Bryant faces Pack again af­ter de­nied catch

The Reporter (Lansdale, PA) - - SPORTS - By Schuyler Dixon

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 (116) beat the New York Gi­ants last week­end in the wild-card 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 ½ 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.”


In this Jan. 11, 2015, file photo, Dal­las Cow­boys wide re­ceiver Dez Bryant (88) grabs a pass against Green Bay Pack­ers cor­ner­back Sam Shields (37) dur­ing the sec­ond half of an NFL di­vi­sional play­off foot­ball game in Green Bay, Wis. Bryant still gets stopped all the time by peo­ple who are sure the refs blew the re­play on the Dal­las re­ceiver’s fa­mous catch that wasn’t.

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