FRISCO, Texas –Seriously … seriously … did we really have to wait three years for some NFL entity to finally say "that was a catch" by Dez Bryant in the 2014 season playoff game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field's 1-yard line?
We all knew that. You knew it. I knew it. Dez knew it. Packers cornerback Sam Shields, who was covering Dez, knew it. Even admitted it. The official ruling the Tony Romo 36-yard pass certainly knew it, since he was standing no more than a few feet away when ruling a completion on the leaping catch and stretch for the end zone.
And I'll guarantee you the majority of the good Cheeseheads in the stadium knew it, too, but were hoping beyond hope Packers head coach Mike McCarthy's challenge would lead to a reversal in that second-round playoff game so the Pack could advance into the NFC title game in Seattle and the 13-3 Cowboys would have to return home, missing yet another shot at the NFC title game.
Why, the only two people who didn't know it was a catch were NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino, assisting in the video replay from Fifth Avenue in New York, and head referee Gene Steratore, positioned some 50 yards behind the play before going under the hood.
Unfortunately for the Cowboys, their two opinions were the only ones that counted, ruling the pass was incomplete, insisting Dez had not made a football move before going to the ground and maintaining control since the ball momentarily popped out of his grasp that he corralled again.
Well, the NFL Competition Committee is meeting in Indianapolis this week during the NFL Scouting Combine, and on its agenda is to address the catch/no-catch controversy plaguing the league since no one seems capable of properly administering the rule as written.
And lo' and behold, out comes Giants owner John Mara, a Competition Committee member, saying on Tuesday, "I think where we are unanimous, plays like the Dez Bryant play in Green Bay, going to the ground, (and) the Calvin Johnson play from a couple of years ago, I think all of us agree that those should be completions. So let's write the language to make them completions."
And when they write the language, make sure to include that when a player makes an incredibly uncommon football move normal guys will never make, then takes two steps and has the wherewithal with the game on the line to then reach out for the goal line before hitting the ground, the darn grass-lined earth cannot cause a fumble nor an incompletion.
There, my Shot fired … again.
- Tell Me Why:The NFL just can't figure out when to leave well enough alone, can it? It seems the league has enjoyed nearly two months of tranquility following a season wracked with turmoil that cost itself TV viewership thanks to player backlash during the national anthem after the president called them names upon admonishing them, suspensions and court cases. But no, now we hear the league supposedly wants to financially slap the pocketbook of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones for stalling out commissioner Roger Goodell's contract extension to the tune of a cool, few million dollars. I mean, now? Why rip the scab off the distracting wound? For petty revenge while finding an obscure rule to do so, now saying Jerry's dispute with Goodell's deal has cost them money he needs to repay. Which you know Jones will appeal, prolonging the discussion in public even further. Guess these dissenting owners, supposedly, think Jones' selection into the Pro Football Hall of Fame that they had nothing to do with is repayment enough for Jones' maverick ideas that stuffed millions into their pockets.
- Iconic Irony: Make no mistake, not lost was the irony of the Smithsonian's American Museum of Natural History officially including the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader uniform, 1977 ground-breaking poster, Mattel DCC-themed Barbie Dolls and assorted memorabilia on Monday into perpetuity taking place in Washington D.C., the heart of Redskin country. Imagine that. Neatest part of the ceremony that will have a DCC permanent display come 2020 was the keepers of the DCC, longtime director Kelli Finglass and choreographer Judy Trammell, along with Cowboys executive vice president Charlotte Jones Anderson, including in the ceremony Paula Van Wagoner. She was the person who designed the iconic uniform in two days back in 1972 at the behest of then Cowboys president Tex Schramm, whose only instructions were to come up with a design that was comfortable to dance in, had a Texas theme and was sexy. Think about that: This ground-breaking design, taking the Cowboys Cheerleaders from sweaters and pleated skirts worn by high school-age cheerleaders to more revealing dancers dressed in modern-day, two-piece vested-bloused tops and hot pants, along with white go-go boots, has basically survived the test of time for more than 46 years. Nice tribute to the DCC and Paula, who humbly designed the uniform and then basically faded into the background until finally being given her rightful due.
- Caution Flag:Just want to point out – again – with this notion the Cowboys need to either reduce the impact of Dez Bryant's $16.5 million cap hit in 2018 – see pay cut – or outright cut him after his average 2017 season, what happens if he's not here. The Cowboys do not have a soul currently under contract capable of becoming a No. 1 receiver. Those defenses aren't doubling anyone but Dez. You say draft a guy? Not exactly a great wide receiver group, and remember, rookie receivers notoriously struggle with the transition to the NFL game. Sign a free agent? In a recent ranking of the top presumed unrestricted free agents, only two receivers are ranked in the top 30: No. 5 Allen Robinson, who after a fine rookie season struggled in 2016 with the Jaguars, and then missed all of 2017 from a torn ACL. How much you want to invest in him? And at No. 7 is Sammy Watkins, who after two, 60-catch seasons in Buffalo, put up only 28 in an injury-shortened 2016 and then was traded to the Rams this past season where he did average 15.9 yards a catch, but only 39 of them. After that, the next receiver is Terrelle Pryor at 31. Hmmmm. Better be careful when taking Shots at Dez.