Dallas Cowboys COO Stephen Jones said Tuesday that, upon further consideration, he believes NFL officials made the right call in determining that wide receiver Dez Bryant did not catch a ball during the closing minutes of a 2014 NFC playoff game against the Green Bay Packers.
“You know, as it turns out, according to the rule, I think the call was correct,” Jones told Fox Sports Southwest.
Jones’s comments came in the wake of a visit paid by NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino to Cowboys’ executives.
It is rare for Blandino to visit a team’s facility during the offseason instead of an NFL officiating supervisor, but Blandino felt he owed it to the team to make a personal appearance, according to Fox.
Blandino and the Cowboys’ organization reportedly reached a “consensus” that the call was correct during recent meetings after going through the play in detail.
Jones is, however, hoping to change the league’s rule so that future catches in the same vein aren’t ruled illegal.
In the fourth quarter of the Jan. 11 game with Green Bay leading 26–21, Bryant leapt to catch a pass from quarterback Tony Romo. On his way down to the ground, as Bryant moved toward the end zone, the ball hit the ground. After review, referees ruled the pass was incomplete.
“I applaud everything that Dean's done,” Jones said of Blandino’s officiating work. “I think he does a great job verbalizing, not only with the coaches and the players, but his officiating crews that he has out there on the field. And I think we're lucky to have Dean,” Jones said.
The Cowboys will start trying to put Bryant’s non-catch, which played a large role in the result of the playoff game and the end of the Cowboys’ season, behind them on Sept. 13 when they host the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football.