – THE HOSTILE COWBOY
This is merely my opinion, and no one has to agree of course. That is a benefit of living in a free society, we all get to think for ourselves. But all the NFL did with regards to rewriting the rule that overturned the Dez Bryant catch in the NFC Divisional game against the Green Bay Packers, was to rewrite the rule in a way that sort of justifies the mistake they made in that game by overturning the call on the field in the first place. To demonstrate this let’s first look at how the “Calvin Johnson” rule was originally written.
Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3, Item 1 of the NFL Rule Book (page 51) states;
“A player who makes a catch may advance the ball. A forward pass is complete (by the offense) or intercepted (by the defense) if a player, who is inbounds: if a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact with an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball after he touches the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.”
Now let’s look at how the rule has been rewritten.
“A player who makes a catch may advance the ball. A forward pass is complete (by the offense) or intercepted (by the defense) if a player, who is inbounds: If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent), he must maintain control of the ball throughout the process of contacting the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, the pass is incomplete. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, the pass is complete.
All right, now let’s dissect how stupid everyone is who supports this rule. First of all, how many people who are not affiliated with the Dallas Cowboys spoke up and said the play was a catch? Let’s be honest here, the reason this is a topic at all is because the wording was, and is, so stupid that it galls people. Just like the “Tuck Rule” did. I’m not a Raiders fan. I have never been a Raiders fan. In fact I hate them if you want to know the absolute truth. They got screwed. It is just that simple. And because they got screwed people have a visceral reaction to a stupid rule, or the interpretation of it. That’s what is happening again.
John Mara, the owner of the New York Giants, does not love the Cowboys. He’s the guy who cooked up the whole “spirit of the salary cap” collusion efforts to punish two division rivals during the non CBA year. When John Mara says he is not comfortable with the ruling on the play you know something with the ruling, or the interpretation of it, is incredibly wrong. What was wrong? The easy answer is everything.
I couldn’t have told you who Dean Blandino was until this play happened. I sort of remember him from the Calvin Johnson catch trying to explain to me why it wasn’t a catch, and why a Julius Thomas catch was. By the way, he totally contradicts himself regarding the Dez Bryant catch by his explanations of those two plays. All credit to blindzebra and percyhoward of CowboysOwn.com for pointing that out. I sort of realize that he and Mike Pereira try and explain for the fans the jobs the referees are doing. I now consider him to be the dumbest person associated with the NFL, followed closely by Pereira. He may be a very bright guy, and I am sure he is, but to me he looks stupid. So does Referee Gene Steretore who wrongly overruled the call on the field. That’s right I said wrongly. I will get to that in this article.
Here is why I say that above. First of all let’s talk about plays we have all seen hundreds of times, sideline or endzone catches. What is needed to call it a catch? Two feet down and possession of the football. That is really all a catch is in the NFL. Forget all this shadowy semantics bull crap. If a player is in the field of play with possession of the football and two feet, or his body, down in bounds, it is a catch. Period. Point. Blank. In my not so humble opinion you don’t even need to take it any further than that, but as it turns out with regards to the Dez play, you can.
Dez Bryant goes up over Packers Cornerback Sam Shields and plucks the football out of the air. When he comes down does he get two feet in bounds? As a matter of fact he got three feet down. In my lifetime I have never seen another play overturned as an incomplete pass where a player got his feet to hit the ground three times. Rhetorical question for the “new ruling.” How many times does a player’s feet have to contact the ground for a catch to be complete? We now know it is more than three times. Is it complete after his feet hit the ground four times? Does it require ten? The truth is we do not know because Blandino and Pereira can’t explain why three isn’t enough on these plays when two is enough on the sideline, or in the endzone. That’s the true stupidity of this. Well, part of the stupidity any way. I will lay out more stupidity of it later.
Now let’s talk about possession, because we all know a player has to have possession of the football. Did Dez have the ball under his control? This to me is the critical question of the entire play. On the play Dez has both hands on the football, and then he takes one hand away. Ladies and gentlemen that is all the proof Steretore, Blandino, and Pereira should need to conclude that he had the football. Let me put this very succinctly. I have caught thousands of passes in my life. I loved playing catch as a kid. I played the game. It is physically impossible for a human being who does not have control of a football to take one of his hands away from the ball if he does not have it. It cannot be done folks. It is possible to lose control after taking one hand away; but no human being can take a hand away before they have control of the football. It is completely against our very instincts. Try it if you doubt me. I assume Dez is human. Perhaps Dean, Mike and Gene, the new three stooges, do not think he is.
This HOSTILITY will be continued