Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Catch That Wasn't a Catch

Throughout the NFL playoffs we have seen some really good games and it’s been a pretty exciting postseason. We get a treat of seeing a Russell Wilson vs Aaron Rodgers match-up as well as a Tom Brady vs Andrew Luck match-up. These are four of the premier quarterbacks in the NFL going up against one another. Okay maybe they aren’t going necessarily going up against each other, but it will be fun to watch four potent offenses. With that being said, one of the main topic of discussion with these playoffs will be the Dez Bryant catch that was not a catch. The rule needs to change as it took away a great play in a big moment of the game of the Packers vs Cowboys game. No one knows what the outcome of the game would have been if the call was not overturned but this rule is something that needs to be looked out after the season.

If you did not see or hear what happened in the Packers vs Cowboys game with the Dez Bryant call, I might just assume you live in a box. It was 4th and 2 yard sto go and Tony Romo threw a deep ball to Dez Bryant who made the catch but the officials determined he did not complete the process of making the catch.  Let’s take a look at the rule.

Rule 8, Section 1, 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.

Okay he passes both these rules. Now let’s look at the last part of the rule. 

(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.).

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.

This is where the officials determined he didn’t pass the rule. However, when you watch the play closely, it looks like he actually switches and takes the ball from his right hand to left hand and reaches out for the end zone.  After this the tip of the ball hits the ground which is the main factor that caused the play to be overturned.  It looks like he completed a football play, but the officials didn’t look at it that way.

This play was obviously a big factor in determining the outcome of the game. According to ESPN Stats and Info the Cowboys' win probability if Bryant catch was upheld: 56% ... Cowboys' win probability after catch overturned: 15%. So the question here is what can they change about this rule? I’m sure the NFL will take a long look at this rule in the offseason.


Alan Liang is a senior Drexel Sport Management major with minors in Marketing, Business Administration, and Communication from West Windsor, NJ. Alan scores baseball games for Baseball Info Solutions and was on co-op with the Philadelphia 76ers in the camps department. Follow Alan on Twitter @AlanLiang29. 

No comments:

Post a Comment