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Stephen Jones: League to be in 'better place' with change to catch rule

ORLANDO – The Dallas Cowboys did not need to be told that Dez Bryant's reception in the 2014 divisional round of the playoffs was a catch, but going forward a play like Bryant’s will stand as a reception.

“A little too late,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones joked Monday at the NFL owners meetings.

Jones is a member of the Competition Committee and helped devise the change in which a catch is officiated. Bryant appeared to come down with a leaping catch of a Tony Romo pass on fourth down that would have given the Cowboys a first down at the Green Bay Packers' 1-yard line. Upon review, the call was overturned and the Cowboys left Lambeau Field with a bitter loss.

“In all seriousness I do think we’re going, in my mind a much better place for our fans, for the game in terms of what we’ve worked on in the Competition Committee,” Jones said. “I think at the end of the day when everybody is able to get their hand around it, I think it’s going to be better for the game. In my mind a lot of these catches are being called catches on the field in the first place and I think most of our officials know a catch when they see one. I think most kids know when they’re playing out in the yard they know if the guy caught it or not. I think these are things that are very positive for our game.”

Rich McKay, the chairman of the Competition Committee, said the Bryant reversal was the start of the NFL realizing a rule change needed to be made.

Jones said the decisions made to uphold two touchdown catches for the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII upon replay review helped the committee gets its definition. A vote on the definition of a catch at the Owners Meetings is expected by Wednesday.

“Big plays in big games obviously come to the forefront. That (Bryant play) was a big play in a big game that didn’t necessarily sit well with a lot of fans,” Jones said. “Maybe in its truest since of the old word we’re not going to use much anymore if ever again, going to the ground, I understand why the reversal was made but I do think we’re at a much better place now.”