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Rules, interpretations make NFL frustrating

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) makes a would be catch over Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields (37) late in the fourth quarter on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. The play was ruled a catch but was overturned via instant replay.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) makes a would be catch over Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields (37) late in the fourth quarter on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. The play was ruled a catch but was overturned via instant replay. TNS

Rules, interpretations make NFL frustrating

Everybody watching Sunday’s Cowboys-Packers NFC divisional playoff game in Green Bay saw this to be true:

Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant reached high to catch – with both hands – a gutsy, beautiful pass by Tony Romo over the outstretched arms of Packers defender Sam Shields.

He caught it. We saw it.

But the NFL has become such a sophisticated and swirling vortex with so many underlying rules to the simplest things – like, say, a pass reception – we no longer can decipher right from wrong, fumble from knee down, completion from incompletion.

The frustrating thing about the critical call in the Packers’ 26-21 victory was it was correct by NFL rules. Bryant lost control of the ball when it hit the ground. But had the refs ruled that Bryant made a “football move” by taking two steps with the ball – which he did – the Cowboys would have had first down on the Packers’ 1-yard line.

The refs, however, claim Bryant was stumbling and not running, and what we saw, basically, was nothing more than a mirage of red tape.

The game used to be simple. A catch was a catch. A fumble was a fumble. But with so many new rules and interpretations to those rules – there are more than 100 pages in the officials’ book – implemented through the years, the game is much more complicated and ultimately frustrating to fans than necessary.

Don’t be surprised if one day there is a rule that rewards a receiver with a completion when the ball bounces off the turf and into a player’s hands.

You don’t have to believe your eyes, just accept it.

– Victor Contreras

vcontreras@sacbee.com


What to watch

NBA, Kings vs. Mavericks,

7 p.m., CSNCA: The Kings’ fate has centered around their defense the past few games.


Twitter chatter

@KingJames (LeBron James): “What is the definition of a catch or not in the NFL? I really wanna know? No one can answer the ?”


On this date

2009: Orlando makes an NBA-record 23 three-pointers in a 139-107 win in Sacramento.

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