Today at 10:41 PM
Ok, I know that I am not a Referee for the NFL or a NFL executive but this the low down on the CATCH with a three-part analysis.
FIRST PART: Dez Bryant caught the ball with two hands and in the process of making the catch tucks the ball under his right arm. VERY IMPORTANT TO NOTE: By this time he had taken two steps and completed the catch.
SECOND PART: After securing the catch and having two feet inbounds he TRANSFERS the ball to his left hand and takes the third step lunging for the end zone. IMPORTANT: Dez transfers the ball to his outside arm (and dominant hand) which is a football move (section C) and takes the third step lunging for the end zone (also a football move and section C).
THIRD PART: His left knee, thigh and right forearm all touch the ground before his left arm and the ball. At this point he had made the catch, secured two feet in bounds, transferred the ball to the outside arm and lastly lunged toward the end zone which is a football move. As soon as his left knee touches the ground he was down. The NFL should have never even looked at the play past this point. (Any reference to fumble, etc. are mute as well).
Final thoughts: The biggest argument from the NFL and Cowboy haters is that he lost the ball in the process of the catch and that he has to maintain possession throughout this process. However, It is clearly defined in the rules (below) by the criteria in sections a, b and C that had made the catch before contact with the Dez Bryantground was made. What was interesting is that every play back in every major media market missed the above image. In slow motion video it is easy to determine that he was down. Regardless of the process of the catch phrase Dez Bryant was down by contact when his left knee, thigh and right forearm hit the ground before the left arm came into contact with the ground. The NFL made a mistake and hopefully they will fix the mechanism of this silly rule and restore the integrity of the game.
I am not a Cowboy fan but a fan of the game.
NFL Rule Book: Blue are applicable to this play.
(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.). If his third step was out of bounds, he would have not lunged and the play would have been ruled a catch.
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.
Item 2: Sideline Catches. If a player goes to the ground out-of-bounds (with or without contact by an opponent) in the
process of making a catch at the sideline, he must maintain complete and continuous control of the ball throughout
the process of contacting the ground, or the pass is incomplete.
Item 3: End Zone Catches. The requirements for a catch in the end zone are the same as the requirements for a catch in
the field of play.
Note: In the field of play, if a catch of a forward pass has been completed, after which contact by a defender causes the ball to
become loose before the runner is down by contact, it is a fumble, and the ball remains alive. In the end zone, the same
action is a touchdown, since the receiver completed the catch beyond the goal line prior to the loss of possession, and the
ball is dead when the catch is completed.
Item 4: Ball Touches Ground. If the ball touches the ground after the player secures control of it, it is a catch, provided
that the player continues to maintain control.