The 2015 playoffs have had their share of controversy, with the usual assortment of bad calls and implementation of bad rules. This past weekend saw a few such examples, with a little bit of irony mixed in. The big plays were an implementation of the Calvin Johnson rule, and more questionable pass interference calls.
The Dallas Cowboys lost to the Green Bay Packers, and of course we saw the Dez Bryant non-catch play a huge role at the end of the game. Given the non-calls the Cowboys benefited from the week before, it was kind of funny to see them get hit on a controversial play. Of course, it is worth noting that the refs made the correct call. The Calvin Johnson rule was in effect, which means that as a player is going to the ground, he has to maintain control through the end of the play.
The officials looked at this as his momentum carried him through the play, as opposed to an overt football move. He had control of the ball as he came down, but then lost the ball as he hit the ground.
The question with this play is whether or not the competition committee should consider a change. In this play, one option would be that he had the ball and maybe should be considered down by contact at the 1-yard line. NFL VP of Officiating Dean Blandino was on the Dan Patrick Show Monday morning and he said that if Dez had been a runner instead of a catcher, he would have been fine. Would a potential change be that the ref needs to decide on replay if he had control before hitting the ground, and thus it would be a completed pass? Or do they keep the rule as is and just require control all the way to the end. Any change would potentially look at what would be a football move amidst all this.
Dez Bryant tweeted this out after the game:
as I went to the ground I rolled over and I tipped the ball to gain better control.. We lost and I accept it but please change that rule— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) January 12, 2015
One other issue Dean Blandino discussed was the ability to challenge pass interference calls. Blandino said there would be a "healthy discussion" about potentially implementing it. Last year, the New England Patriots submitted a proposal to make everything in a game eligible for instant replay. It was not voted on, but is likely to be back in some form or fashion this year.
Personally I think that makes the most sense because why would you not want to get everything right? If you do not change the number of challenges a team has in each half, does it not make sense to let them use the challenges as they see fit?