NFL Reaches Landmark Decision Concerning Dez Bryant Non-Catch Controversy

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The 2014 NFL season came to a head in the NFC Championship game between the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers. The Packers was up by five points and time was running out. Tony Romo threw a pass to Dez Bryant, who caught it before coming down on the one-yard-line. It was not a touchdown for Dallas, but it would have put them one yard away from a Super Bowl appearance. The replay official overturned the catch, and it brought back memories of the Calvin Johnson non-catch from 2010. On Tuesday, ESPN reported that the NFL competition committee got together and unanimously decided that those catches will be ruled as completions in the future.

The New NFL Reception Ruling

For the past eight years, NFL fans have complained about the officiating — especially when it comes to receptions and what constitutes a catch. Even Vince McMahon mocked the NFL catch rules when announcing that he was bringing back the XFL.

That all changes now. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell asked the NFL competition committee to study the catch issue and determine a course of action. Their studies, according to New York Giants owner John Mara, is unanimous. He stated that both the Dez Bryant catch and the Calvin Johnson catch were both completions. Mara said that they would write the language in the NFL rulebook that makes them completions in the future.

NFL Reaches Landmark Decision Concerning Dez Bryant Non-Catch Controversy
Featured image credit: Rex ArbogastAP Images

The Past NFL Catch Controversies

The Dez Bryant catch that officials overturned was the difference between the Dallas Cowboys possibly making it to the Super Bowl or staying home. They stayed home, and Tony Romo retired without ever making it to a Super Bowl.

The Calvin Johnson catch that officials overturned was even worse. Johnson caught the ball for a touchdown and had control of the ball. Johnson was hit after making the reception, and the ball popped loose after he fell to the ground. Because the ball popped loose after he hit the ground in the end zone, the official overturned the touchdown.

This NFL no-catch rule, which many dubbed the “Calvin Johnson rule,” took effect again in 2017. Jesse James caught a touchdown pass and reached over the goal line for the touchdown. However, it was also ruled a no-catch since he touched the ground with the ball when he reached over the goal line.

Unfortunately, while Mara said that the Dez Bryant no-catch and Calvin Johnson no-catch were completions by a unanimous decision, the James catch was not. Mara said that he believes James caught the touchdown pass but some other members were not so sure.

According to Mara, when a player makes a catch and then makes a “football move,” such as when Dez Bryant reached for the pylons in the Dallas Cowboys vs. Green Bay Packers game, it will be a completion from now on. The new rules should be implemented when they meet at the league meetings in March.