….and Gene Steratore said so. Who is Gene Steratore? He was the guy in stripes who announced to the world that the call on the field was overturned and the pass to Dez Bryant was incomplete.
That’s what makes the situation so sad for the NFL, and NFL fans…not just fans of the Dallas Cowboys.
The Divisional Playoff game between Dallas and Green Bay on Sunday wasn’t decided by the overturned call that took away an apparent Dez Bryant catch, but the call certainly had a huge impact on the game. Instead of 1st and goal from the one for Dallas, the ball changed hands and Green Bay took over.
The game wasn’t over, but it felt like it was.
The question, of course, is whether or not the NFL correctly applied all of it’s rules. The answer, despite what Dean Blandino (the NFL’s officiating czar, who ultimately made the call to overturn) says, is no, they did not.
Gene Steratore, the referee of the game who made the announcement during the game that the call on the field was overturned.
When did he say it?
After the game. The referee is always interviewed by a single reporter, and that reporter provides a pool report so that the media has some quotes about the game from an official without the official being subjected to a full-bore press conference.
From Sunday’s pool report:
“Although the receiver is possessing the football, he must maintain possession of that football throughout the entire process of the catch. In our judgment, he maintained possession but continued to fall and never had another act common to the game. We deemed that by our judgment to be the full process of the catch, and at the time he lands and the ball hits the ground, it comes loose as it hits the ground, which would make that incomplete; although he re-possesses it, it does contact the ground when he reaches so the repossession is irrelevant because it was ruled an incomplete pass when we had the ball hit the ground.”
It’s really great that he said these things in the order that he did. It makes my explanation easier.
- The referee, Gene Steratore, states that Bryant is possessing the ball.
- He then states that Bryant would have had to make a “move common to the game” in order to have a completed catch prior to falling to the ground.
- He then states that the ball contacts the ground when Bryant reaches.
Reaches. Not….”falls”. Not….”is tripped”. Not…”stumbles”. Reaches.
Football players reach…all the time. Going out of bounds? Reach forward to try to gain an extra yard as you go out (Barring some freak injury, I 100% guarantee that Russell Wilson will run out of bounds while reaching forward with the ball at least one time during Sunday’s NFC Championship game). 3rd and 1? Watch the QB or RB reach out with the ball to try to get a first down. Near the end zone? Watch a player reach for the goal line to try to break the plane and score a touchdown. Scoring is the entire point of the game, after all.
Wait a minute. Where was Dez Bryant when he, according to the referee of the game, Gene Steratore, reached? He was moving toward the end zone with the ball. Reaching is….
an act common to the game
…..which is all it was supposed to have taken, according to Gene Steratore, to make Bryant’s catch a legal one under NFL rules.
So, in a nutshell, according to the guy who announced that the pass was incomplete, it should have been a catch.