GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 11: Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys attempts a catch over Sam Shields #37 of the Green Bay Packers during the 2015 NFC Divisional Playoff game at Lambeau Field on January 11, 2015 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Initially ruled a catch, the call was reversed upon review.
Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

Former Packers Veteran Takes Shot At Dez Bryant Ahead of Cowboys Game

Nine years ago today, former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant was part of one of the most controversial calls in NFL history—the "Dez caught it" play, and former Green Bay Packers cornerback Casey Hayward still doesn't think it's a catch.

On X, Bryant posted a picture of the play.

"9 years ago. The whole world know I caught! I changed the game forever!" Bryant posted.

Well, Hayward, a member of the Packers at the time and a teammate to the cornerback in coverage, Sam Shields, provided his own opinion of the play.

"It was a drop gang!!!! 9 years counting still," Hayward posted.

For those that don't remember, the play happened with 4:42 to go in the fourth quarter of the Cowboys and Packers Divisional Round playoff game. The Cowboys had a 4th and 2 on the 32-yard line.

This post from five years ago shows the play.

From the shotgun, then-quarterback Tony Romo threw the ball downfield to Bryant, who was covered by Shields one-on-one. 

The play was originally ruled a catch, but it was overturned after a Mike McCarthy challenge. 

Referee Gene Steratore responded to the play to The Washington Post.

"Although the receiver is possessing the football, he must maintain possession of that football throughout the entire process of the catch. In our judgement he maintained possession but continued to fall and never had another act common to the game. We deemed that by our judgment to be the full process of the catch, and at the time he lands and the ball hits the ground, it comes loose as it hits the ground, which would make that incomplete; although he re-possesses it, it does contact the ground when he reaches so the repossession is irrelevant because it was ruled an incomplete pass when we had the ball hit the ground."

While this wasn't ruled a catch, it did have ripple effects across the NFL. Three years after the play, a new catch rule was established. The play would've been a Bryant catch if that rule had been in place.

After this play, the Packers would lose to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship game. Years later, McCarthy went on to be the head coach of the Cowboys.
McCarthy was asked about the catch/no-catch, and he gave a lengthy answer, ultimately ending with, "It was a great catch, I can say now, but it wasn't then... technically."
This play will forever be one of the greatest no-catch calls in NFL history.

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