Thursday, January 15, 2015


Via SBNation we get the clips of the week (well, from last week's Packer-Cowboys game). Catch or no catch?


I say no catch. The ball touched the ground before Dez Bryant finished making the play. Look, if Bryant had made the same play as he was sliding out of bounds the catch would have been ruled incomplete. You can't use the ground to help you control the ball, which is what happened when the ball bounced up (a bounce that was caused by the ground) and was then finally caught in the end zone.

See in particular Note 2 and Item 1 below from Section 8.1.3 of the NFL rule book.

Article 3 Completed or Intercepted Pass. 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: 
(a) secures control of the ball in his hands or arms prior to the ball touching the ground; and 
(b) touches the ground inbounds with both feet or with any part of his body other than his hands; and 
(c) maintains control of the ball long enough, after (a) and (b) have been fulfilled, to enable him to perform any act common to the game (i.e., maintaining control long enough to pitch it, pass it, advance with it, or avoid or ward off an opponent, etc.). 
Note 1: It is not necessary that he commit such an act, provided that he maintains control of the ball long enough to do so.
Note 2: If a player has control of the ball, a slight movement of the ball will not be considered a loss of possession. He must lose control of the ball in order to rule that there has been a loss of possession. If the player loses the ball while simultaneously touching both feet or any part of his body to the ground, it is not a catch.  
Item 1: Player Going to the Ground. 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. 

So, yeah, you have to hold on to the ball through the entire process of catching the ball and hitting the ground. Dez Bryant didn't have control of it as he went through the end zone. End of story.

Here's the reaction to the no catch call inside the Cowboy's owners box. New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, is not too happy.

Still, maybe now Cowboy fans understand how Raider fans felt after the "tuck rule" was called.

OK, back to work.

- Mark

Hat tip to Tom for the original link.

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