Dez gets a do-over

Cow­boys’ Bryant can’t es­cape ‘in­com­ple­tion’

Hawaii Tribune Herald - - SPORTS -

FRISCO, Texas — Dez Bryant still gets stopped all the time by peo­ple who are sure the of­fi­cials blew the re­play on the Dal­las re­ceiver’s fa­mous catch that wasn’t in a play­off loss at Green Bay two years ago.

And the 2014 All-Pro fig­ures if the Cow­boys go on to win the Su­per Bowl as the top seed in the NFC, that play will be what fans want to talk to him about. Even if he wins another Su­per Bowl next year. And so on.

“Even if we were to win four or five Su­per Bowls, peo­ple still go­ing to be like, ‘He still caught it,’” Bryant said Thurs­day. “That’s what it’s go­ing to be.”

The Cow­boys (13-3) get a di­vi­sional-round re­match with the Pack­ers on Sun­day, this time at home. And while Bryant knew from the mo­ment Green Bay (11-6) beat the New York Gi­ants last week­end in the wild­card round that the dis­puted play would dom­i­nate the con­ver­sa­tion, he’s play­ing the part that coach Ja­son Gar­rett would pre­fer.

“I don’t even care,” Bryant said when asked if that mo­ment was his first thought af­ter the Pack­ers won. “That was 2014. There’s no ex­tra mo­ti­va­tion, there’s no noth­ing. If there’s any mo­ti­va­tion it’s just to pre­pare bet­ter than the last time.”

The most no­table change for the Cow­boys since then is at quar­ter­back, with rookie Dak Prescott win­ning 11 straight games in the reg­u­lar sea­son to take Tony Romo’s job once Dal­las’ 10-year starter was ready to re­turn from a pre­sea­son back in­jury.

Back then, Romo gam­bled on fourth-and-2 from the Green Bay 32 with 4 1/2 min­utes re­main­ing. Bryant made a leap­ing grab over Sam Shields around the 2 and lunged for the end zone. What hap­pened with the ball will be de­bated for­ever, some say­ing Bryant had con­trol through­out the catch, oth­ers say­ing the ground jarred it loose briefly.

Ref­eree Gene Ster­a­tore had the only opin­ion that mat­tered, and he ruled upon re­view af­ter the play was called a re­cep­tion that Bryant didn’t con­trol the ball all the way through the catch. Two years later, peo­ple are still dis­sect­ing the re­play. Gar­rett isn’t among them.

“There’s a guy named Dean Blandino up in New York,” Gar­rett said, re­fer­ring to the NFL’s head of of­fi­cials. “He’s a great guy to ask. He’s a great con­ver­sa­tion­al­ist and he’s very in­formed in these sit­u­a­tions. If you get a chance, reach out to him.”

The Cow­boys trailed 26-21 when they turned it over on downs af­ter the re­ver­sal, and Aaron Rodgers led a clock-killing drive that cov­ered the fi­nal four min­utes. The Green Bay quar­ter­back took three knees to end the game, of­fer­ing another rea­son that the catch didn’t cost the Cow­boys the vic­tory.

Prescott was a ju­nior at Mis­sis­sippi State then, so he un­der­stand­ably dis­missed it as “ir­rel­e­vant” this week. Of course, he had a hand in that by re­plac­ing the one who threw the pass with the best rookie sea­son in fran­chise his­tory.

Af­ter about five ques­tions, Bryant had his fill as well.

“Hey, man, we’re not go­ing to talk about the catch,” he said. “Yeah, of course it was tough. It was heart­break­ing. It ended our sea­son.”

And that will al­ways be part of the de­bate as well.

Associated Press

Dez Bryant’s non­catch in Dal­las’ play­off loss at Green Bay in 2015 is much talked about ahead of the re­match.

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