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Three years later, the NFL now says Cowboys' Dez Bryant did, in fact, catch it

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Three years later, the NFL now says Cowboys' Dez Bryant did, in fact, catch it

The results are in and Dez Bryant did, in fact, catch it. 

Three years ago, during the Cowboys' 2014 NFC playoff game against the Green Bay Packers, the argument about what exactly is a catch in the NFL began.

The refs ruled that wide receiver, Dez Bryant did not maintain possession throughout the process of going to the ground, eliminating what would have been an easy set up for a touchdown. Cowboys fans and many around the league disagreed with the call.

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According to New York Giants owner and NFL competition committee member, John Mara, the league reached a unanimous agreement that it should be ruled a completion in the future. They've also acknowledged that it's time to create a clear definition of what a catch is to prevent further confusion. 

The current definition states, "a player is considered to be going to the ground if he does not remain upright long enough to demonstrate that he is clearly a runner. 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 until after his initial contact with 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."

The issue of what exactly defines a catch these days in the NFL came to a head in 2017 during the Steelers' Week 15 games against the New England Patriots.

Down by three with 34 seconds left in the game, Jesse James caught what appeared to be a touchdown before refs overturned it saying he did not maintain possession and complete the process of a catch upon hitting the ground. They not only lost the game because of the call, but would eventually lose the No. 1 seed in the AFC. 

The Jesse James play, I think should be a completion, Mara said, but I'm not sure we're unanimous on that. But plays where guys seem to make the catch and then make a football move with it, I think most of us agree those should be completions. Now it's just a question of coming up with the right language.

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 Commissioner Roger Goodell is in agreeance that a proper dialect needs to be written. The rule-change discussion typically happens March 25-28 at the annual owners meeting in Orlando, Florida. 

It's easy to say the rule has got to be changed, but coming up with the right language is a challenge.

At his annual "State of the Ravens" press conference, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti called the whole thing "stupid."

"I think sometimes things have to get really, really bad before there is change. I bet you that there is going to be a significant change in that. A football move? I mean, how you can catch the ball, get both feet down, turn towards the end zone and start diving for it, and they say it’s not a football move? No. It’s stupid.”

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The NFL 'failed' with pass interference replay rule, NFL exec Troy Vincent says

The NFL 'failed' with pass interference replay rule, NFL exec Troy Vincent says

The NFL admits that it failed last year with a botched implementation of its pass interference replay reviews. That will have an impact on any new rules going forward. 

Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, told NBC’s Peter King on Friday that the league has learned its lesson: Rules will not be rushed. The NFL will do its best to figure out the real-world consequences before pushing changes that do more harm than good. 

That was clearly the case with the pass interference rule, which was applied so inconsistently last season that the Competition Committee didn’t even forward it for a vote to extend it at an owners’ meeting last month. Upcoming proposed rule changes on onsides kicks and the use of a sky judge – a member of the officiating crew who would be in the press box at a video monitor – are on the table during an NFL owners’ video conference meeting on May 28. 

“We cannot fail this year,” Vincent told King. “We saw, a year ago, when [the pass-interference rule] played out, starting with myself, what we put in place last year . . . Those outcomes were not good for professional football. Because we didn’t do the proper due diligence, it played out publicly. The last thing people should be talking about is the way the game is officiated. They [officials] should be faceless objects, managing and facilitating game flow.

“We failed. I’m first in line. I shared that [with league officials]. I failed, as the leader of that department. I failed. We cannot allow that to happen again. What did we learn from that? We’ve got to do our due diligence. You can’t rush and just shove something in there without knowing all the consequences. And we found that out last year, live and in action, publicly.”

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Ron Rivera's first meeting with Redskins: Nick Sundberg, Tress Way share details

Ron Rivera's first meeting with Redskins: Nick Sundberg, Tress Way share details

Ron Rivera spoke to roughly 130 people on Zoom last week — including players, other coaches and support staff — in what was his first truly team-wide meeting with the Redskins.

Rivera's goal that day was to establish the kind of culture he's aiming to build in Washington, and while he clearly would've preferred to lay that foundation in person, he still hoped everyone came away from the meeting with a solid idea of his vision.

Well, according to Tress Way and Nick Sundberg, the coach accomplished that — and much more. 

"I think I ran downstairs and I might’ve tackled my son Beau at two years old," Way told the Redskins Talk podcast during a long interview that also featured Sundberg. "It was like six or seven minutes and it was just intense."

Rivera's voice, Way explained, never became too loud as he addressed multiple levels of the organization. What he lacked in volume, however, he made up for with his message and the conviction he delivered it with, stressing to those in the conference that the Redskins would control their attitude, preparation and effort as long as he was leading the franchise.

"Now everybody knows the standard that is set," Way said. "And I’m telling you, in and out, this dude went through a few slides, there was no ifs, ands or buts. There was no confusion. You could not have misunderstood."

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Sundberg agreed with Way's assessment.

"That is exactly how he comes across in person, too," the longest-tenured Redskin said. "Super nice guy, easy to talk to, you can sit and tell stories and laugh and that sort of thing. But when it comes to talking shop, he’s honest and I appreciate that about him. I want to know exactly what you’re looking for from me and how you want me to do it. If I can’t do it, that’s on me. But at least give me the opportunity to tell me every single thing that’s expected of me."

Rivera will be Sundberg's third full-time coach with the Burgundy and Gold, following Mike Shanahan and Jay Gruden. Because the long snapper didn't leave the area until February, he had the chance to interact with Rivera face-to-face in the building. Those run-ins, as well as what Sundberg's seen online, have invigorated him.

"Any time you get new leadership," Sundberg said, "it should motivate you to look at yourself in the mirror and say, ‘Was I a part of the problem or am I part of the solution?’"

In this virtual offseason, the two experienced specialists have actually found themselves acting like rookies at times. While both typically get to every team function early, they're making sure to really stay on top of that now. Way is even doing what he can to spruce up how he looks in front of his laptop.

"Five minutes before that meeting was supposed to start, I logged on, made sure my lighting was good, made sure there was not anything going down on this side," he said.

"He definitely gets that out of people," Sundberg added. "They want to make sure everything is perfect because they don’t want to come off the wrong way."

Rivera's job with the Redskins is going to be a demanding one. Washington is starting this decade on the heels of one of its worst ever, and he's being trusted to right the entire operation. 

Judging by these reviews, though, he's already pulled off one extremely challenging task, and that's holding a smooth Zoom meeting where what was supposed to be communicated was successfully communicated. If he can do that, then the whole winning football games thing should be a breeze.

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