All week long the NFL promoted it as “ICE Bowl II”. Green Bay / Dallas – first playoff contest at Lambeau Field since the original Ice Bowl in 1967.
It wasn’t quite the “ice bowl” in all sense of the title, as it was about 40 degrees warmer than the original, but it was a classic game none of us will soon forget. Especially those of us that follow the Cowboys. Even Green Bay fans this morning have to almost turn away a collective embarrassed smile knowing they basically stole one from the hands of destiny.
It was a classic alight, with three groups impacting the final outcome – the Cowboys, the Packers and the NFL Referees.
With Green Bay leading 26-21 in the 4th with just over 5 minutes left, the Cowboys began one last drive with an intent to score a game winning touchdown. Having already seen one horrific non-call by the Refs in the 1st half in which a pass was ruled a catch when replay clearly showed it touched the ground, all Cowboy fans figured that was the expected Detroit payback call and it was out of their system now. It was purely up to us to win the game now.
So here it is, 4th down and 2. Game on the line. Fail at this and your only hope is to stop Green Bay and get the ball back with one final shot. Tony Romo opts to pass and heaves a bomb down the sideline to Dez Bryant who had single coverage. Odds are in our favor. He leaps, makes the most amazing catch of his career with defensive contact taking place, clearly secures the ball, takes two steps, stretches for the end zone, rolls over and then the ball comes loose but he re-secures it on his chest. Cowboys Nation goes nuts. Green Bay challenges it and all of us sit around talking about how we have to score and then slow down Green Bay when they get the ball back.
Nope, the NFL Referees decided to become a part of such a classic game by making the call that it was not a catch. Complete stupidity. Anyone with a brain that has ever watched or even played football in their backyard knows that was one of the greatest catches in all of history. He was robbed. Season over.
Did that call cost us the game? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe had Murray not fumbled (as usual) on what would have been an easy long TD run….had Bailey not missed an important field goal (something he hardly ever does)…or maybe had penalties and sacks not pushed the Cowboys out of another FG chance in the 2nd half, this particular play wouldn’t have mattered. Yet, this play did matter and the NFL got its ugly arse involved in a game when it had no business doing so.
Replays played after the game clearly show he did catch the ball and that he was touched during the process, yet their quick review at the time didn’t appear to notice that. (Why the heck do they have replay anyway when game after game what is seen in the replay isn’t used to make the right call??!?!?) It should have been down by contact at the 1 yard line. Sure, Green Bay might have still gotten the ball back and kicked the game winning field goal a mere 3 minutes later. But that’s football. That’s letting the game and teams play it out. .
Instead, the Cowboys were sent home with a kick to the groin.
It was a great year and next year we will have a chip on our shoulder put there by the NFL powers-to-be that have so over-regulated the game we love it makes me sick.
My Cowboys played their butts off all year. Haven’t been this proud of this team in 20 years. Romo, Murray, Bryant, Whiten and the likes were all great. This was a chance stolen right out of their hands. Who knows how many more they might get. But we will try again in 9 months.
Ice Bowl II alright. Green Bay 26, Dallas 21, NFL 7.