Monday, January 12, 2015

Packers Shine, Cowboys Whine: "We Wuz Robbed!" - Hardly!

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant juggles the ball after catching a fourth-down pass at the goal line while defended by Packers cornerback Sam Shields. Initially ruled a catch, the call was overturned.
Dez Bryant clearly loses control of the ball in making a move,  hence pass was incomplete - anyone not blind or totally biased could see that!

Let us accept as a provisional proposition that if an NFL team is a major beneficiary of an overturned call one week it cannot piss and whine the next when one goes against its expectations. To fix ideas, the Dallas Cowboys were the beneficiaries of an overturned call the week before vs. the Detroit Lions in the Wild Card Round. The call originally was a "PI" (pass interference) and the flag was thrown by a ref. Minutes later it was mysteriously picked up and what was to have been a Detroit first down suddenly become 4th and one. Had the original call not been reversed Detroit, which had momentum, likely would have scored a 7 and essentially put the game beyond the reach of the Cowpokes.

The refs at the time of the overturn, never explained their reasoning - as Detroit players went apoplectic. Only much later did one Zebra (obviously at the behest of the NFL cognoscenti) assert the Cowboy corner was only doing "face guarding" which wasn't a penalty. But reviews on "NFL AM" the next morning saw Eric Davis as well as Deion Sanders and Warren Sapp calling bollocks, noting it was certainly at least a defensive holding penalty which would still have awarded a Detroit first down and five yards advance.

With the momentum now altered at a critical phase, the Boyz went on to take the game, 24-20.

Now, flash to yesterday's hyped up "Ice Bowl II" (which really wasn't, nowhere as cold a the original) in which the Boyz faced a 4th and two with just over 5 minutes left and the Pack leading 26-21.  Cowboys coach Jason Garrett called for his team to go for it - as he did in a similar situation the week before. The play appeared to result in star receiver Dez Bryant snatching a Romo pass near the 1 yard line.

But hold strain! As soon as the replay was shown (including on the Lambeau Jumbotron) , wifey (who's become a real football guru) and I immediately saw that Bryant had bobbled the ball and lost control of it when he hit the ground.  As I said to her:

"No freaking way in hell is that a completion. While the ground can't cause a fumble it can certainly cause an incompletion". (Which was established five years ago with the "Calvin Johnson rule" in another Detroit game vs. the Chicago Bears).

Wifey agreed, adding: "Then McCarthy ought to challenge the ruling!"

No sooner had the words slipped from her lips than Coach Mike did toss the flag - well he brought it out in view. Upon further review, the head ref Gene Steratore and the NFL determined it was an incomplete pass. (See the image above) The ball possession reverted to the Pack with just over 4 minutes left and the Boyz were in a state of shock, especially Dez Bryant - who, like his teammates- clearly didn't know the rule.

Steratore said it was clear to him that the ball hit the ground before Bryant lost it and re-gained control. Had the ball not hit the ground it would have been a completed pass because it ended up in Bryant's hands at the end of the play.  As he put it:

"There were a couple of angles that showed the ball actually hitting the ground and the receiver losing possession of it as well,"

He added:

"It comes loose as the ball hits the ground, which would make that incomplete. Although he repossesses it, it does contact the ground when he reaches."

For reference:


Rule 8, Section 1, Article 3

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.

The Pack then went on to retain possession and won 26-21. Maybe Coach Garrett needs to teach his "boys" remedial football 101.

Just sayin'.  I also think all the Cowboy sympathizers that set the Twittersphere on fire after the play need to learn NFL Rules 101 instead of spouting their ignorance. Some of the tweets posted on the Dallas news site, including from the likes of Lebron James (a basketball player) and others were hilarious - all belching, like Josh Duhamel: "Sorry, Packers fans, that was a catch!" and the "Cowboys were robbed!"

At least Deion Sanders'  tweet was rational and sane, observing the call was correct but "I hate the rule!" Well, fine - hate the damned rule but then get the NFL Competition Committee to review it! But for god's sake don't lamely blame the overturned original completion call on the Boyz' loss. There were many ways they lost this game even before the Bryant incident, including DeMarco Murray's fumble at a key stage and then Rodgers and the Pack taking advantage to get 7 pts.

Now, alternative universe time: Let's assume the call was not overturned and Dallas went in for the TD to make it 28-26 with just over 4 minutes left. Would the Cowboys win? Hell no! Had it been upheld, and Dallas scored, the Packers would get the ball back with more than ample time left for a winning field goal. Indeed, Green Bay was successful moving the ball on the Cowboy's defense in the 4th. Packers had 425 yards of offense. And when Dallas needed to stop Green Bay to have a chance after "the call" they COULD NOT DO IT. Packers would then have won with a FG anyway, 29-28. (Ok, the Boyz likely would have tried for 2 but I don't believe they'd have made it. Even if they had, AR was on fire and would have gotten a final TD to ice it, 33- 29)

No more boo hoo hoo,  Boyz fans. You got a break last week but not this week. Suck it up. The football gods giveth and they taketh away.

If you hate the call, fine. Write the NFL honchos at HQ in New York and demand the rule be changed. In other words, grow up, do something constructive, and stop whining and moaning.

See also:


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